Every year at Indieterria, we celebrate Christmas in an alternative way. Be it by bringing a festive cheer to a mosh pit (have you ever brought big slabs of chocolate to a gig to share with fellow gig goers and bands? You should try it!) or by supporting worthy causes. And this year presented us with a most magnificent cause there can be. After the recent elections, Brexit and years of austerity some incredible people decided to end the 2019 with a song that sums it all – Jarvis Cocker`s “Cunts Are Still Running The World”.
Their campaign to bring a 13- years old single to the top of charts just in time for Christmas took over so quickly that even the best marketing experts were surprised. But it gets better – all proceeds from the single are going to charity so you can not just sum up the people in power with the song, but also take part in a very peculiar Band Aid like exercise. All you need is to buy the single or stream it (or even share the campaign).
What made you to set up the group? And please introduce the admins behind this idea? Who are the masterminds behind “Fancy Getting “C**ts Are Still Running The World” to UK Xmas No.1?“
Michael Hall: The group is run by myself and Darcie Molina. We were so down at the election results on Friday morning (Friday the 13th). We were expecting disaster from the exit polls but it was worse than anything we could have imagined. It just occurred to us that it would be magical to get Jarvis Cocker’s “Cunts Are Still Running The World” to number 1 in this country. And then we realised, it would be the Christmas charts that week so we decided to give it a try. We expected to have a fun little group with a bout 20-30 like-minded people but then it really connected with everybody and they built this amazing Facebook group and made the campaign global.
We think it’s a fantastic choice, but we have to ask: why this particular song? Have you considered other tracks before settling on “Running the World”?
Michael Hall: I’ll be honest – it was the song that gave us the plan, not the other way around. Since then though, we’ve had suggestions from people for a lot of songs. My favourite suggestion so far has been “Mother” by IDLES for its anti-Tory lyrics.
It took only couple of days for the group to go viral and attract 27.000 members. That’s more than AF Gang, the popular fan group for IDLES. Have you expected such a great response?
Michael Hall: Michael Hall: We had no way to know it would get this big. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and we’ve received support from some surprising corners. Speaking of AFGang, we are using the way their moderators run that magnificent group as a blueprint for how we run this one. They are an example of how to run a positive, inclusive group and we hope to emulate them briefly here. We love AFGang, let it be known!
The campaign has been featured by Guardian, Observer, BBC, Clash Magazine and NME. Did you expect such an incredible media coverage for this effort?
Michael Hall: Absolutely not. The Evening Standard and some of the other Tory rags are getting involved now too! Every member of the press I’ve spoken to has been kind and supportive so far – nothing like what you might expect.
Jarvis Cocker has responded on social media saying he was very happy about the campaign. But have him or his representatives been in touch with you?
Michael Hall: Yes, he has a big surprise for us up his sleeve today. That will make things very interesting later in the day as the race draws to a close. We started without label or artist involvement but they are fully on board now.
All the proceeds are now going to Shelter which gives the campaign a new charitable dimension. You basically formed this year’s Band Aid. How does that feel?
Michael Hall: Well that’s a very kind thing to say indeed! This is just a small protest that a community of wonderful, good-hearted punk rock humans have made into a “thing” that now helps the homeless. Finding out that the proceeds would go to Shelter brought tears to my eyes. It’s a beautiful gesture from Jarvis and we all know how important it is to support our nation’s ever-increasing homeless population.
Where does the campaign stands now? Are we close to the official number 1 spot?
Michael Hall: We are Number 2 on Amazon, Number 2 on iTunes and Number 1 on 7Digital. Also, the song is now at Number 3 for UK downloads on Google Play and Number 1 on iTunes Alternative Charts!
If everyone in our group downloads the song today we’ll be in the charts tomorrow. The Official Number 1 is a long shot, of course it always has been, but we are going to do absolutely everything we can to make it happen. We haven’t slept since Monday so we’re not going to give up now!
