What is it about a good local parody that brings out the (virtual) crowds? Uploaded to Youtube on Tuesday, it is now Friday and already there are features in the Metro, talk about it on Welsh TV and endorsements from local celebrities like Rob Brydon. I am of course talking about “Newport (Ymerodraeth State of Mind)”, a cover of Alicia Keys and Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind”, replacing “New York” with the Welsh city “Newport”.
Like the Goldie Lookin’ Chain before them and Taff Wars, who did a series of film parodies in the Valleys, the video has had massive success – being viewed over 300,000 times in just three days – 150,000 views in 12 hours from Thursday evening to this morning. Even as I am sat here on a train writing this post, just pulled out of Newport station, somebody has the song as their ringtone.
What makes a parody so successful is that they appeal to what a person knows; where most people share a common knowledge and it almost always comes down to where a person lives, where they feel most comfortable.
Like a rock band who rouses a crowd by shouting the name of the city that they are performing in, a campaign can be successful by letting people know that you know what they know, it makes a person feel like they are a part of something (unlike David Camerons “Big Society”).
There have undoubtedly been parodies of songs and films about other parts of the country, or the world, but I have heard of hardly any of them – simply because they are not targeted at me – being from Wales, I would not feel the same about a parody of Leicester or Glasgow as I do of a song about Swansea or Merthyr.