Everything you need to know about the fallen state of our political and cultural capital is captured by the story of Muhammad Nazir. A Pakistani immigrant who came here to study at a now defunct college, he took part-time work in Queen’s Market, East London, and was filmed singing a bizarre yet inexplicably catchy song about ‘One Pound Fish.’ Nazir’s innocence, rubbery grin, and fluvial Bollywood cadences made the experience all the more endearing.
The video went viral; Nazir went on X Factor; and he was signed by Atlantic Records. Nazir eventually ranked 29th in the Christmas charts, a formidable accomplishment considering he was just five spots behind the chicly grace of Adele.
As these things go, Nazir was due back in Pakistan today after being told that, once his college went bust he could no longer satisfy the terms of his visa. One wonders how much longer he would have remained in the country had his newfound fame not brought him to the attention of Home Office mandarins. But what of the thousands of other Nazirs who continue to live here illegally because they haven’t channelled the spirit of Orpheus? And what a damning indictment of the British deportation system that Nazir is removed while the likes of Abu Qatada continue to live here at our patronage.