It had to be Simply Red: Prescott reveals all after joining iPod party

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Indy Politics

His critics may brand him a political dinosaur from a different age. But in one sense at least, John Prescott can claim to be at the cutting edge of new technology: he secretly listens to music on an iPod nano.

The revelation from the Deputy Prime Minister came in a candid interview for a community radio station in Bristol during which he also discussed his favourite films and gave an insight into his parents' divorce.

"I avoid wearing white headphones because I don't want to advertise it's an iPod," said Mr Prescott. "The black headphones are the best." Favourite tunes for the iPod included "A Town Called Malice" by The Jam from his favourite film Billy Elliot, which he has seen about six times.

The Deputy Prime Minister's taste in music included some surprising choices when he appeared on the community station Radio 19, broadcasting to 6,000 residents in the St Paul's area of Bristol.

In addition to his usual choice of jazz records, Mr Prescott disclosed that one of his favourites was a track from the 1970s disco hit, Saturday Night Fever. Mr Prescott also joked that he break-danced at home to "A 5th of Beethoven" - a disco version of Beethoven's Fifth written by Walter Murphy.

His musical tastes, he said, were based on songs that told a story. Among those he chose was "Fairground" by Simply Red. In addition to lead singer Mick Hucknall being a Labour supporter, he said: "I love fairgrounds. I just like walking round fairgrounds."

His jazz selections included "Satin Doll" by the late Marion Montgomery, who was a personal friend of the family until her death from cancer, and "Strange Fruit" by Billie Holiday, which he chose to mark the 200th anniversary of the Wilberforce Act banning slavery. But he said the socialist singer Billy Bragg was not on his iPod because he was not keen on agit-pop.

Mr Prescott said that if his life story were turned into a film, he would prefer Marlon Brando in his prime as the young hero of On the Waterfront to play him rather than Hugh Grant.

In the movie, for which Brando won an Oscar, the actor played a longshoreman, Terry Malloy, who is blackballed and savagely beaten for informing against the mobsters who have taken over his union and sold it out to the bosses. Mr Prescott joked that Hugh Grant, who played a Tony Blair lookalike prime minister in Love Actually, was too New Labour for his taste.

A regular visitor to his local cinema in Hull, where he has a constituency home, Mr Prescott said he watched movies for enjoyment rather than social realism. "I like to come out walking like John Wayne," he said. "I like Westerns, I like pirates." On his outings to the cinema since becoming Deputy Prime Minister, he has had to take his bodyguards as well as his wife, Pauline. "I had to force myself to go and see Notting Hill because my wife wanted to see it. I thoroughly enjoyed it," he said.

But he singled out The Pumpkin Eater - a 1964 movie by the British director Jack Clayton starring Anne Bancroft - as one of the films he did not enjoy because it depicted a marriage break-up like that of his parents.

The divorce had left an impact on him, he admitted. "My mother wanted me to hang my father and say all sorts of things about him, but I would not do that," he said. In a rare insight into his own marriage, he said his parents were "not very happy" with his choice of Pauline, who had had an illegitimate child by another man, as a wife.

"If I am a traditional man, my wife is a very traditional woman," he said. "She doesn't look to have a career. She is an intelligent woman but home is important to her and I think that makes a very good base. It is a very good combination."

He also indicated that he wanted to remain in public life when he and Tony Blair have handed over power to Gordon Brown and a new deputy. But he gave no clues as to when that might be.

The Deputy PM's playlist

Marion Montgomery, Satin Doll

Billie Holliday Strange Fruit

Simply Red Fairground

The Jam A Town Called Malice

Georgie Fame Everybody's Guessing

Walter Murphy A 5th of Beethoven