A STREETSIDE fish-seller whose vaguely musical chant made him a YouTube star won a recording contract—and the unwanted attention of illegal immigration inspectors.
Muhammad Shahid Nazir distinguished himself from other East London street salesmen by turning his sales cry into a song: “Come on ladies, come on ladies, have-a have-a look, one pound fish, very, very good.”
Okay, so it comes across as pretty awful on the page, but when you hear it sung, it’s astonishingly good. No, I’m lying, it’s still unlistenably awful.
Still, the whole underdog angle was kind of charming, so a customer’s film of the Pakistani man’s chant went viral and record executives from Warner Bros duly signed him up to record a single.
That’s where everything went wrong. First, Warner autotuned the vocal so he sounds a robot or singer T-Pain (whichever is less human), and then made an embarrassingly naff video of him lipsynching in front of miniskirted models.
The only tiny thing poor Muhammad had going for him, his authenticity, vanished.
It got worse. UK immigration authorities saw him on YouTube, checked their files, and realized he was a man with a secret: Muhammad had come to the country on a student visa but was attending no classes and apparently working illegally.
(This is what law enforcement officers do these days, they just watch YouTube and arrest people. I approve.)
Muhammad’s story reminded me of a friend who never allows himself to be photographed.
At first we thought he was just modest.
But now that everybody constantly uses camera-phones, he spends his life ducking behind pillars.
Clearly he stole a billion dollars or something. Sometimes I think I ought to turn him in. But then he won’t share the money with me. What would you do?
“Hello, ‘Mr Smith’, thank you for depositing this bullet-ridden suitcase of blood-stained banknotes. Just wait until I tick this box on this form which says ‘nothing suspicious’ and we’ll count it for you.”
This doesn’t surprise me. The bank was founded in the late 1800s to store the loot made by people who trafficked drugs from India to China, so they’re just going back to their roots.
The reader who forwarded me the information said: “I’m thinking of opening an account with HSBC. Do I have to be a drug lord?”
I told him create fake reference letters from Mexican heroin distributors to show at the interview. “Flash them around, the manager will be really impressed.”
A LOVE LETTER written by ancient pop singer Mick Jagger “in his youth” was sold at an auction last week.
You can tell he wrote it a long time ago by the first three words: “Dear Wilma Flintstone…”
IF YOU are short of money to spend on gifts this holiday season, here’s a tip: “The best things in life aren’t things.”
NO I haven’t done any Christmas shopping yet. Will be giving out hugs instead, me thinks. If anyone is in Hong Kong tomorrow (Thurs) come and see me at Dymocks, level 3, IFC, from 6 pm, to get a hug—or a book.
Thanks for the comments about Sandy Hook and punishment and crime over the past couple of days, esp. grandpa, who is very wise. And the Sandy Hook letter yesterday got lots of hits, although it’s not really the normal sort of thing that goes on this page. It triggered a big debate on Facebook, too. And yes, Rafan Jr, do hug your the children in your family just a bit tighter!