Blunkett’s musical favourites play well with cultural centre

By Isabel Janner, May 7, 2009

David Blunkett has told a London Jewish Cultural Centre audience that community and charity work is a positive by-product of the recession.

In a Desert Island Discs-type evening at the Golders Green venue, the former Home Secretary chose songs and a poem of personal relevance.

It was when discussing Nine Million Bicycles by Katie Melua that Mr Blunkett compared life in a recession to his austere childhood days. “We all have to re-engage with self-determination and community spirit,” he said. “The recession is an opportunity, as well as a tragedy, [a time] for people to pull together.”

Family had provided him with strong role models, even though his mother’s advice could sometimes be contradictory. “She told me ‘don’t get above yourself’, but then in the next breath advised me to be determined and go for it.”

For Mr Blunkett, music was “something that can get into your soul, something that can lift you.” Sixteen-hour working days as a Cabinet member had left little time for music or poetry. “Inspired by spring,” he now hoped to return to poetry writing and listen to his favourite songs.

And talking about the Philip Larkin poem No Road brought to mind his bride-to-be Margaret Williams and their August wedding plans. “Isn’t it wonderful that I can’t talk about poetry without thinking about Margaret.”

Hound Dog by Elvis Presley was selected in honour of his guide dog and other choices were A Song of Summer by Frederick Delius and The Lark Ascending by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Last updated: 3:49pm, July 16 2009