You Know You're Over 40 When…

You Like The Same Music As The Prime Minister


They say that you know you’re getting older when the policemen start looking younger. Or as I will no doubt be putting it at some point: You know you’re over 40 when… the policemen start looking younger. And the doctors. And teachers. In fact, just about anyone in a position of authority.

Similarly, when you’re in your 40s, the Prime Ministers also start getting younger (as well as pluralised: the only thing worse than a Prime Minister getting younger? ALL the Prime Ministers getting younger). Yes, once you’re over 40, your leader is now statistically more likely to be the same age as you. Or at least the age gap between you is lessening. There was quite a gulf between me and Mrs Thatcher, for example – I was eight when she became Prime Minister, and as a result, I couldn’t relate to her very well. Chiefly because she wasn’t by all accounts a ‘pony person’.

But now? Now, I am 42 and our Prime Minister is 46. So I really shouldn’t be all that surprised that he and I share similar musical tastes. Although naturally I was surprised, and by ‘surprised’ I do of course mean ‘filled with a sense of disappointment bordering on horror’.

I imagine it was different in The Old Days. I doubt it was much of a surprise/disappointment/feeling bordering on horror – or quite such an indicator of the ageing process – to like the same music as the Prime Minister in, say, the 18th century. Back then, everyone listened to Music From The Old Days – or as it is known in some circles, ‘classical’ music – so your only sense of connection (or sign of age) would presumably come from liking the same classical music as the Prime Minister. I hear, for example, that Pitt the Younger was a sucker for a bit of Scarlatti.

That said, I’m sure that all our modern Prime Ministers have enjoyed classical music, too. Posh people tend to. And, modern or not, all British Prime Ministers are posh.

But back to current times – where the only thing worse than liking the same music as the Prime Minister is that the Prime Minister in question is David Cameron. Being reminded once again that I am now at an age where I could be ruling the country, but am instead mainly writing blog posts and watching cat videos, is galling enough. But, as a lily-livered, bleeding-heart, liberal egghead communist, learning that I share these tastes with Cameron is the icing on the cake that the Tories think the peasants should eat (while sitting in front of their massive TVs).

It’s only appropriate that I discovered this horrifying news through the most horrifying of channels, of course. The Daily Mail. It was this article which revealed Cameron’s musical tastes (and penchant for making pancakes of a weekend), and the first name that leapt out at me was First Aid Kit.

First Aid Kit are a wonderful duo who sound like they were born a) in the Sixties and b) in California, despite being a) in their 20s and b) from Stockholm. And I’ll be frank: the only thing more irksome than discovering that the Camerons like them (Sam is particularly keen, apparently) is guessing that they’re fans in exactly the same way that I am. I’ve listened to one First Aid Kit song over and over again, and their album a few times, but I’ve never checked out their full back catalogue or seen them live. I just know the Camerons are fans in this way too, ie. barely fans at all. I can’t even rise above them on this front.

But if the First Aid Kit revelation was a blow, the following extract was the knockout:

“Mr Cameron revealed his musical ‘guilty pleasure’ was listening to Bruce Springsteen.

Mrs Cameron ‘doesn’t like The Boss’ so he can only listen to him when she is away.

In 1985 he queued for hours to see Springsteen in France in ‘one of those concerts that went on for four hours.

‘That was my guilty pleasure. I queued for hours and I was right at the front and I just thought he was fantastic.

‘So, when Samantha is not around there is a little bit of Dancing in the Dark or something like that, or, Born in the USA, so that is my guilty…but actually I like his stuff like Nebraska and all the rather grim dark stuff, so that is my guilty pleasure I suppose.’”

As readers of this blog will know, I adore Bruce Springsteen. The man, the music, the person whose track Wrecking Ball has been covered so spectacularly by Miley Cyrus that it sounds like a completely different song. And so my thought process on reading the passage above went something like this:

1. David Cameron likes Bruce Springsteen. This is awful. Bruce is far too amazing to be appreciated by David Cameron.

2. David Cameron likes Bruce Springsteen. This is good. Bruce is amazing, and I’d like everyone to know and appreciate his music.

3. Except perhaps David Cameron.

4. Samantha Cameron doesn’t like Bruce Springsteen. Good. This gives me one more legitimate reason not to like the Camerons.

