The self proclaimed ‘man in the hat’ has enjoyed a controversial existence in the world of online Metal Detecting. Some sing his praises from the rooftops, while others decry everything he does and lampoon him for his often exuberant and occasionally ostentatious You tube videos. However, his most recent bit of publicity has come from an unexpected source- the Republic of Uzbekistan. DD Uzbek cultural correspondent Vlad Furqat comes to us direct from the capital city of Tashkent.
‘It’s incredible out here. Everywhere I go people are chanting the words of the man in the hat theme song- set to almost every genre! I can hear house remixes blaring from the clubs, an accordionist playing it on the street, some young Uzbeks rocking it out to a heavy metal version, and down the road in the fancy westernised restaurant there is a piano quartet tinkling out an instrumental version. The song has gone viral overnight and has even penetrated into the Uzbek drugs subculture when a young Uzbek DJ ripped the ‘WOAH, WOAH’ vocals and laid them over a heavy dubstep bassline which reportedly had 1000’s of ravers at a warehouse party skanking out of control.
The reasons behind the popularity of Steve’s theme-song couldn’t be clearer; president Shavkat Mrziyoyev is himself a metal detectorist of some repute in the ‘stans, having personally discovered 651 kurgans (burial mounds) and entire temples stuffed with ritually deposited gold and silver artefacts that hark back to the glory days of silk road cities and camel caravans stretching for miles into the desert. However, he himself has become obsessed with the man in the hat. In a statement Mr Mrziyoyev said the following;
‘I love Steve’s passion and drive with my whole heart, and by extension the heart of all glorious Uzbekistan. I call those who name him ‘twat in the hat’ as COWARDS, and invite them to Uzbek gulags for tea and borscht. How could a man who uses lyrics such as ‘metal detecting and finding lots of gold, searching for anything that’s old’ be labelled as anything other than a musical genius? I invite Steve too come to Uzbekistan, to experience our glorious nation and see for himself how welcoming we are.’
President Mrziyoyev abruptly terminated the interview and had his bodyguards viciously beat our cameraman when one of our production team questioned him as to his human rights policies and reasons for banning certain Uzbek musical acts. However, this did little to marr the atmosphere as we were quickly rushed to the studio where Uzbekistan’s version of ‘Top of the Pops’ was being presented and heartily congratulated us on behalf of our country for producing their current hit single. Though somewhat bemused , we asked what exactly about the song made it so popular. Apparently, the use of folky guitar and upbeat nature makes it absolutely riveting to Uzbeks, starved of virtually any outside musical and cultural influences during the years of communist rule. Government censorship policies (mandated by President Mrziyoyev) have prevented all but metal detecting videos from being available on Uzbek internet, thus the man in the hat’s short yet sweet theme tune has been immediately been seized upon as something currently described by music critics as ‘brave and new’.