Nick Clegg appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs this morning, and revealed his eight essential tunes, as well as a book and a luxury item with which to be marooned.
You can listen to the whole programme on iPlayer here but for the record, here’s Nick’s list:
- Chopin’s Waltz in A Minor (played by Idil Biret)
- Sunday Morning Coming Down (Johnny Cash)
- The Cross (Prince)
- Petit Pays (Cesaria Evora)
- Street Spirit (Radiohead)
- Life on Mars (David Bowie)
- Waka Waka – the theme to the 2010 World Cup (Shakira)
- Schubert’s Impromptu No.3 in G Flat Major (played by Alfred Brendel)
As guilty pleasures go, it’s a pretty safe list; Desert Island Discs is a chance for famous people to judiciously bury treasure for the listeners to find, and from there to form their impression. Nick’s music ranges from centuries-old to this year’s summer hit, via milestones from childhood, studenthood and adulthood. There’s no deeper message to be gleaned from these than that Nick’s music is for wallpaper, rather than for political fuel. No Glee Club anthems here. Nick highlights his tracks’ pleasant associations rather than their intrinsic musical skill. Prince’s “The Cross” is noted more for its evocation of happy Minnesota memories than its resignation/salvation riff.
Sure, there’ve been headlines about Nick’s occasional smoking habit (I thought this was already in the public domain), but for me the real surprise came in the accompanying interview with Kirsty Young:
Nick mentions “luck” several times throughout the conversation, when speaking of his upbringing, his education and his rapid rise to be the Lib Dem leader, and then Deputy Prime Minister. It gives him an unassuming air, but seems a bit disingenuous given that Nick knows how opportunity, hard work and targeting can translate into success. As Lib Dems know, outcomes aren’t necessarily predictable: the Coalition has brought its plot twists, but surely a liberal narrative is informed by opportunity?
His caution that “it’s not a time for triumphalism and bunting” may be a clue: Kirsty and Nick sprint through the coming cuts:
Everything’s obscured at the moment by the perfectly understandable controversy about where the savings are being made and what I hope is that over time people will see that the picture that is emerging from what this government is doing is a good, progressive one.