Soundtrack Of My Life: Johnny Vegas

Lovable northern comic, would rather be potting

The first album I bought

The Beautiful South – ‘Welcome To The Beautiful South’

“My mum bought me it, actually. Yeah, it’s a great album, but on the cover there’s a woman with a gun in her mouth. What was she trying to say? It was a happy childhood… But seriously, I’ve been a massive, massive Beautiful South fan ever since. Paul Heaton is just stunning. The way he puts poetry to such catchy music really inspires me, because sometimes it feels like as a working-class person you’re not supposed to have those yearnings.”

The first gig I ever went to

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Voice Of The Beehive – Liverpool University, 1988

“My mate said they were playing at a club, which made me think: nightclub. My sister, who did fashion design, had made a suit for a guy three times bigger and taller than me, so I nicked it to wear to the gig. And then when I got there, I was mistaken for a junior record executive because I was wearing a bloody suit! I ended up in the mosh pit and someone nicked my watch, but I convinced myself that the singer [Melissa Brooke Belland] was singing the songs directly to me. I was like, ‘She’s falling for me! She’s falling for me!’ And of course she wasn’t.”

The song I wish I’d written

The Pogues feat. Kirsty MacColl – ‘Fairytale Of New York’

“What I love about this song – and I don’t know if this is my art school background – is that it messes with the norm. It’s the most genius anti-Christmas song, but there’s something about it, oddly, that people have really connected with. It’s just a song about a couple having a row, but at the same time I think it’s a sort of working-class anthem that says: ‘Lives ain’t perfect.’ Over the years it’s become part of my Christmas soundtrack and will be for life now.”

The song that makes me want to dance

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Deee-Lite – ‘Groove Is In The Heart’

“I reached a point many years ago where I realised I can’t dance for toffee. My greatest gift to mankind was to stop dancing. I’d be in clubs and there’d be a circle around me – and it wasn’t out of admiration. I much prefer sitting down and laughing at other people who can’t dance – it’s cruel, it’s wrong, but it has to be done. ‘Groove Is In The Heart’ is the one song I make an exception for. If I’m at your event and you want me to get up and dance, this is the song to play.”

The song I can no longer listen to

Green Day – ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’

“This is almost a trigger track for me. If I hear it, it will put me in a very specific emotional place. In a way it’s a song about hope, but it takes me right back to a very unhappy point in my life. If I hear it, it just makes me want to down tools for the day and go to the pub.”

The song I want played at my funeral

The Proclaimers – ‘I’m On My Way’

“I’ve decided that as I’m carried out of the church in my coffin, I want this song playing because it’s so uplifting. I want my funeral to be a celebration and a little bit irreverent. I want the message to be: ‘I’m not going away – I’m just going somewhere else, somewhere better.’”

The song I play while I’m potting

The Mamas & The Papas – ‘Twelve Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon)’

“I’ve just had a kiln fitted and I really want to get back into my potting. Picture it: I drop the mike, walk off stage and think to myself: ‘If only I was at home making a teapot.’ If I wanted to throw [some clay], I’d put this song on because there’s something in the rhythm that would chill me out but feel joyful at the same time. And that would stop me from beating myself up if my pottery work turns to shit.”

The song I do at karaoke

Neil Diamond – ‘Love On The Rocks’

“I’m a terrible singer but this is a song you can really put some passion into. I actually went through a phase of thinking I sounded a bit like Neil Diamond, which is a terrible affront to Neil Diamond in hindsight. But it’s a weird thing, karaoke: anyone who can sing ruins it because it’s not there for them. Those people have got the X-factor.”

‘Taskmaster’, starring Johnny Vegas, Daisy May Cooper, Katherine Parkinson and more, airs Thursdays at 9pm on Channel 4

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