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On a Roll

He’s been in the New York Times, the L.A. Times, the BBC and The Guardian, the pop star your Mum used to like now an internet phenomenon in the papers your Mum likes to read.

Rick AstleyRick Astley, baby-faced British two-hit wonder from 1988 still baby-faced and viewed 15,000,000 times on YouTube—somebody’s got to be “taking the Rick” for sure?

The phenomenon is called “Rickrolling,” and if you just clicked that link you’ve been “rolled” as well.

Definition of Rickrolling

To quote the Urban Dictionary, ’rolling is:

To post a misleading link with a subject that promises to be exciting or interesting, e.g. “World of Starcraft in-game footage!”  […] but actually turns out to be the video for Rick Astley’s debut single, “Never Gonna Give You Up.” A variant on the duckroll. Allegedly hilarious.

Rick Astley on Rickrolling

But what does Rick have to say about it all? You wouldn’t get this from any other guy…

For his part, Astley was nothing if not modest about his new cultural role. “If this had happened around some kind of rock song, with a lyric that really meant something — a Bruce Springsteen, “God bless America” … or an anti-something kind of song, I could kind of understand that,” Astley said. “But for something as, and I don’t mean to belittle it, because I still think it’s a great pop song, but it’s a pop song; do you know what I mean? It doesn’t have any kind of weight behind it, as such. But maybe that’s the irony of it.”

Astley would never put the song down, mind you. It’s just that, as he says, “If I was a young kid now looking at that song, I’d have to say I’d think it was pretty naff, really.”

(Wikipedia on “naff”: British slang for “something which is seen to be particularly ‘cheesy’ or ‘tacky’ or in otherwise poor aesthetic taste.”)

“For me it’s a good example of what some of the ’80s were about in that pop sort of music way. A bit like you could say Debbie Gibson was absolutely massive, but if you look back at it now … do you know what I mean?”

Yes, I think we do. But even still, with all the renewed attention to his work and his — albeit 20-year-old — image, does Astley have any plans to cash in on Rickrolling, maybe with his own YouTube remix?

“I don’t really know whether I want to be doing that,” he said. “ I’m not being an ageist, but it’s almost a young person’s thing, that.”

“I think the artist themselves trying to remix it is almost a bit sad,” he said. “No, I’m too old for that.”

Astley, who will be touring the U.K. in May with a group of other ’80’s acts, including Bananarama, and Nick Heyward, Heaven 17, Paul Young and ABC, sums up his thoughts on his unexpected virtual fame with characteristic good humor:

“Listen, I just think it’s bizarre and funny. My main consideration is that my daughter doesn’t get embarrassed about it.”

David Sarno, L.A. Times

5 Comments

  • Speedy
    Posted April 3, 2008 7:17 pm 0Likes

    Well apparently, Rick Astley isn’t the only former singer celeb being rolled. MC Hammer has now fallen victim to the craze, as people are now getting “HammerRolled”.

    A website located at http://HammerRolled.com explains this version of the good ‘ole Rick Roll.

  • Alf
    Posted April 3, 2008 11:31 pm 0Likes
  • Jaitra Gillespie
    Posted April 4, 2008 7:47 am 0Likes

    “Now the wild thing about rice sheets…”

    Who would have thought? SaladRolls!

  • savannah
    Posted April 4, 2008 11:23 am 0Likes

    that was funny, sugar! the muppets at the beginning made the dog sit up!

    savannah’s last blog post..over the transom

  • reg
    Posted April 6, 2008 9:58 pm 0Likes

    The 80’s was the fall of what Britain, and indeed Europe had built up since the decline of their own industrial age: a quality of life, or at least an expectancy of such. Bigotry began to fad into the past and racial prejudice lost moral acceptance. However we failed to see the industrial age continued/began somewhere else, and our own very elected were to promote it with a view to exploitation, disregarding the ecological warnings from the ”stupid few” not to promote it. Enter Thatcher, and her crush the rights of ordinary workers. The YUPPIE was born- make loads of money, business business business. POP MUSIC WAS OF THE 80’S REPRESENTS THE IDIOCY OF THE TIME.
    I think ”Rickrolling” is a collective unconscious symbol of the 80’s flippant attitude, and where we are today. Like a bad dream you don’t wish to have Rick keeps popping up singing about ”a full commitment ….” funny enough when that era was the era of betrayal, to commit to a better realistic future.
    We’re no strangers to ….
    You know the rules and so do I
    A full commitment’s what I’m thinking of
    You wouldn’t get this from any other …..

    reg’s last blog post..PICK UP THE PIECES

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