The charts statistics are closing on Thursday 19th of December at midnight. What can people still do to help?
Michael Hall: Download, download, download and stream, stream, stream. Every download helps a homeless person and tells this government what we think of them. #jarvis4xmas
Detailed information about the single:
Release: 13 November 2006
Numbers: RTRADCD340/RTRADLP340 with RTRADS340/RTRADDA340 / RTRADCDP340
Formats: CD/LP with bonus 7″/Digital Download/Promotional CD
Sleeve: The Designers Republic & Jarvis Cocker
Highest Chart Position: 37 (UK)
More information: http://www.acrylicafternoons.com/disc-jarv.html
You can join the group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/618955365312116/
You can download and buy the song at:
Amazon Music: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Running-World-Jarvis-Cocker/dp/B001MY6R46/
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/music/album?id=Bsp3atpzzu65g5wp62pboq7tcxy&tid=song-Tlat7k2lveeb6nntw3hf647xrcq
A rare copy of Radio edit (clean version) and white label CD has been posted on Twitter:
The campaign has been officially endorsed by Jarvis Cocker and Rough Trade (the label who released the single).
After the singer and the record label officially acknowledged the fan effort to bring the song to the top of the charts, magazines, celebrities and fellow musicians voiced their support on social media for the campaign. We managed to find several examples:
And the singer had a fantastic surprise for the group that has been working tirelessly. He prepared a special, acoustic version that was delivered to the group members on the last day of their campaign. The song was accompanied by a message:
“So here’s the story: about a month ago the Kaiser Quartett sent me a recording of their arrangement of “Running the World” & asked if I’d consider singing on it. So I did. The song will feature on one of their upcoming record releases but – given the current campaign – we thought you might like to get a sneak preview right now. Merry Xmas! Jarvis xx”
If you still haven’t had enough, you can also see a rare live performance of the song from 2009:
From a crazy idea of just two people, to a Facebook group of nearly 35.000 people in less than a week, the campaign surpassed all expectations. Nobody even thought it would be possible to engage such a big crowd. And the effects are simply mind blowing. We have been collecting articles about the idea and in just under 2 days, we managed to collect over 60 links to the biggest newspapers from all over the world. Including The Times, Guardian, Rolling Stone magazine, The Independent, BBC and others. Please take a look at the articles as even professional PR house wouldn’t be able to brag about such powerful and successful campaign.
https://southendnewsnetwork.net/news/supreme-court-forces-bbc-to-play-uncensored-jarvis-cocker-song-with-cts-in-lyrics (parody site)
On the 20th of December, the official UK charts statistics became available. The group admins released the following statement:
“The Chart positions are in.
UK Download Chart: No. 2
Scotland Overall Chart: No. 6
7Digital: No. 1
iTunes: No. 3
Amazon: No. 3
Google Play: No. 3
UK National Chart: No. 48
Over 225,000 Streams!
This is absolutely, insanely incredible. We started this for fun and out of disappointment and discontent 7 days ago – we didn’t get admins or the nod from the label until Monday. That’s just 4 days. You took a 13 year old song that a few people remembered very fondly and turned it into the rallying cry of a mini-movement”.
Few hours later another, longer announcement was issued:
“This is absolutely, insanely incredible. We started this for fun and out of disappointment and discontent 7 days ago – we didn’t get admins or the nod from the label until Monday. That’s just 4 days. You took a 13 year old song that a few people remembered very fondly and turned it into the rallying cry of a mini-movement.
There are now 33,000+ now us. This community has taken a little bit of civil disobedience and turned it into a huge campaign, a community comforting one another and offering hope and humour where it’s most needed. A community that has dedicated it’s time, money and energy to helping the homeless and giving agency to the voiceless over this week.
We’re immeasurably proud of you, the people in this group who have achieved such huge strides in such a ludicrously short amount of time.
