In the frantic fortnight following the release of A-level results, the national papers are warning us that millions of pupils will be left without a place at university, doomed to wander the streets in feral hordes or to get a job at Krispy Kreme Donuts to fund their rampant mephadrone addiction. But spare a thought for Dragonette.
The irresistibly likeable Canadian disco act have already been turned down twice by the UK, and now they’re back again.Third time lucky? Will these deserving foreign students get a place in our hearts? Cherwell takes a look at their UCAS application…
QUALIFICATIONS (with teachers’ comments):
First album – Galore, 2007
Music: instantly catchy tunes with an unerring ear for pastiche ranging from Bollywood to 50s pop (A*)
English: cheerfully inept (‘Goodness I like this / Being your mistress’) but with a certain Patsy Clineish class (B)
Chemistry: mostly effervescent – saccharine-based with some acerbic compounds (A)
Food Technology: good command of texture, and everything leaves a juicy and strangely satisfying taste (A)
Second album – Fixin to Thrill, 2009
Music: Country and Western for the synth-pop generation, pure ‘n’ simple. A few cringeworthy dud tracks, but ultimately this is a cracking record. Best use of the banjo this side of the millennium in Gone Too Far (A)
PE: obsessive focus on dance. Even sex seems to be the horizontal expression of a vertical desire (A)
English: frankly not much improvement (Executive access to upper classes / So run and get me some of ’em big sunglasses’). But this is pop, so what the hell (B)
Performing Arts: the only word that comes close to describing Dragonette’s stagecraft is ‘electric.’ These guys might have supported Basement Jaxx back in the day, but right now they look capable of headlining a tour of similar magnitude (A*, assessed August 28 at 93 Feet East, Brick Lane)
Candidate (Martina Sorbara) seems candid, articulate and confident but without arrogance. And, this Oxford don cannot help adding, really quite sexy, in an American sort of way.
Asked about her lack of success with previous applications in the UK, she seemed to feel let down by her representation: ‘It’s the worst! It really is! They didn’t really have any idea what do do: they were like ‘okay, where do we put this?”
She was eager to differentiate her group from well-groomed public school applicants: ‘our records are made in a spare bedroom in my house. I consider them homespun.’ The candidate pointed to previous success in America. ‘Being the kind of band we are, we get surprised – everything grows without our knowledge. I guess you could call it a Kinder Surprise career – we’re never quite sure what’s going to be inside the egg.’ And everything is coated in sugar, I don’t reply.
The candidate admits to being adrift from contemporary music. ‘I live in oblivion a little bit. I have to force myself to listen to music. I fill up my iPod with history podcasts and stories. I got fascinated by the Dark Ages last month.’ Confesses to idiosyncratic and conservative musical taste: ‘when I get home, I just want to listen to the old records I know off by heart – Talk Talk, Nick Lowe, a lot of country. Most of my lyrics have their origins in country.’
At this point conversation spun out of control as the interviewer could not hold back any longer from asking about the band’s name. ‘We just thought it sounded like a fun word,’ said the candidate. ‘But then we discovered it was a kind of fish.’ [NB: a dragonet is a brightly-coloured fish that lurks in the mud at the bottom of the sea. We did not pursue the analogy.] When the interviewer suggested that Dragonette was a Pokemon, the candidate seemed confused and replied that Pokemon had probably stolen the name off them.
As much talent and charisma as previously successful scholars such as La Roux and Lights. Some might say more. For pity’s sake let’s offer them a Rhodes scholarship before they give up on Britain altogether…