I’m with the band: who knew Antony Blinken could play rock classics?

I’m with the band: who knew Antony Blinken could play rock classics?

Name: Rocking politicians.

Age: The latest example of the trend came on Tuesday night, in a basement in Kyiv.

The trend being sheltering from Vladimir Putin’s incoming missiles? No. Well, not directly. We’re talking politicians playing rock stars.

So cringe. Antony Blinken, right? Correct. After spending a day in the Ukrainian capital promising aid for the country’s war effort, the US secretary of state went to a bar where he picked up a red guitar and joined the band 19.99 on stage.

Because everyone thinks they’re a rock star. What song did he do again? Neil Young’s Rockin’ in the Free World.

That figures. Never mind what’s going on in Kharkiv … keep on rockin’ in the free world. Was it any good? 19.99’s frontman, Dmitry Temnyi, said “he played well”. The band’s guitarist Arsen Gorbach, however, was “disappointed”.

How so? To be fair, it wasn’t about Blinken’s playing but because of a communications mix-up: he told the Today programme he thought the secret celebrity joining them on stage was going to be … Neil Young!

Disappointment entirely understood. You think you’re getting David Bowie, you get David Cameron … No one’s expecting Bowie, but I see what you’re trying to do.

Thank you. He doesn’t rock, does he? Cameron? Not in any sense. Tony Blair did, though.

Oh God, yes, wasn’t he in a band? Ugly Rumours, who played legendary rock venues such as Corpus Christi College Oxford before splitting up after just six shows. Blair made brief comebacks, playing guitar with various school bands.

Enough already! Next! I give you Ed Balls on drums in Robert Peston’s band Centrist Dad, doing Anarchy in the UK!

Ugh! But this is about politicians – Balls is a TV personality. He was actually once shadow chancellor, though probably better remembered for belting out the Killers’ Mr Brightside at a karaoke party. Andy Burnham has also been unable to resist the guitar – he once joined Feargal Sharkey in a performance of the Undertones’ Teenage Kicks.

Middle age kicks, surely. And Alan Johnson said he always wanted to be a pop star. Instead he became home secretary.

How about Rishi Sunak? Or Keir Starmer? “Next on the mic is my man Keir. Come on, Keir, sing that song …” Thankfully, that’s not happened yet. Over in the land of the free and the home of the brave, Bill Clinton famously got out his sax …

Actually, he famously said: “I did not have sexual relations …” I said sax! He played his saxophone on The Arsenio Hall Show in 1992. And Barack Obama once did a rendition of Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together, though that was actually half decent.

And it happens the other way round too, right? Rockers thinking they’re politicians? Sure, Alice Cooper says he’s been running for president since 1972. Martha Reeves did actually sit on the Detroit City Council. Our own Dave Rowntree, of Blur, was recently chosen as the Labour candidate for Mid Sussex.

Do say: “Maybe stick to the day job?”

Don’t say: “Thank you, Kyiv! And finally, a little song called … Crimea River.”

Source: theguardian.com