Leela! This was my favorite live show! This one really felt so warm and cozy and he looked so happy and soft and was talking to us like a friend with how he was talking about his feelings and mental health and just trying to explain things without giving too much away and ahh I love Daniel Howell so much! I can't wait to hear your thoughts!
where to begin y’all. everything that you said and more–this live show was just so great. it wasn’t one of the ones that maybe necessarily gave us tons of new insight into dan or phil or their lives, but it was so good because dan is so clearly doing okay right now. he’s happy. it’s radiating off of him. maybe part of it is the stark contrast to how he was in live shows during feb/march, maybe part of it is our own confirmation bias and our desire to connect this dan—live and taking time out of his evening to speak with us—to all of the big changes we’ve been seeing from him,,, but regardless, in an absolute sense, dan is definitely happy and that is probably the fundamental reason why this live show felt so lovely.
i went back to read some of my notes on his last few live shows before writing this one and it was surreal to see how many of my comments were about how negative he was being. he inserted a joke about wanting death or being an ugly rat or failing at most things in life so frequently. he constantly berated his own approaches to various things in his life and alluded to struggling with a lot of his own internal thoughts. in contrast, this live show contained a grand total of zero comments regarding death. zero comments about being ugly or terrible. he of course noted flaws in his approach to youtube and things of that nature, but he didn’t really criticize himself for them, and instead pinned them back to his own mental health and the way his personality works and offered up constructive ways that he’s thinking about dealing with all of it. it was like watching,, not a different person, but a strangely calmer person—someone who has clearly spent some time reflecting on these things and has gotten himself to a better and calmer headspace.
the best part about the happiness in this liveshow for me is that it wasn’t really communicated through words (he never actually said that he’s really happy or excited or anything like that.) and it wasn’t like he totally avoided talking about his fears or his flaws in a way that would actually be disingenuous. it was all a bit more subtle and (to use his own refrain) ~authentic~ than that. it was there in the way he couldn’t get through so many sentences without breaking into a laugh or a big smile. it was there in the way he talked about the audience—a bit gushy at times, but mostly fond and appreciative. genuinely. it was there, of course, in the little asides he shared about phil and about their plans for the future. it’s fun to think about what may have helped this shift along. maybe it was time away in singapore, taking a step back to reflect on how far they’ve come and how much they’ve achieved and how very bright their future looks regardless of its specifics, or maybe it’s because the hard things he’d been dreading (like moving on some level bc it’s stressful, and also the ‘rebrand’) are now over and done with and he can just settle in the aftermath. and all of this sort of fits with what we know of the person that dan has been basically forever. he’s someone who spirals and even anguishes in the stretches of time before a decision is made. he doubts himself and he fears being scrutinized or judged. he’s afraid of what people will say but at the same time wants to be above all of it and make decisions that reflect what he really wants. it’s clear that the last couple of months, just from what we know and what he’s told us, have been filled with these sort of troubling internal struggles, but dan has also always been the person that appears to find solace and fulfillment in the certainty of a decision being made. he seems to be much more at ease once he has figured out the right way to proceed and actually executed it, because even if the decision backfires or goes wrong, he’s okay defending it, he’s okay because he knows he thought it through and did what felt best to him and whatever comes from it is of secondary importance. sticking to a choice you’ve made, or believing in that choice, is a lot easier than a belabored process of weighing between options and thinking about how each option reflects on who you are as a person. all of this to say. i’m glad that for the time being things seemed to have calmed down, and he’s happy. i’m glad he wants to share so much of that with us. i thought i’d go through some specific insights by general topic area, under a cut for once bc in actuality this is the longest thing i’ve ever written about them it’s obnoxious~~