‘That song’s become a jinx – as well as being awful’: Mathew Horne’s honest playlist

The actor and comedian can’t get enough of the Cure and has an unconventional choice for his funeral song. But which ballad has always brought bad tidings?

The first single I ever bought
La Serenissima by DNA. I heard it when we were on a family holiday, in the car on Radio 2. It’s a piece of classical music, turned into a dance record with this breakbeat. At the time Radio 2 didn’t play any cool music, and this was incredibly cool. We were probably on the way to Devon, parked, having sandwiches. Of course this is all a total fabrication and my first single was definitely Do the Bartman. I just wanted to go really highbrow at the top.

My karaoke go-to
It’s a Sin by the Pet Shop Boys. It just reminds me of my childhood; it’s a very melodramatic song, a real head-turner. It’s quite hard to sing, but if you sing it really loudly then no one really notices. I think it appeals to my theatrical side. If you’re going to do karaoke, you might as well make a big deal of it.

Best song to have sex to
In my second year of university I lived with my best friend. He brought a girl back home very late one day and woke me up. I had all my records with me – and I happened to have Chariots of Fire by Vangelis. I played it really loud then just got this little knock on the door: “What are you doing?” It made it really dramatic and awkward – it just seemed like the perfect record.

The song I inexplicably know every lyric to
Has It Come to This? by the Streets – and probably all the lyrics to Original Pirate Material. When that album came out – gosh, it’s 20 years old! – it was mindblowing for me and my friends. You very rarely get it now, but it was one of those where there’s no skipping a track, and once it had finished, you just put it on again. I’m from the midlands, he’s from the midlands – he’s singing and rapping about everyday life, and it was a real gamechanger.

The song I can’t help singing
The track Seven, from the album Seven, by James. When I was at university in Manchester I was obsessed with Tim Booth and used to try follow him around and was really creepy – but I still love James and that album, and that track is just really uplifting. I can’t sing it very well, it’s not really within my range, but it really gets you going in the morning.

The song I want played at my funeral
Alive by Daft Punk. Obviously there’s the irony of the track being called Alive but it’s my favourite piece of electronic music. It represents what’s going on in my head all the time: this driving repetitive energy. It would be nice if people wanted to dance. It’s a sad enough event as it is, so let’s have some really hard French house. Actually, I’ll put it in print now: I want Daft Punk to play at my funeral. With the pyramid! The only problem is I won’t be there to hear them.

The song I have to get up to turn off
Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton. Not only is it a really horrific song, every time I’ve heard it, something bad has happened. I remember it playing in the car when I was 14 and thinking: “What is this awful song? Surely this isn’t the man who played Layla?” Then, the next day, my grandfather died. After that, every time I’ve heard it, something’s made me feel upset. I can’t give you an example, you’ll just have to take my word for it. So it’s become a bit of a jinx, as well as being awful. I can’t bear that record.

The song I pretend to hate that I secretly like
I haven’t openly claimed to dislike it, but I was obsessed with Believe by Cher. It was the first time anyone heard Auto-Tune modulate a voice. I just remember thinking: I probably shouldn’t like this, but I really, really love it.

The song I tell people is my favourite
You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are by Keaton Henson. It’s an absolutely beautiful song, and I love it, and it’s also a good song to say is your favourite because most people don’t know it and it makes you sound really cool.

My actual favourite song
Open by the Cure. The Cure are one of my favourite bands and that song is all about being at a party they didn’t want to be at. That resonates with me much more. In my career I’ve been to lots of parties that I wanted to leave, and Robert Smith sings about that so evocatively. I’m the guy in the kitchen listening to nu-disco. Parties are not for me now.

Mathew Horne stars in Agatha Raisin, Mondays, 9pm, Sky Max.


As told to Elle Hunt

The GuardianTramp

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