Living with…Arctic Monkeys…for a week

Pop goes the politician

“They’re very loud” said Gordon Brown of Arctic Monkeys in 2006 having rather amazingly claimed that he was a fan of their music.  I suppose they are, Gordon, if you turn them up really loud.  The whole thing became one of those embarrassments that the media revelled in as he then failed to name any of their tracks when pressed.

In his defense the whole infamous misunderstanding occurred when asked to choose between Arctic Monkeys and James Blunt…which way would you have gone, given the choice?  In the spirit of investigative journalism I did tweet @SarahBrownUK this week to ask what music is currently playing in the Brown household but still await a response.  Understandably I may never get one given their wariness of any music-related questions of the past – I may after all have been one of them Daily Mail journalists…

But it did make me wonder about other politicians and where they go with their music tastes. I’ve  grabbed these from various sources ranging from the Guardian to the Telegraph to the Daily Mail to the Lady.  So trust this as far as you trust those publications.

On the home front, David Cameroon cultivates a fairly offbeat image professing to the cool folk of Mumford and Sons (famed for the lyrics “I really f***ed it up this time”, but we won’t dwell on that), the moody kings of the 80s The Smiths and the rooted country of Ellen Jewell.

His coalition partner Nick Clegg is more classic in his tastes according to his Facebook profile – Johnny Cash, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie (so far so good).  Prince…well, sorry you lost me there.

On the other side of the house Ed Milliband professes to Robbie Williams’ Angels as his favourite song.  Ouch Ed, you do need to work on that.  On his desert island he would also take some Billy Bragg, Housemartins and A-ha so maybe that compensates?

If we start to explore overseas French President Nicolas Sarkozy clearly loves the songs of his missus, Carla Bruni, but also admits to liking French rocker, Johnny Hallyday.

I thought the most astounding of all is the revelation that Osama Bin Laden loved the music of Van Halen, B-52s and – especially– Whitney Houston.  I’m sure Whitney’s delighted.  But then I heard that Robert Mugabe would rather listen to “the perennially wholesome Cliff Richard” over Bob Marley anyday.  Surely not?  Imagine how Cliff feels.  Look up the Telegraph source below…

Not one to be outdone, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has arranged private performances for himself and his family by such stars as Mariah Carey, Nelly Furtado and Beyonce – the common theme being they are absurdly beautiful women, and they didn’t know until they arrived who was the host.  But when you’re being paid $1m for the gig maybe you don’t ask too many questions…or maybe you should!

I’ll finish by returning back home to two great dames of the Conservative party who aren’t famed for their musical discretion.  Firstly, Ann Wiidecombe, who chose Cliff Richard’s Millenium Prayer as her favourite…maybe she and Mugabe should catch a gig together some time.  Cliff would love that.

And the final word goes to that great lover of the arts and sport, Baroness Margaret Thatcher, who was very clear on her faourite song:

Two Little Boys by Rolf Harris.

She’s got something there though, hasn’t she?

Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not

Arctic Monkeys came to prominence in early 2006 as one of the first so-called internet fuelled bands.  Their first album Whatever People… sold colossal amounts in its early weeks of release.  They and their music were universally adored by the critics, and rather surprisingly at the time Gordon Brown.  They were the band and the sound of the moment.

Subsequent albums have done as well and they have released a new album this week Suck It and See as well as a tour, including a trip to the Isle of Wight.

I’m catching up with that first album again now.  Lyrically, it’s great.  It’s a world of nightlife, scumbags and classic trainers. Very clever and great fun.  The images come thick and fast – from northern night clubs to frank and fiery relationships to particularly dodgy characters.  I’d love it even more if the sound wasn’t quite as edgy and insistent.  But that’s just me and my tastes.  The better known songs are the ones that do it for me – I Bet You Look Good On the Dancefloor; When the Song Goes Down and Mardy Bum.  The others have grown on me with the words so it’s been worth persevering.  I will confess to a lapse in to Led Zeppelin part the way through the week for reasons of sanity.

My video of the week though is as much for the great dance clips that have been superimposed over Dancing Shoes.  They just work:


Twotes of the Week (featuring two U2 references!)

@MrsStephenFry: LATEST: U2 hit out at Wombles Glastonbury booking. ‘How can you take such ridiculously-named creatures seriously?’ ask Bono and The Edge

@simonpegg: I’m tweeting, walking the dog and growing a beard. Who says men can’t multitask?

@Hartch: Can someone make sure Martin Jol knows about the Michael Jackson statue or that’s going to be hell of shock on his first day

@thekeithchegwin: Walked into HMV. Assistant said, Good morning. I said ‘You to’ – He said, ‘Second aisle on the left

Gleewatch: Glee prides itself on being inclusive, and this week featured the funeral of coach Sue’s down’s syndrome sister.  They have to walk a fine line from being too schmaltzy sometimes and just about managed it.  Musically, not many highlights with Santana’s rendition of Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black being the one for me.

References – for those who are interested