The Money Shot - a peek at Merv's discs

Old record
Napalm Death's 'Scum' still held up
"Listeners may also have been surprised at what passes for a ‘slow jam’ in Mervyn’s book"
  • | by Kristian Dando

You can learn a lot about somebody from taking a rummage through their record collection. And every Sunday, the Money Shot likes to do this from the comfort of its bed by soaking up Radio 4’s long-running Desert Island Discs programme with a cup of tea and a Garibaldi.

The past week’s instalment made the ears of finance buffs across the country reach for their wireless dials, with the outgoing governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, rocking up to bare his soul to Kristy Young.

Aside from a glimpse of King’s musical tastes, the Shot was interested in finding out what makes the venerable King tick. It was also curious to learn how he juggled a high-powered job at the helm of one of the country’s most important institutions and a laudable career on the darts circuit.

Unfortunately, he didn’t go into too much detail of the latter, but it turns out he’s really into Aston Villa and the cricket.

As for the music? Well, those who make it to the top of the world of high finance aren’t exactly renowned for their eclectic musical tastes, and those holding out any hopes of Merv throwing a few curveballs with some early jungle records or a bit of Status Quo will have been left disappointed. His selection was fairly typical of a man of his stature and generation: mainly classical works, a show tune and a bit of Bob Dylan. That sort of thing.

Disappointingly, the most surprising thing that Mervyn selected was Lou Bega’s seminal 1999 reworking of ‘Mambo No 5’ – which, coupled with the news that he plans on learning how to dance, evokes an image of a red-faced Merv mamboing gamely around his living room, before a dutiful Mrs King enters brandishing a jug of elderflower cordial and a plate of fondant fancies, offering to mop her flustered husband’s brow.

Listeners may also have been surprised at what passes for a slow jam in Mervyn’s book. He described this toe-tapper as “incredibly romantic”. Each to their own, but the Shot will stick to its Barry White LPs, thanks very much.

So what now for Mervyn? Well, he’s planning on taking a ‘gap year', which will put residents of Koh Samui on alert for an avuncular gentleman with white hair and bankers’ glasses, stripped to the waist and daubed in ultraviolet paint, wigging out to psy-trance at beachside full-moon parties this winter.

As he rides off into the sunset, offering the typically sage and understated advice of “be yourself” to his successor, the Money Shot wishes Mervyn all the best for his year off. The man who helped steer Britain through one of the worst economic crises the world has ever seen has certainly earned a bit of time to himself.

Listen to Mervyn King’s appearance on Desert Island Discs.

SHORT CHANGE – Money news in brief

‘Well-loved’ London estate agent Foxtons is set to float on the stock market.

Shadow chancellor Ed ‘The Balls’ Balls has said that Labour would scrap the winter fuel allowance for rich pensioners.

Defra and the insurance industry are set to conclude their talks on the future of flood insurance soon, presumably because they all want to go outside for a Fab lolly while the weather holds out.

The Co-operative Bank has appointed a man called Richard Pennycook to, er, cook its pennies. He’ll assume the role of finance director at the bank, which is having quite a rough time of it lately.

Like the sound system in Tim Westwood’s car, house sales for first time buyers are positively booming.

On Covered mag this week

That smell of burgers, warm lager and portaloos can only mean one thing – festival season is here. Dan Moore shows you how to survive it.

Middle-lane hogs are set to be face on the spot-fines from cops. Kristian Dando took a closer look at this irritating driving habit.


Man stuck in bin

Citizens of Wrexham have been doing double-takes at a man who appears to be stuck in a bin in the town’s Queen’s Square (see below).

It transpires that this was just a public art installation - though watchers of the north Wales town could be forgiven for thinking otherwise, given previous sightings of ponies on trains.

Mark Robla, the artist behind the installation, said: “I wanted to test the Good Samaritan idea to see what people’s reactions would be. Some have walked past but others have phoned up the emergency services.”

Reaction in the town has been mixed. One local said: “I think it’s wonderful, it’s very creative and though provoking.” Elsewhere, a less-than impressed passer-by grumbled: “What a load of rubbish.”

Join us NEXT WEEK for another THRILLING instalment of THE MONEY SHOT