Welsh bookshop owners bring viral Bernie Sanders meme to life with dancing video

Book business owner Derek Addyman stars in the video as a dancing Bernie Sanders. Credit: Anne Brichto

A video bringing to life a viral image of American senator Bernie Sanders has racked up thousands of views and likes on social media.

The Vermont politician has unwittingly become an internet sensation after being photographed at president Joe Biden's inauguration, socially distanced and wearing a sensible winter coat and woolly mittens.

His fashion choices amused social media users, who began to circulate the image photoshopped against a variety of backgrounds from famous films to well-known landmarks.

But Welsh bookshop owners Derek Addyman, 66, and Anne Brichto, 58, have taken it a step further by creating their own 'dancing Bernie' video - starring Derek himself in a Bernie-inspired outfit.

It has been viewed more than 40,000 times so far and liked by almost 4,000 people.

Anne told ITV News: "Times are tough at the moment and we wanted to put a smile on people's faces.

"The idea came about when we had all our warm clothing out over the weekend because of the cold weather, and we remembered we had some mittens like Bernie's.

"Derek was wearing black trousers and we found a mask that looked the same. I said to him: 'Do you think you could do it?' And he said: 'I think I could!' Once he'd donned the outfit and adopted the pose, he was a dead ringer for Bernie.

"We filmed the video outside one of our shops on Lion Street in Hay-on-Wye. We had great fun and everyone knew exactly what we were doing. Cars were stopping and people were getting out and taking photographs.

"Derek is my business partner of 36 years, and also my ex-husband - but my best friend. He's always had the moves!"

The video has gone down well with social media users, who say Derek and Anne have 'won the internet'.

One wrote: "I thought this was just next-level Photoshop and then he started moving!"

Another replied: "Best post of the day."

Bernie Sanders' practical attire at the president's inauguration made him an internet sensation. Credit: Carol Guzy/Zuma Press/PA Images

Derek and Anne started their book business in 1986 in a ten-foot room at the Blue Boar Inn in Hay-on-Wye.

They now own three bookshops but are currently only able to operate online due to the pandemic.

Anne added: "We are passionate about books and US politics. I hope after the easing of the pandemic Bernie can visit Hay and sit here for us. Hay loves Bernie!"

Appearing on the US talk show Late Night with Seth Meyers, a slightly bemused Mr Sanders admitted he wasn't initially aware he had become an internet sensation.

He told Meyers: "I was just sitting there trying to keep warm, trying to pay attention to what was going on."

Mr Sanders later tweeted the interview clip, adding that he was "not so concerned" about fashion.

The now-infamous mittens were made from repurposed materials by Vermont teacher Jen Ellis, who gave them to Mr Sanders as a gift two years ago.

She later wrote on Twitter: "Thanks for all the interest in Bernie's mittens! It truly has been an amazing and historic day! I'm so flattered that Bernie wore them to the inauguration.

"To the creators of memes everywhere - you are so, so funny! Way to go! We all need a moment of joy in these dark pandemic days. People all over the world are participating in something fun and light hearted - how great is that?"

Mr Sanders himself is now backing the sale of sweatshirts bearing the iconic image, with all proceeds going to the Meals on Wheels charity in Vermont.

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