Gangnam Style a hit with Oxford students

Psy outside the Oxford Union

Psy outside the Oxford Union Buy this photo

First published in Oxford The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by

IT is a phenomenon that has taken the world by storm.

Prime Minister David Cameron does it.

London Mayor Boris Johnson does it.

And yesterday hundreds of Oxford University students were doing it – Gangnam Style – as South Korean rapper Psy taught a packed Oxford Union his horse riding dance move.

The star was there to deliver his first public address in English in front of 500 fans, following in the footsteps of a number of high-profile celebrities and politicians.

He spoke about his struggle to get his big break in the industry, which came in the form of his first TV appearance in Korea in 2000, after his dancing caught the eye of a TV producer.

Psy, who is married and has twin daughters, said: “I started to dance and yelled ‘look at me.’ They called security. But the producer saw me and said ‘what is that move? I have never seen that before.’”

Twelve years and six albums later, the rapper says he is was as big as Robbie Williams in South Korea.

It was only in when Gangnam Style was released in July this year and the video uploaded on to YouTube that it went viral and attracted more than 660 million views.

In fact, Psy told the Oxford Union that it was Robbie Williams who uploaded it to his blog – which triggered a tweeting frenzy and the craze that took over the UK.

Of Gangnam Style, Psy told the audience: “I wanted to go back to the first place when I debuted with funny moves, funny song, so people can laugh.

“All over the world, the economy is really horrible right now.

“As an artist of 12 years, that was part of my job to make fun by music and by video.

“Honestly, I did my best to be as ridiculous as possible and finally I got the song.”

Psy said he worked with a team of choreographers over 30 nights to create the famous horse riding dance move to go with the song – which pokes fun at the extravagant lifestyle of the residents of Gangnam, a neighbourhood where he grew up in Seoul.

He said: “We did everything in that 30 nights, not just horse. We did literally every creature. Monkey, kangaroo, snake. “ Psy is now working on a new single and admitted there is pressure to live up to Gangnam Style. He said: “With Gangnam Style, I am living in a dream and living in a nightmare. To speak at the Oxford Union is a dream. The nightmare is the next song.”

After the event, Katy Kim, 20, from St Peter’s College, said: “We are Korean, so we are really proud that there is one Korean who is really iconic.”

John Seung-yoon Lee, Oxford Union president, said: “As a fellow South Korean, it was a great honour to have Psy here.

“It is incredible to see people in the UK dance with Gangnam Style.”

A GLOBAL SENSATION

SINCE Gangnam Style went viral and hit number one in the UK charts at the end of September, several parody videos have been made.

Even royalty has copied Psy’s famous horse riding dance move.

Zara Philips and her British equestrian team mates have performed a rendition of the song for Children in Need and the video is to be released on Monday.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was filmed dancing Gangnam Style when he met Psy in October.

Eton schoolboys recorded a parody – Eton Style in October – which has attracted more than 2.5 million hits.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said he had danced Gangnam Style with Prime Minister David Cameron during his Tory party conference speech in October.

Re-elected United States President Barack Obama has reportedly said that he can pull off the Gangnam Style dance moves.

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