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Monday, April 11, 2005


Name That Tune - the party's choice

This blog has been the scene of speculation about the Liberal Democrats' official campaign theme tune. Sadly, none of my helpful suggestions have been taken up.

According to
Susanne Lamido, it's "the Karelia Suite by Jan Sibelius, rearranged by Philip Pope."

If it's the
Philip Pope I'm thinking of, he first came to fame while a student at Oxford, as a member of the pop group parody trio, the HeeBeeGeeBees (along with Angus Deayton). He then went on to star in Radio 4's comedy show Radio Active and the TV version KYTV. He wrote and performed the musical parodies on TV's Spitting Image and now makes a living writing the theme tunes to many TV and film comedies.

Sibelius was hardly a barrel of laughs at the best of times, so I'm not sure how a comedy version of the Karelia Suite might sound, or how anyone could have arrived at such a bizarre concept. It must have been a very late night in Cowley Street.

PS: Monday morning's Guardian (in the column 24 days to go, not available online) reports,

Charles Kennedy has ditched plans for a campaign rock song. The Lib Dem leader has put aside his love of David Bowie for the more sedate sound of Sibelius. According to party insiders who had to endure the alternative, the choice is "a lucky escape".
My usual prize of a box of Belgian chocolates to any 'insider' prepared to spill the beans regarding the tune the party nearly chose.

It is in fact rather Jolly, if a little 'one man and his dog'.

And yes, that is the very same Philip Pope who coined the faux BeeGees lyric "the world is very very large, and butter is better than marge".
The Heebee Geebees also (under the name the PCs) did a Police spoof track "Too Depressed to Commit Suicide" with the immortal lines:

When I get home I do my marking
And hear the news read by Leonard Parkin
If I was a dog I'd really be barking
Instead I just look for a pool with a shark in...
Sibelius may have been "hardly a barrel of laughs at the best of times" but of all his works the Karelia Suite is perhaps the most jolly. Anyway, never assume that even a gloomy work cannot be transformed into comedy. Chabrier poked fun at Wagner by turning his themes into dance tunes arranged for piano duet (in "Souvenir de Munich"); Peter Warlock likewise made a jaunty piano piece out of Cesar Franck's pious D minor symphony.
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