Last week history was made when a Facebook campaign ensured that The Weather Girls’ classic It’s Raining Men stormed its way to Number 31 in the official UK singles Chart.
We talk to the organiser of the Facebook campaign DJ Darren Pop
When you first heard David Silvester’s comments what were your immediate thoughts?
I just thought he was an old fool initially and didn’t pay much notice. It wasn’t until later when I thought about it again that it actually annoyed me at how idiotic and blatenty bigotted someone could still be in this country in 2014. His comments could have caused a lot of harm to any young person who is struggling to accept who they are and who thinks they are alone in this world because people like David Silvester keeps telling them that they are ‘wrong’ or ‘not normal’.
When did it occur to you to try and get IRM to number 1?
On the Sunday morning after the story had been reported, I was checking my Facebook newsfeed and saw 5 or 6 people post about it, but none of them were being angry as such, most of them were having a laugh, one person wrote one saying “Just out enjoying the gay weather” another said “I hope it rains men over David Silvester’s house tonight”. I thought, what is the best way to get a message out to everyone that bigotry doesn’t have a home in the UK, the whole ‘get a song to number 1’ thing has been done before and always managed to grab my attention and so it just kept growing in my head until i set up the page a few hours later.
How did it feel when the Facebook like counter starting passing the 1000s / 10K marks?
I was, and still am thinking “How the hell did that happen”. I expected at the most a couple of hundred people would like the page and maybe then download the song. It got to around 3000 likes in 24 hours, and then it was reported in The Sun. Every morning I woke up thinking, that’ll be it now, people will have forgotten about it, but it just kept jumping up. By the time it got to 10k I was adamant that it was going to go at least top 40.
Have you heard from Martha Wash one of the original Weather Girls?
Martha Wash from the Weather Girls contacted the page when it got to about 5000 likes and said that she totally supported the campaign and the song being used to send a message out. She was incredibly nice and was pushing the campaign from her own Facebook and twitter page too. It meant so much more than Martha was behind what we were trying to do.
Do you think your campaign has given more attention to UKIP than it should have?
I love to think about it as shining a spotlight on how awful they are to millions more people who may have otherwise voted for them had they not understood what a bunch of idiots they are. British people aren’t stupid and they are seeing straight through UKIP. I agree that you can turn bad publicity into good publicity with certain things. But as soon as you start being homophobic, racist, fascist, or whatever, forget it. You’re done. Every country has a political party who are a laughing stock because of their bizarre and ridiculous views. That party in the UK is UKIP.
Do you think UKIP suspending David Silvester is enough?
I don’t, no. But even worse than that is that David Silvester has never apologised for what he said, nor have UKIP. David Silvester should never be allowed to represent anyone, ever. Had his comments been aimed at any other social group, David Silvester would be a criminal. That’s why as long as their actions will keep being excused as ‘Freedom of speech’, we will continue to challenge them, shame them, and occasionally embarrass them with a well timed song related ‘pun’.
What are your hopes with the Facebook page now?
It would be a huge shame to just close it down, especially when it now has over 15,000 people on it who all have an opinion and are all united to in defiance to inequality. My favourite part of all this was a feeling of community. Thousands of people debating, supporting and encouraging each other. I don’t think i have ever come across any other page like it on Facebook. The page should now be used so that people never forget that they have got a voice, they can stand up and fight people like David Silvester. Hopefully i have now given them a platform to do that.
Are you bit of an LGBT Activist at heart?
It’s funny because i just see myself as a normal guy who thinks David Silvester is an idiot. But i guess the minute you stop fighting or trying to defend who you are to people like him then they win, if the way i chose to defend myself to what he said makes me an activist then i am happy with that.
Which version is better the Geri Halliwell or The Weather Girls?
Hands down, The Weather Girls. It is lots of fun and will forever be played in every DJ set I give. The song means so much to me now.