Poundland Bandit is the meme-maker deconstructing London’s style tribes
As many an online celebrity can attest: internet famous does not equal real-life famous.
But this Friday, @PoundlandBandit – the hugely successful Instagram meme account that keeps the UK’s myriad strains of idiot in check – is making the jump from URL to IRL. The transition comes in the form of an exhibition at the Camden Assembly, hosted by Litcoin.
According to the anonymous mastermind behind the account, this sudden lane-change was unexpected: “You knew before I did,” he tells us over email. Still, Poundland Bandit has been building steam for a while now. Best-known for its endlessly #relatable ‘Starter Pack’ posts – those four panel memes that deconstruct tribes as diverse as street style fuccbois to west London’s population of braying dickheads – chances are, you’ve probably liked, shared or felt personally attacked by the account more times than you can remember this past year.
Ahead of the exhibition’s opening on 25 May, we got in touch with Poundland Bandit himself to talk Soundcloud rappers, posh house party kids and finding inspiration from twats in the street.
First of all, who are you? What name do you like to go by?
I’m the Poundland Bandit, also the artist formerly known as that guy from Robocop who got melted by acid then exploded when the car hit him.
Could you tell us about your background? Whereabouts did you grow up and what’s your life like outside of Poundland Bandit?
Suppose I’m just a small, handsome, 83-year-old man that likes a drink, a bit of graffiti and the sweet, sweet sounds of Italo disco.
What’s your life like outside of Poundland Bandit?
Born and raised in south east London, lived on my estate almost my whole life. I like a good piss up, having a giggle with my close mates, watching the footy on occasion and DJing now and then.
How did Poundland Bandit begin?
Just started as a laugh really, something me and my mates would find funny, didn’t think it’d get as much attention as it did/does, it’s sweet though, take it as it comes I guess.
How do you come up with ideas for the starter packs?
That could range from overhearing a conversation on the train or something to talking to someone at a party or bar to just seeing someone dressed like a twat in the street.
Do you identify with any of them?
Yeah I reckon one or two do, the music snob one was a bit close to home ‘cos I usually hate most people’s taste in music, I shouldn’t and they can listen to whatever they want, I’m just a miserable bastard. Unless you like Soundcloud rappers who do all that Xanax and lean rubbish, get in the sea you fuckin’ gimps.
"Not gonna lie, you lot knew it was an exhibition before I did, I was under the impression I was just hosting a night at a venue for a good tear up"
Are the starter packs based on any personal experiences? If so, which one’s a standout?
Yeah a lot of them do come from firsthand experience to be fair, people tell me stuff about someone they’ve met now and then but 90% of the time it’s something I’ve seen with me own two eyes. Oh yeah for sure, definetely about the posh house party kids, went to an ex’s house party a while ago and these two girls were using the only working bathroom in the house to do coke, I was dying for a piss and they wouldn’t open the door for me so I barged in, one of them was crying over the sink while the other was doing lines off her iPhone, I told them I was gonna burst and they kept telling me to “Fuck off do you even know anyone here?” (remember, this is my ex’s house and no one knew them) so I just started pissing, the one with the iPhone goes ‘Immy, oh my fucking GOD’ and runs out telling everyone what a tramp I was. Wicked night.
How did this exhibition come about? And why did you choose to do one?
Not gonna lie, you lot knew it was an exhibition before I did, I was under the impression I was just hosting a night at a venue for a good tear up and a laugh, but it’s gone a bit too far to back out now innit so apparently I’m an artiste.
What can we expect to see from the display? Will there be any surprises?
Well like I said, I legitimately didn’t plan to have an exhibition, if I did, I would’ve come up with some ‘exclusive’ material for it, but I haven’t and can’t be arsed so it’s just a selection of the creme de la creme of starter packs on canvases (which the public will be able to buy, please buy them, I have 11 kids who need new Reeboks).
Can we expect to see more exhibitions in the future?
I dunno, we’ll see how this goes innit, if it gets a good reception and everyone has a good time and a laugh then yeah why not, what’s the harm. If it doesn’t go well, it doesn’t go well you get me? Not the end of the world. I’ll just be bitter and full of unfathomable rage for the rest of my life.
Where do you envision Poundland Bandit to be going?
No clue, I’m just taking all the opportunities as they come along, I’d personally like to go into writing comedy or something, maybe even standup. All else fails I heard there’s bare money in crystal meth.