Mohammed Shahaid Nazir: Viral fishmonger
A favorite memory is going to the old Yankee stadium and listening to the concession vendors hawk their peanuts and pop in this singsong, old-school-NYC holler. “Peanuts, popcorn, getcher peanuts!” A similar song happens on beaches in Latin America; “Hey-lado!” Since much of life is now digital, many of those real time sounds and sights take place online.
2012 saw a global phenomenon with PSY’s Gangnam Style from
Seoul, Korea via Los Angeles getting people doing a horse-like shuffle
and singing the hook, “Hey, sexy lady.” In England, a Pakistani
fishmonger’s chant inviting female market-goers to check out his deal on
fish has gone viral, putting him on the BBC and the X Factor. He sells
it “very very cheap;” a steal at one pound sterling, garnering the
nickname the “One Pound Fish” guy.
The story goes that
the 31-year-old and his wife immigrated to London and after three months
he got work slinging fish at Queen’s Market. His job was to shout his
prices out to passersby, like the salesmen lining Fulton Mall in
But he didn’t like shouting at
customers and he does like singing, so he made a little jingle up on the
spot and starting caroling for clients. Pretty soon the word spread
that this guy sang a nice fish ditty and somebody taped him in the
market and posted it online. It went viral and Nazir got a solid fan
base, press followed. He even got himself a hypeman; a hooded figure
holding a large, stuffed Nemo under his arm while backing up Nazir, fist
But when he got onto The X Factor UK, the
judges snubbed him. Cute as his song was, they didn’t take the ESL
fishmonger to be a serious contender as a vocalist.
millions of Youtube views, the record labels disagreed. Warner
Brothers made Nazir a video and cut a record. Now the happy fish song
has him dancing with half-naked ladies on his arm, gesturing at the
quality catch he has for the audience. But the innocent quality of the
fish seller sticks; who knew it could be so fun to hawk fish?
Nazir manages to go from lowly market vendor to Internet pop star without giving us his one pound of flesh.