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He's half-Iranian, you know
At last we have our own version of Ricky Martin

By Shappi Khorsandi
August 16, 2002
The Iranian

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 Idol".

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 his 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!

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