# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Miscellaneous - June 2006

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 23 / 5 / 2006

Miscellaneous - June 2006


It has been revealed that Conservative Party leader David Cameron has been invited onto Desert Island Discs. Benjamin Howarth wonders how he will make his picks

David Cameron, it is revealed in the always funny ‘Diary of a Notting Hill Nobody’ column in The Spectator, has been invited onto Desert Island Discs.One of his focus groups (or, at the very least, an advisor in his office) will probably have chosen the songs for him, which is a shame, because you can tell so much about someone from their record collections. We already know, of course, that he liked to listen to the Smiths in his dorm, although Morrissey never stopped him wanting to work in Margaret Thatcher’s policy department. He was also spotted at a recent performance by Thom Yorke. But anyone can drop a band name or turn up for a gig, it takes a lot more to commit to something such as your favourite piece of music - that which can neatly segue out of a jolly bit of reminiscing about your time working in Number 10, or getting selected as a candidate for one of country’s safest Tory seats (things even his Eton classmates can only imagine). This programme is made for Radio Four, and that brings about a tough set of choices in itself, since your audience is unlikely to be "cool", but very likely to be literate. (And in Dave’s case, they will mostly be older than him.) Does one plump for a varied mix of "respectable" music or just throw in one classical piece - even John Peel picked Handel - to balance out all that pop? (I can hear Michael Henderson spitting.) It is standard practice to include one piece of yoof-rebellion in the form of a punk record, but which ? The Sex Pistols are too obvious whilst the Ramones are too rubbish, and besides, Simon Schama already picked them for his show. Does one include the Beatles? Do we pretend to like modern music as much as the time honoured classic? Honesty is not the best policy. If it were then we would end up with the same programme ad nausea. Would there really be many people leaving out ‘Yesterday’ or ‘Moonlight Sonata’? Probably not. Our favourite records are not just a way of charting a personal musical history, but our very definition of what music means to us, of what good music is. Lying is therefore a pre-requisite. When television-friendly MP Boris Johnson was told his choices were “too political” - he had in fact spent hours earnestly deciding what were his absolute essential choices, far longer I imagine, that he spends on his haphazard higher education policy - he “felt like I’d failed life’s ultimate test”. The pressure on a guest’s shoulders when they get their only chance to dominate the national airwaves must be enormous. In fact, the task is so difficult that even I would consider passing it off to a staffer. Dave could, however, get some advice from some of his Conservative colleagues. Such luminaries as Michael Howard and Iain Duncan Smith have been recent guests on the programme. Howard’s list from 2004 is my favourite. Newly appointed party leader and eager to impress, he selected a tasteful mix of rock ‘n’ roll, classical, jazz and pop. But when asked for the one he’d choose above all as an absolute favourite - the one he would take to the desert island if only one were permitted - he went for none other than Bryan Adams and 'Everything I Do (I Do It For You)'. I suppose if you can still enjoy something after over three months at number one, you always will. And if you’re willing to tell the embarrassing truth about something as important as your all time favourite record, then you’re probably that rare breed - an entirely straightforwardly truthful politician. Will Dave provide a similar chance for ridicule? Will his choices be as shiny as his hair, or as polished as his résumé? Watch this space…

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