|He's half-Iranian, you know
At last we have our own version of Ricky Martin
By Shappi Khorsandi
August 16, 2002
Darius fever is sweeping through the UK as his first single hit the number one
spot. Not Dariush, our much-loved crooner whom I'm looking forward to seeing when
I travel to San Francisco this weekend. Nope, I'm talking about Darius Danesh, the
twenty-one year old runner up in a national competition to find the UK's "Pop
To cut a very long story short, this dashing young man went from being a national
joke with his rendition of Brittany Spear's "Hit Me Baby One More Time"
to becoming a respected chart topping popster and come back king. See
music video for his hit single "Colorblind"
Of course, for me and the thousands of other Iranians who frantically voted for him
in the phone-vote, the fact that he was half-Iranian meant we were behind him from
the start. He looks very Iranian (stunning, stunning boy) and often mentions his
heritage in interviews.
Now, you may think, big deal, and, to be honest, so did I when I eventually came
to my senses and stopped telling everyone who had ears: "Darius is half-Iranian
you know!" like a looney who has just discovered the earth is round.
But I do think that it's about time that the offspring of the Iranian Diaspora made
it into the pop world. We have excelled in almost every profession and at last we
have our own version of Ricky Martin -- although I have a relative who still insists
that Madonna has Iranian roots and that her real name is "Madineh".
My brother Peyvand and I have been performing our stand-up comedy show "How
to be Iranian" for over three years now and one of the things we have found
is how proud and supportive Iranians are of one another's success.
Just the other day I was reading in the paper about a pioneering operation to separate
conjoined twins. I was so delighted to read that one of the assistant surgeons had
an Iranian name that you'd think I'd performed the operation myself.
I am so looking forward to traveling to San Francisco
this weekend to perform for a mainly Iranian audience, not just to escape London's
wet and cold summer, but because I love meeting other Iranians.
We really are a very funny people. One member of our audience, a middl- aged lady,
was once so horrified to find I wasn't married that she instantly dragged her blushing
nephew over to me and demand the two of us arrange a date. It was difficult to tell
which of us was more mortified, but hey, his aunt meant well.
Another time in LA, a young couple in the audience took the trouble to come back-stage
and inform me that I was so unconnected with my soul that my aura was in severe trauma.
I declined their kind offer of healing my soul, but was very touched by their concern.
So, if you are around in San Francisco this weekend, do come along to the
show in Berkeley. I will bring my photos of Darius to show you and please feel
free to comment on my spiritual well being after the show!