What New Zealand music should Jacinda Ardern give Boris Johnson?

This story comes from the team of thespinoff.co.nz.

If gifting other prime ministers a stack of local LPs is the new tradition, here are 10 suggestions to bring to No. 10.

When Jacinda Ardern drove through Tasmania a few weeks ago for her first official meeting with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, she presented her friend and counterpart with a New Zealand vinyl cover.

Grant Robertson had gone shopping and picked out records from Aldous Harding, The Clean and Reb Fountain. Albanese responded in kind, giving Ardern a Midnight Oil album and a bunch of other Aussie slimes.

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Tonight, with NATO and the EU on the sidelines, the New Zealand Prime Minister engages with another legendary European institution: Boris Johnson. And what better way to get to No 10 Downing Street than with a bag of records under your arm?

Dunedin Sound Minister Grant Robertson fell with Covid, so we gallantly stepped into the breach and humbly featured some local New Zealand music that might trap the Boris diem.

Aldous Harding – Party

Ardo gave Albo Aldo, or more precisely she gave him Aldous Harding’s self-titled debut album. For Bojo, a better bet is his second, Party.

If such a thing is available, the perfect format would be a gatefold Party edition, a cheery nod to the many lockdown-breaking parties Johnson has attended, earning him a fine from the police.

Among the Party tracks: ‘I’m So Sorry’ and, of course, ‘What if Birds Aren’t Singing They’re Screaming’, a track that captures the essence of post-Britain like anything else. -Brexit.

Goodbye Pork Pie – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Fire up a VHS of that too: the entertaining thread about a desperate man who will stop at nothing to stay in the game, desperately clutching the steering wheel as the country yellow Mini swerves wildly in horror.

Above all, however, it is a reassuring headline for Boris to back on the gramophone, as he faces the re-emergence of the pork pie plotters – so named because one of the MPs involved represents Melton Mowbray, birthplace pork pie.

They are determined to find another way to keep it rolling, despite a vote of no confidence a few weeks ago that failed by 211 members to 148.

The Clean – Tally Ho

The Flying Nun giants’ glorious debut single may be 44 years old, but the lyrics read like Boris Johnson answering questions at a hastily organized press conference after another cabinet minister resigned in protest against inept and amoral leadership.

“Now you said it was yesterday, yesterday is another day,” the prime minister said, gesturing furiously to the gathered media.

“I pretended, I don’t know if it’s you or if it’s me. Oh, I don’t know, I don’t know. Tally ho! Tally ho!”

(Johnson once encouraged defiance of the foxhunting ban, by the way, and wrote about how part of his love for hunting with dogs was the “semi-sexual relationship with the horse”.)

Dave Dobbyn – Footrot Flats: The Tale of the Dog’s Tail

An evidence. Because it’s Dobbo, of course. Because it’s a dog, and Boris called himself The Big Dog. And because it includes various piglets, and David Cameron dubbed Boris The Greased Piglet.

In case you doubt Murray Ball can see the future, one of the Footrot Flats pigs was actually named Boris.

Lorde – Pure Heroine

The ‘Royals’ escape is highly relevant to any Eton and Oxford graduate. Blood spots. Prom dresses. Ransack the hotel room. Airplanes. Island. Tigers on a golden leash. It reads like a shopping list for the Bullingdon Club AGM.

Maria Dallas – Pinocchio

In 1970, country singer Maria Dallas topped the charts for six weeks with “Pinocchio.” It’s a name that’s been thrown around at Johnson a number of times, for the simple reason that he lies a lot.

Old Etonian and former Tory MP Rory Stewart described him as “perhaps the best liar ever as Prime Minister”, going on to say:

“He mastered the use of error, omission, exaggeration, diminishment, equivocation and categorical denial.

“He perfected casuistry, circumlocution, false equivalence and false analogy.

“He is also adept at the ironic joke, the lie and the big lie; the word weasel and the half-truth; the hyperbolic lie, the obvious lie and the bullshit lie”.

Straitjacket cuts – Melt

That goes mostly for the track “Done”, given Johnson’s most vaunted achievement, in the words he’s uttered countless times: he “got Brexit done”, despite, as he might like singing, wildly flashing red lights and a stop sign saying ‘no more way to go’.

Air New Zealand “Men in Black” Safety Video – Israel Dagg ft. Stan Walker

Prime Ministers will tonight celebrate the New Zealand-UK Free Trade Agreement, a deal the UK Prime Minister welcomed last October with a bit of a sports joke.

“We are absolutely thrilled that we looked like we drove to the line, we rushed, we got tight and together we have the ball over the line, and we have a deal,” said Johnson, whose rugger’s prowess is legendary.

In recognition of this expertise, why not put on a USB stick New Zealand’s greatest rugby song of all, sung in stadiums across the country: the Air New Zealand Men In Black safety video. (Maybe add Sean Fitzpatrick’s giant fist car thing too.)

Six60 – Six60

What could be better than the debut album from the groundbreaking band who named themselves both for a Dunedin address and to deeply confuse unfamiliar foreigners with the New Zealand accent.

Among the tunes that will resonate for a man with a complicated past is the triple platinum ‘Don’t Forget Your Roots’.

OpShop – Second Hand Planet

Pretty obvious why this one comes in.

Not for the heartfelt cry of the award-winning “One Day” (“All I can give you is me / I’m all I can give you now / I’m all I am / All that which I am, yeah”) , but because Jason Kerrison, the doomsday bunker builder and lead singer of OpShop, recently won The Masked Singer dressed in a massive tuatara, and – as you know – on Boris’ last trip Johnson in Aotearoa, he had a great time in Zealandia with a tuatara.


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Edward L. Robinett