Whispering in the President’s Ear

It’s election time, so we sent to cast light on the Presidential candidates real personalities – by flicking through their iPods…

DISCLAIMER: INSIGHT IS NOT AND WAS NEVER A POLITICAL BLOG. THIS ARTICLE HAS NO POLITICAL LEANINGS SO VOTE FOR WHOEVER YOU WANT. JUST PLEASE DON’T FIREBOMB US.

It’s soapbox season, and the corridors of campus are o’eridden with the inane smiles and limp handshakes of many a YUSU erection candidate. I was trying to navigate the pathways of Langwith on the way to writing this article and was harassed by all manner of crudely Xeroxed paper posters, hastily printed pamphlets and irritating campaign gimmicks, eventually finding solace in a dusty corner of the computer room. It’s tough trying to get a grip on the meat of the candidates’ policies, with this fug of facebook groups, viral videos and lame papier-mâché outfits. There’s a simpler way to get to know the people behind the propaganda, though – their music tastes. Long have the contents of a politician’s iPod been the key into their soul. For example, Barack Obama, King of the World, enjoys Bob Dylan, Jay-Z, Howlin’ Wolf, Yo-Yo Ma, Sheryl Crow, Miles Davis and Charlie Parker. A noble selection. The big man also revealed ‘If I had one musical hero, it would have to be Stevie Wonder’. Basically, the President’s got soul.

More cringeworthy was the constant referral by shiny-faced, giant-foreheaded Tory bastard David Cameron to his love of working-class socialist student go-to band The Smiths during his insurgence. Even though Morrissey has sung fantasies of guillotining Margaret Thatcher. This led to Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr tweeting ‘David Cameron, stop saying that you like The Smiths, no you don’t. I forbid you to like it’ as well as embarrassment in the House of Commons. Although saying ‘William, it was really nothing’ to William Hague in a serious political debate does earn him some brownie points. Not sure if it balances out the whole tuition fees thing though. Oh well, he tried. Other iron-fisted dictators have revealed eye-opening music tastes. Robert Mugabe, scourge of Zimbabwe, enjoys the music of scourge of Wimbledon, Cliff Richard. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran likes Chris de Burgh, surely crime enough to place him within the Axis of Evil. I wanted him to be a Flock of Seagulls fan so I could make an ‘I-Ran’ joke.

It’s not all skin-crawling crooners that these corrupt pigs enjoy though. Libya’s leader (although that’s a bit of a sore point at this moment in time…) Colonel Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi is known for his ball-munching insanity, with his Amazonian virgin bodyguard and playful tossing about of uranium. But his choices for Libyan state concerts are more sensible – he’s apparently a massive fan of Lionel Ritchie. Appropriate, considering he looks like that attempted face statue of Ritchie that blind girl did in the ‘Hello’ video. Basically, having a look through a politician’s iPod gives you a much more rounded view of their character than their spin bullshit logorrhoea. Which is why I’ve asked our four candidates for the YUSU President position what they’re grooving to. Luckily, none of them have mentioned Burzum, Skrewdriver or Richard Wagner so we should be thankfully free of race purges next year. However, the lack of props for hip-hop suggests that the Dr Dre motion may have all sadly been in vain. Look between the lines, people of York… one of these people will be ruling over you next year; it’s up to you which one.

AARON ROLPH

What music are you currently listening to?
Got back into Mumford and Sons lately and loving it..

What’s your favourite all-time record?
‘The Final Countdown’ by Europe or ‘Shadow of the Sun’ by Audioslave – I like a variation of music!

If you could be one musician, who would it be?
Joshua Radin because he always sounds so chilled…

Would you do anything to improve the music scene on campus as President?
I feel the live music scene is one of the weakest aspects of York Uni Ents so yes I’d love to work on it. I’d aim to work with clubs more to secure big acts, targeted specifically toward students. Also if the Barbican is developed (as proposed) into a music venue, I would ensure students have a good opportunity to get tickets for a competitive price.

CHARLIE ROWLEY

What music are you currently listening to?
I currently listen to Spotify top list so I know what popular songs everyone is listening to! I listen to anything from R&B to classic, but if I had to pick a fave I’d say chart and cheese!

What’s your favourite all-time record?
This really is tricky. A classical/ballad maybe? Let’s go with the hokey cokey for fun.

If you could be one musician, who would it be?
Michael Jackson or Robbie Williams.

