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Political Spin: Jamie Hepburn MSP

Political Spin: Jamie Hepburn MSP

The SNP MSP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, who is also Minister for Higher and Further Education, Youth Employment and Training, talks to Holyrood about his love of Britpop, congas and The NeverEnding Story.

What was the first record that you ever bought?

It would have been a tape in my case. I can’t remember definitively what the first one was but I’ve got a horrid fear it was something like Jive Bunny. I have the excuse that I wasn’t 16, I was only about 10. I was quite taken with the fact that their lead singer was a cartoon character. I’ve got mixed views because in one sense it seems embarrassing, but looking back on it, it got you into music you wouldn’t have listened to otherwise [Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers was a 90s novelty pop band that sampled and mixed together hits from previous decades].

I know definitively what the first record I was ever given was. It was shared, it was from my dad, and it was a record, not a tape – my sister and I shared the soundtrack to The NeverEnding Story. The theme song was sung by Limahl. He was on the cover with big spikey hair and I got him and Labyrinth-era David Bowie confused. I was very young at the time.

Were you a big fan of the film The NeverEnding Story?

Of course, wasn’t everyone?

What record will always get you on the dance floor?

None! You’ll never see me on the dance floor. You’ll see me on the edges, holding a pint and watching other people dancing, but I’m happy to leave it to other people. When I was younger I would combine dancing with holding a pint. I’d dance to anything then, but it was probably more the pint that encouraged me to dance than music.

What is your karaoke song?

When I was younger I would dance and do karaoke, but I’ve clearly got more shame as I’ve aged – or maybe I’ve realised I can’t dance and I can’t sing. The Proclaimers is always a good one and I did Letter From America a few times – probably not very well but I did give it a go.

What song was your first dance at your wedding and why?

Julie, my wife, is a contrarian so she didn’t want a first dance. Despite my aversion to dancing I’d have been quite relaxed to do one. My poor best man was compelled by the DJ to lead a conga, which neither my wife or I took part in. I can still see his face. 

What songs do you want played at your funeral?

You know how people always say “I want it to be a celebration of my life”? Well I want it to be really miserable, so something really sad. No, not really! The funeral is for the people still there – I’ll be dead, so I’ll leave it to them. Maybe they’ll read this and say “he really loved The NeverEnding Story”.

What songs are guaranteed to make you cry?

I can’t think of a song that would make me cry. If there was one it would catch me unexpectedly. Maybe it’s more to do with what I listen to – I turn to the music of my youth, indie type stuff like Oasis.

Who was your favourite indie band?

I liked a whole host of music back then. I never got the whole Oasis versus Blur thing – I liked them as well. I loved Pulp. Different Class was one of the best albums of the 90s, I would contend. If I had to return to one album though it would be The Bends by Radiohead. That, for me, is the most complete album that’s ever been written. I could listen to it over and over. 

What music would you always associate with your childhood?

It depends what stage you’re talking about. I can vividly recall Madness from when I was really, really wee. They were on TV a lot and a memorable video was House of Fun. It wasn’t until much later that I worked out what the lyrics were about. I also remember tapes that my mum had about the house – Simon and Garfunkel, The Beatles. I remember putting on the Red and the Blue albums quite a lot. 

What record do you absolutely hate but can’t get out of your head?

I have two kids and the things I can’t get out of my head are the theme tunes to kids’ cartoons. Sofia the First, things like that. Also, if I’m in the car, it depends on who has control of the radio. You end up doing what your parents would do and you swore you never would, saying things like “music was much better in my day”. If the children have control we listen to Heart Radio, but if it’s me or my wife it’s Absolute Radio 90s and the kids will complain. 

What record would you be embarrassed to owning up to having in your collection?

I have hundreds of CDs but I never play them any more so I don’t know what stuff I have. I quite like the way that they’re there and I can return to them. That’s probably the definition of a hoarder, although I didn’t hoard The NeverEnding Story.

What was the last band you went to see and who with?

I was never a huge fan of going to live music. I have gone to a number of gigs over the years but the last one would have been ages ago, probably in excess of a decade ago. I have seen bands at SNP functions, so I have seen live music. The last gig I remember being at was probably The Pogues at the O2 Academy in Glasgow. I could tell you the best and worst gigs I’ve ever been to. The best was The White Stripes at the SECC. I went with pals and it was amazing. The worst gig I’ve ever been to was at the same venue. It was Morrissey and I went with my brothers in law. I don’t think even the die-hard Morrissey fans are fans of Morrissey anymore.

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