Politicians aren’t generally known for the emotional sensitivity - or taste in music. But one Labour MP has given the public a rare insight into her formative years by discussing the heartbreaks and unrequited loves of adolescence in a sleeve note essay for her favourite album.
Stella Creasy, the Labour MP for Walthamstow, is a devoted fan of The Wedding Present, the Leeds indie band whose songs of unrequited love led critics to hail them as natural successors to The Smiths in the late Eighties.
Ms Creasy reserves a special place in her heart for Seamonsters, the band’s 1991 album, an unflinching collection of songs detailing the bitterness and recrimination of relationships gone wrong, set to a backdrop of grunge-era distorted guitars. The MP has now written an extended essay to accompany a vinyl, 10in edition of the album, released next Monday.
“There is no more central rite of passage than learning to live with the disappointment of love unrequited,” writes the shadow Crime Prevention minister, whose sleevenotes relive, with vivid honesty, the “burning confusion of rejection”, “the horror of being abandoned unexpectedly” and “the way in which heartache eats you up inside” during her formative years.
Recalling the boys who “stamped on my heart”, one song is etched on her memory. “To this day I cannot hear the following line from ‘Blonde’ without thinking of the boy who I fell for on a dancefloor many years ago, only to discover myself to be one of many taken in by his charms:
“I’m just some name in your book/ That’s why you gave up writing weeks ago/ You won’t be getting in touch/ Oh, do you ever?”
“It is still painful because it is the perfect expression of how you feel when you find yourself discarded by someone you trusted. I wish I had been able to walk up to those who had spurned me and quote verbatim to them some of these lyrics.”
However the MP, who has won acclaim for her campaign to crack down on legal loan-sharks, has a positive message for adolescents suffering similar pains. “I wish I could tell them that it does get better.”
The MP will watch The Wedding Present play the album in full at Koko in north London on Friday. David Gedge, the Wedding Present singer and songwriter, told The Independent: “It’s very flattering. I began a conversation with Stella on Twitter and then I thought, ‘why not ask a member of parliament to write the sleeve notes?’ To my delight she said ‘Yes’.”
Gedge, 52, added: “What she wrote was touching. Perhaps she was able to settle a few old scores too.”
Formed in 1985, The Wedding Present were championed by John Peel and became Top of the Pops regulars, recording 12 top 30 singles in one year in 1990.
Tom Watson, Labour MP for West Bromwich
Dory Previn - Mythical Kings and Iguanas
When Dory Previn did confessional, it was as if she’d etched out the lyrics into her own flesh with a cold steel scalpel. This album is a series of dark folk ballads that challenge every taboo. “Angels and Devils The Following Day” weighs up the relative advantage of a physically abusive lover against a psychologically abusive one. Sex with a younger man is explored in “Lemon Haired Ladies”. Her work was a reflection of the liberation politics of the early Seventies but it stands the test of time as a unique piece of recorded music. A tiny part of my teenage self loved this woman.
Angie Bray, Conservative MP for Ealing Central and Acton
Pink Floyd -The Dark Side of The Moon
It might be a bit corny, but I’m a creature of my generation. I’m a Seventies girl. For me, probably the greatest album ever produced is Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of The Moon. It was a truly fantastic piece of music. It was the music that we immersed ourselves in. The bit that always puts hairs up on the back of my neck is when that single voice comes in.
I saw them perform live at Earls Court in the early 80s. It was an amazing evening, not just because of the music – there were effects, stage props, everything.
I’ve always been a massive Pink Floyd fan. Each album they released was just better and better.