Would you do anything to improve the music scene on campus as President?
Definitely. Particularly for Freshers’ Ball/The Big Bang. Consulting students on what it is they actually want on campus is key to my campaign. It was clear at the last UGM with the Dr Dre motion that students are dissatisfied with the music scene in York in general and I would work tirelessly with students to make sure we can improve this and accommodate as many students as possible as I am committed to increasing the student experience.

LYDIA BLUNDELL

What music are you currently listening to?
I’m really into Bruno Mars at the moment, although I got the Take That album for Christmas which has been played a lot!!

What’s your favourite all-time record?
This question is so tough! On a night out it would have to be something really cheesy, the best way to end a night is in the Willow with some S Club 7! But Frank Turner’s ‘Casanova Lament’ is such a beautiful song, and reminds me of school so I think I’d have to go with that.

If you could be one musician, who would it be?
Taylor Swift – she’s got such a gorgeous voice!

Would you do anything to improve the music scene on campus as President?
I think events like the Big Bang/Freshers’ Ball are important ways to get music on campus. It’s necessary to start small and work our way up to big names. I would promote more smaller acts at the Big Bang, so there is something available to everyone, with different genres in different bars. As Halifax President I bought Artful Dodger to York in Freshers’ Week 2010! It’s not quite Dr Dre, but it’s a start!

TIM ELLIS

What music are you currently listening to?
Some of the music I’ve been listening to recently (bit of a variety as you can see): Nick Drake, John Martyn, Cream, Stone Roses, Muse, Von Bondies.

What’s your favourite all-time record?
Definitely have to flip a coin between ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘Hotel California’.

If you could be one musician, who would it be?
Jeff Buckley (though preferably not dead). Absolutely amazing songwriter.

Would you do anything to improve the music scene on campus as President?
Definitely some more consultation, and actually getting some gigs in Central Hall. It’s not good enough for a few Sabbs to sit around and decide acts that are brought to Freshers and Summer Balls each year. As President I would look to empower Ents committee, and also look into consulting with the whole student body into what kind of music they would have wanted at their Freshers Ball. One of my main policies is looking to work with clubs in town to bring big name acts to Central Hall, something that was promised last year, but has sadly been lacking. We’ve got a decent enough venue on our doorstep that needs to be utilised.

RON

What music are you currently listening to?
Lots of political hardcore punk to fire me up in preparation for the elections. Reagan Youth have always been a favourite, and seem more relevant than ever considering the Reaganist tendencies of the current parliamentary administration. So yeah; Dead Kennedys, Minor Threat, Crass, Amebix, Napalm Death, just lots of anarchist shit. Gets me pumped.

What’s your favourite all-time record?
Probably Refused, The Shape of Punk to Come. That record, with all its fury, disregard for convention, jazz fills, techno elements and firm hardcore chassis probably changed my life. Dennis Lyxzén’s philosophy and grasp of socialist theory was definitely influential to me as a teenager. It inspired me to read Marx, Chomsky, Wittgenstein, Camus, all the writers who shaped my worldview.

If you could be one musician, who would it be?
Like I said, Dennis Lyxzén was always a big inspiration. My other musical heroes are people like Jello Biafra, Henry Rollins, Billy Bragg, Steve Ignorant and Penny Rimbaud… In terms of mainstream musicians who are politically on the ball, I think Bruce Springsteen’s pretty cool for being so outspoken and left-leaning in the sphere he inhabits.

Would you do anything to improve the music scene on campus as President?
The music scene on campus needs a kick up the arse. It’s cool that we’ve finally got some good venues operating in town but a lot needs doing specifically onsite to make things happen. Central Hall is a venue that really should be used regularly, and we should promote events like Woodstock and Battle of the Bands far more thoroughly. I was a supporter of the Dr Dre motion. Just like him, I rock my khakis with a cuff and a crease, and I’ve still got love for the streets.

4 comments

  1. 28 Feb ’11 at 10:43 pm

    Hutchings for President

    Vote Ron. The other dudes seem like a bunch of squares saying buzzwords they heard on TV. Party 2011

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  2. RON has mentioned the greatest hardcore band of all time (Refused) but Tom, I know that all the candidates have clearly missed the song and dance move) that has influenced you, Marx, Camus and the rest of the world the most. I am of course referring to Ciara’s 2009 classic, “Work”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TO3JX9ARq_Y

    x

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  3. RON has insanely good music taste. Shame he never turned up to the debates, mind.

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  4. Here’s a great Taylor Swift fan site for you guys to check out http://taylorswift21.info/

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