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Elder British gentleman celebrates the generation gap with the most wholesome TikToks ever

Brian Smith's calm-inducing TikToks appeal to young and old alike.

We live in a time when the oldest among us grew up without most of the things today's youth utilize in their daily lives. No computers, no televisions, no internet, no mobile phones (much less smartphones). It's a completely different world, and that generation gap has only gotten wider the more quickly technology has advanced.

But a generation gap doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, there's a great deal that people from different generations can learn from one another. And one gentleman from the grandparent generation is using TikTok to celebrate those differences with the most wholesome—and oddly soothing—videos.

Brian Smith was born in the 1940s and the world has changed incredibly since then. Smith acknowledges and marvels at what's changed, while also asking questions of younger people, while also lulling everyone onto a Zen state with his David Attenborough-like voice.


In one video, he shared how strange it was that he made a phone call on his watch, which used to be used to tell time, while making a video on his phone, which used to be used to make phone calls.

@brian..smith

Making a telephone call #phone #watch #time #tiktok

Then he followed up that video with a full-circle commentary on posting that video on TikTok, which is the sound that clocks and watches used to make. Delightful.

@brian..smith

Reply to @dylancostley #watch #phone #time #tiktok

Smith often responds to the comments on his videos, such as when someone called him "W human." Just watch. Seriously wholesome.

@brian..smith

Reply to @2_millimeter_defeater_ #generations #language #youth

Frequently, Smith will pose questions to his young audience, asking them about how they use technology.

@brian..smith

Reply to @fnatma Does text have a future? #communication #text #video

His sincere curiosity and desire to learn about the sociological differences between generations is inspiring.

@brian..smith

Do you use email? #asktiktok

@brian..smith

Talk to me about usernames #name #username #handles

Definitely David Attenborough vibes, with some Bob Ross and Fred Rogers thrown in for good measure.

The gentleman even has an epic model train setup, because of course he does.

@brian..smith

Model railway #model #railway #underground #tube

Smith shares snippets of history and also weighs in on current events. He has a special interest in Russia's invasion of Ukraine because he made a Russian friend online a while back and learned to speak Russian as a result.

He shared his concerns many times in the months leading up to the invasion.

@brian..smith

William Hague in today’s Times newspaper #politics

And he's spoken out for peace along with most of the world.

@brian..smith

Reply to @green4x Peace in Ukraine #мир #peace #ukraine #украина #україна

But the generational commentary Smith shares is the best. It's great to see someone of the older generation embracing technology, remaining curious and keeping an open mind. He loves to learn and it's so fun to see him with one foot in his own generation and one in, as he says, "Generation Zed."

@brian..smith

Reply to @bmcdeez #change #history #technology

Seriously, Brian Smith. Be more lovable.

@brian..smith

I do love TikTok #fun #barber #fleetstreet

Follow @brian..smith on TikTok.

Brandon Conway sounds remarkably like Michael Jackson when he sings.

When Michael Jackson died 13 years ago, the pop music world lost a legend. However markedly mysterious and controversial his personal life was, his contributions to music will go down in history as some of the most influential of all time.

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1989 video brings back strong memories for Gen Xers who came of age in the '80s.

It was the year we saw violence in Tiananmen Square and the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. The year we got Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally" and Michael Keaton in Tim Burton's "Batman." The year "Seinfeld" and "The Simpsons" debuted on TV, with no clue as to how successful they would become. The year that gave us New Kids on the Block and Paula Abdul while Madonna and Janet Jackson were enjoying their heyday.

The jeans were pegged, the shoulders were padded and the hair was feathered and huge. It was 1989—the peak of Gen X youth coming of age.

A viral video of a group of high school students sitting at their desks in 1989—undoubtedly filmed by some geeky kid in the AV club who probably went on to found an internet startup—has gone viral across social media, tapping straight into Gen X's memory banks. For those of us who were in high school at the time, it's like hopping into a time machine.

The show "Stranger Things" has given young folks of today a pretty good glimpse of that era, but if you want to see exactly what the late '80s looked like for real, here it is:

Oh so many mullets. And the Skid Row soundtrack is just the icing on this nostalgia cake. (Hair band power ballads were ubiquitous, kids.)

I swear I went to high school with every person in this video. Like, I couldn't have scripted a more perfect representation of my classmates (which is funny considering that this video came from Paramus High School in New Jersey and I went to high school on the opposite side of the country).

Comments have poured in on Reddit from both Gen Xers who lived through this era and those who have questions.

First, the confirmations:

"Can confirm. I was a freshman that year, and not only did everyone look exactly like this (Metallica shirt included), I also looked like this. 😱😅"

"I graduated in ‘89, and while I didn’t go to this school, I know every person in this room."

"It's like I can virtually smell the AquaNet and WhiteRain hairspray from here...."

"I remember every time you went to the bathroom you were hit with a wall of hairspray and when the wind blew you looked like you had wings."

Then the observations about how differently we responded to cameras back then.

"Also look how uncomfortable our generation was in front of the camera! I mean I still am! To see kids now immediately pose as soon as a phone is pointed at them is insanity to me 🤣"

"Born in 84 and growing up in the late 80’s and 90’s, it’s hard to explain to younger people that video cameras weren’t everywhere and you didn’t count on seeing yourself in what was being filmed. You just smiled and went on with your life."

Which, of course, led to some inevitable "ah the good old days" laments:

"Life was better before the Internet. There, I said it."

"Not a single cell phone to be seen. Oh the freedom."

"It's so nice to be reminded what life was like before cell phones absorbed and isolated social gatherings."

But perhaps the most common response was how old those teens looked.

"Why do they all look like they're in their 30's?"

"Everyone in this video is simultaneously 17 and 49 years old."

"Now we know why they always use 30 y/o actors in high school movies."

As some people pointed out, there is an explanation for why they look old to us. It has more to do with how we interpret the fashion than how old they actually look.

Ah, what a fun little trip down memory lane for those of us who lived it. (Let's just all agree to never bring back those hairstyles, though, k?)