Mike Read’s UKIP calypso: mind-boggling content hit of the week

It’s not the most promising start to a blog, but words almost fail me on the subject of this week’s great online content hit: Ex-Radio 1 DJ Mike Read’s calypso song in support of UKIP, which reached number 2 in Amazon’s MP3 best-sellers list (what the kids are calling the charts these days).

On Monday, as Nigel Farage called for UKIP supporters to send it to number one, Read was defending the record, sung in a  mock Caribbean accent, against accusations of racism. “You can’t sing a calypso with a Surrey accent,” he said.

He withdrew it from sale later in the week and apologised for any offence he may have caused (the link above goes to the YouTube page where the song used to be available).

So I’ll move on from the scary bizarreness of anti-immigration calypso songs and talk about what makes this good content.

1) It’s funny, in totally different ways for people who agree with Read and UKIP, and for those who don’t. But it is certainly engaging, the world’s most overused desirable content word.

2) It was unexpected. Only Lord Lucan himself would have come higher in a poll of people you might expect to record a UKIP-supporting calypso song than Mike Read. Assuming you were not an aficionado of celebrity UKIP endorsers, which seem to include Des Lynam and Geoff Boycott.

3) It’s controversial, whether Read meant any offence by it or not.

It goes without saying that as a company, you really really want to avoid any charge of racism about the content of your website or any other aspect of your business. But articles, videos or pictures which are funny, unexpected or controversial are all ways to attract a new and potentially large audience to your site.

And how do we feel at the end of the day? Well at least Mike Read is not a sexual predator, like so many of the DJs of my childhood seem to be. Although I read on Wikipedia, also in the witty content stakes, that Mike Smash has been investigated by Operation Yewtree.


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