It’s been a delight to receive positive coverage from The Guardian, The Indy, Clash Magazine, The NME, Les Inrockuptibles, Radio Ireland, God Is In The TV, Under The Radar, PopBitch, Roliing Fucking Stone and many more. It was a thrill for a bunch of fan-humans to get support from The Lemonheads, Richard Hawley, Shaun Keaveny, Tom Robinson, AFGang, Stuart Maconie, Maxine Peake, Spillers Records, Nick Wallington, Fat White Family, Pam Hogg…and so many more. THANKS TO THEM!
That all aside, everything positive that has happened is because of you, this community – not the record label, not the press, not a celebrity, not a politician and not even our beloved Jarvis himself. You have come together and made a difference. You have helped homeless people in the UK at their most vulnerable time of year and offered a strong voice of protest against injustice and the rise of the right.
THANK YOU. YES, YOU THERE, SPECIFICALLY.
“I learned a long time ago there is something worse than missing the goal and that’s not pulling the trigger” Mia Hamm
We on the left are used to all manner of defeat. Sure, we hoped for a higher National Chart playing – about 47 places higher as it goes – but the odds were stacked and you did great work. We don’t see this as a defeat but as a phenomenal first step. We don’t want ANYONE here to feel like this was a waste of energy or time – we will Keep Fucking Going.
We’ll be moving forward with those who would wish to stay with us as a cultural fundraising, campaigning forum and organisation group which we can help steer towards positive outcomes. We envision this as being a place to arrange and promote REAL WORLD change-making – projects and fundraisers large and small from all parts of the group, from all corners of the world. But we started this for fun and plan to keep it that way. Keep your good humour flowing and music recommendations flooding in.
We plan to start using the mentoring facility on Facebook to offer more vulnerable group members someone to reach out to in times of need.
We will be here for each other.
We are here to unite, never to divide – and all clear thinking good-hearted people are welcome here. We admins will try to live up to your standards.
We’ve listened to all the suggestions being made in the group and we will continue to do so. It won’t be anything like the same intensity from us this week – but don’t expect us to slack and don’t you even think of that either.
Here’s some things we all need to remember:
OUR REAL WORK IS TO BE DONE OUT IN THE WORLD
ALL IS LOVE – NO NEGATIVITY
THIS GROUP HAS A ZERO CUNT POLICY (apart from me, obvs)
We’ll rename the group after the weekend – suggestions would be great.
So – community leaders, musicians, artists, fundraisers, campaigners, charity reps, non-cunts – towards what shall we next steer this unwieldy beast?!
Cunts ARE still running the world…but not for long…
Helen, Darcie, Michael, Tracey, Ian, Emily, Julia, Lisa, John, Abigail. Team#jarvis4xmas“
You can find all charts screenshots in the gallery below:
On 21st of December, an urgent announcement was posted on the group, providing more information about the mid-week position:
“HUGELY EXCITING UPDATE!!!
RUNNING THE WORLD NOW AT NO.2 IN THE OFFICIAL UK CHART
We have insider info and are beyond thrilled to tell you that the song is now at #2 in the national day-by-day charts!!
The full UK charts. The proper charts. The one we were #48 in yesterday. You kept downloading this song for charity and saying you wanted a #1 this week instead. And we went up 46 places overnight. What do you think about that?!
Thank you, inflight WiFi. Please pass the tissues.
We’re cancelling Christmas. We’re going to get this song to number 1 – the first Number 1 single of 2020. We’re doing this. Join us???
DOWNLOAD, SHARE, AND STREAM, STREAM, STREAM.
Join and share on every platform!!
Twitter & Instagram: @jarvis4january”
If you haven’t downloaded or steamed the song yet, please do so – the group is fighting to keep the song in top 10 for next week and maybe give it a number one in the first week of January! Whatever happens – when the community comes together, amazing ideas come true. Thank you!
All sales proceedings from the song throughout the festive period will be donated to Shelter.
What a time to be alive (despite the poverty and politics of hate).
Please keep on giving and supporting, you are doing amazingly well.
Rita and Malcia Dabrowicz