5. David Cameron thinks that liking Bruce Springsteen is a “guilty pleasure”. Good. This means I can go back to hating David Cameron again, and the world is in its rightful state once more.

Yes, with Cameron’s stupid, falsely self-deprecating statement – “that is my guilty pleasure” – balance was once again restored in the universe. To like a musician so much that you queue for hours to see him but at the same time be unable to wear your love for that music with pride – to feel that you can’t be seen to enjoy it without a veil of irony – is bad enough. But to do this about Bruce Springsteen, a man with more talent, smarts and empathy in his guitar-picking finger than Cameron has in his pancake-eating body, is staggering. And yet, of course, not. This is David Cameron.

May I suggest, Prime Minister, that the only thing you should feel guilty about is that, while listening to “that grim, dark stuff” of Springsteen’s, you don’t seem to understand its message (here are two handy links for you). Perhaps if you did, you wouldn’t dumb it down as a guilty pleasure – and, slightly more importantly, you wouldn’t be so inclined to push through policies that hit the poorest and most vulnerable in our society. If you want to feel guilty about something, may I suggest that it’s that – and not listening to ‘Nebraska’? Just a thought. Now, back to First Aid Kit: I’ve got an entire back catalogue to work through…

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12 thoughts on “You Like The Same Music As The Prime Minister

  1. I liked it when he was forbidden to like the Smiths. By the Smiths!

  2. What’s frightening to me is that I could be older than some of our leaders.

  3. Better to be writing blogs well and appreciating Bruce Springsteen openly than making a mess of being prime minister and ashamed of your taste in music.

  4. Ugh…well said…made me think back to when Margaret Thatcher was PM – I was in my teens and imagined that if I were in my 40’s back then…would our tastes be the same?

  5. So because you don’t agree with someone’s politics or views on life, that means they’re not ‘allowed’ to like the same music as you? They’re the same age, so why not? Why can’t they?!
    You said yourself that it’s bad enough being old enough to agree with Prime Ministers, but even worse when it’s David Cameron. So you were all out to hate whatever he liked on principle just because of the fact it was him. Hardly a fair and balanced viewpoint.

    • You can’t ‘forbid’ someone to like your music. The Smiths just looked ridiculous when they said that. Cameron’s taste in music has nothing to do with his political philosophy and nor is yours. That is why religion and politics are sometimes taboo at socail gatherings etc and music and art is not – one unites and the other divides. Your blog isn’t amusing or even rational and makes you look spiteful & small minded. I had such high hopes when I read the blog title link aswell….

      • I’m sorry you were disappointed, Carly. I never claim that I’m always rational – one’s feelings about politics and music often aren’t! And of course I would never ‘forbid’ someone to like Bruce – I hope that it was clear that I *like* people liking Bruce and was exaggerating my horror about Cameron. I think that you can definitely argue that some of Bruce’s music *is* political – and certainly I would argue that ‘Nebraska’ (which Cameron namechecks) is. So in that sense, if he claims to love an album, yet a) describes that love as a guilty pleasure, and b) seems to have principles & enact policies in direct contrast to the ‘message’ of that album, I think that’s worth talking about/calling him on. I would hope that, as adults, we can wear our tastes and likes with pride. Also – music can definitely divide people! I’ve come across plenty of people who hate Bruce (or jazz, which I also love) in my time…. 😉

    • Of course people are ‘allowed’ to like whatever they want! I hope this is clearly all quite lighthearted. I’m not a fan of David Cameron’s – as you can tell – so no, it was never going to be fair and balanced (but then I never said it would be!). And I don’t hate what he likes. Quite the opposite: I like what he likes (eg Bruce). What galled me most was his feeling he needed to describe this as a ‘guilty pleasure’.

  6. Eeh Bah Mum on said:

    Thanks for introducing me properly to First Aid kit.
    I find the idea of Guilty Pleasures weird especially now I’m 40 and don’t really care what people think of the things I like.
    I just wish politicians could express genuine opinions about personal tastes. I couldn’t care less if they’ve never eaten a pasty – just try not to cock the country up.

  7. I couldn’t agree more 🙂

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