Monday, July 05, 2004

OH, GOD, THE MUSIC JUST TURNS ME ON: It's worth spending a moment reading through the selections of Michael Howard, the man who pushed through the Poll Tax, consort of Thatcher, and who would be Prime Minister. He was on Desert Island Discs, and this is what he elected to take with him:

1. All You Need is Love
Performer Beatles
2. Cwm Rhondda
Performer Morriston Orpheus Choir
3. Long Tall Sally
Performer Little Richard
4. Blue Monk
Performer Thelonious Monk Quartet
5. You'll Never Walk Alone
Performer Gerry & the Pacemakers
6. 2nd movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto No 21 in C
Performer Alfred Brendel with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields conducted by Sir Neville Marriner
7. A White Shade of Pale
Performer Procol Harum
8. (Everything I do) I Do It for You
Performer Bryan Adams

Now, if we can tear ourselves away from the happy image of a bearded Howard, cast adrift on a desert island with just these records for company - "musn't help myself to a coconut lest I be considered an economic migrant" - what do these records tell us about the man? There's something painfully grinning about the little hidden message - "look, we're with you, I'm a man of the pipple with my heart full of love" - which makes us suspect the whole thing was drawn up by that chap who does all the Tories' marketing for them now. But what's really scary is the bit where Sue Lawley says "and if you could only take one of those records?"

Because, Michael Howard, if he could have just one record to accompany him into the wilderness, would choose Everything I Do, I Do It For You.

Maybe he just thought because it had sold so many copies it had to be popular, and choosing it would make all the people who bought it feel a connection with him. Or maybe he knows that it's like the Major government - not only sharing an era, but it was a song, fronted up by a likeable but not especially inspiring fellow, which nobody admits actually having bought/voted for now. Seriously: Bryan Adams was at number one for thirteen years with that bloody record, and yet you never meet anyone who actually bought it. In the same way that Major won an election, and yet nobody appears to have cast a single vote for him. Or maybe Howard likes something else about the single: it did stick around for ages and ages after everyone said it was finished, and seemingly the bloody thing wouldn't go away. Kind of like Howard, really.

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