10 Downing Street, 8th June 2017, 9.57 pm
“Turn on the News, Philip.”
“Yes, dear. ITV or BBC News at Ten?”
“BBC of course. I need to see how many seats we've won. I've got a reshuffle to plan.”
Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy enter, anxious to see the harvest of seats they have sewn.
“Prime Minister, mind if we join you? Wouldn't like to miss out on the festivities.”
“Please, we're just Watching the News now.”
As the rolling coverage continues, David Dimbleby's face appears on BBC television. Years of experience still make him unable to keep every trace of surprise out of his voice as he reads the exit polls. The room goes deathly still as the implications sink in. A 20-point lead, gone. A majority, gone. A Prime Minister, gone?
“It's alright, dear,” said Philip, breaking the silence. “It's only the exit poll. They underestimated us last time too.”
“Shy Tories,” someone else added with the enthusiasm of May at a public debate.
“The Sun Says we've got it in the bag. Don't believe the lefties at Auntie – they've always been against you.”
At once everyone became aware of the ringing of phones – half a dozen at least. Vibrating in jacket pockets, echoing down the halls.
“God I hate the Network News,” Theresa May thought to herself.
Later that night …
“And Bury North swings for Labour, another gain from the Conservatives,” announced the television.
“More News From Nowhere,” Fiona commiserated as the rest of the room buried their faces in their hands.
The Horror Movie had been playing all night. Ever since the exit poll had come out they had sat through one bruising result after another. They were In The Middle of the Night now and Labour had claimed one scalp after another.
In a Sign of the Times the youth vote was estimated to be at record highs. None of it was for May. They sat in the fort, knowing The Angry Mob would be descending soon. The phone calls hadn't stopped. Text messages poured in. People were telling her she hadn't lost yet. She replied that “Of course I have, I Saw It on TV.”
Resigning herself to her fate – humiliation, a reduced majority, being strong-armed by every backbencher with an axe to grind – May decided she had to act. Walking to her table she announced that she had to start working out what to say to her bosses.
“The public?” enquired Philip. He got a disdainful glance in return.
She sat her desk and started to write: “Dear Mr Murdoch ..."
Front Page – A-list Playlist:
Turn on the News - Hüsker Dü
News at Ten - The Vapors
Watching the News – Iggy Pop
The Sun Says – Cock Sparrer
Network News – Robert Plant
More News From Nowhere – Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
Horror Movie – Skyhooks
In the Middle of the Night – Madness
Sign of the Times – Prince
The Angry Mob – Kaiser Chiefs
I Saw it on TV – John Fogerty
Dear Mr Murdoch – Roger Taylor
Extra! Extra! B-list Playlist:
Fish 'N' Chip Paper - Elvis Costello and the Attractions
Dedicated to the Press – Betty Davis
Papers Lie - UK Subs
Gotcha – Crass
Pills & Soap – The Imposter
The Morning Paper – Smog
Field Day for the Sundays - Wire
This is Radio Clash – The Clash
Jimmy Brown the Newsboy – Flatt & Scruggs
Free Radical Radio Fever – Mischief Brew
My Country – New Model Army
Never Buy the Sun – Billy Bragg
Free Pull-Out Guru Wildcard Pick:
Anorexic Mind – The Orphans. One I should have suggested last week but works well enough here:
These playlists were inspired by readers' song nominations from last week's topic: Election? Publish and be damned: songs about news, reporting and media. The next topic will launch on Thursday at 1pm UK time.
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Fancy a turn behind the pumps at The Song Bar? Care to choose a playlist from songs nominated and write something about it? Then feel free to contact The Song Bar here, or try the usual email address.