EXCLUSIVE / British embassy staff in Brussels are planning a Brexit bash the night of the 23 June referendum. EurActiv.com has had an exclusive peek at the party playlist, which includes The Final Countdown by Swedish hair metal headbangers Europe.
Diplomats will dance the night away to a series of cheesy themed songs, including floor-filling classics such as Rick Astley’s immortal 1987 hit Never Gonna Give You Up.
In the song, Astley – currently top of the UK album charts – croons, “Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down/ Never gonna run around and desert you/Never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye/ Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you.”
Recently knighted Ambassador Sir Ivan Rogers will serve up drinks in the bar of the UK Permanent Representation to the EU as the results roll in. The staff boozer has a door painted to look like Number 10 Downing Street.
Unsurprisingly many of the chosen songs are British classics, such as the Human League’s Don’t You Want Me Baby? and Don’t Look Back In Anger, by swaggering Britpop behemoths Oasis.
The Clash’s Should I Stay or Should I Go? and Will Young’s Leave Right Now show that the civil servants have tastes that range from punk rock to Pop Idol winners – and that the playlist has songs for both Leave and Remain.
Clash singer Joe Strummer shouts, “Should I stay or should I go now?/If I go there will be trouble/ And if I stay it will be double.”
Young plaintively wails, “ Think I’d better leave right now/ Before I fall any deeper/ I think I’d better leave right now/ Feeling weaker and weaker.”
Brit boybands Take That and East 17, make the top ten with their chart-topping anthems Never Forget and Stay Another Day, along with Gloria Gaynor’s perennial disco fave, I will Survive.
Beyoncé’s Irreplaceable, which includes the line, “Don’t you ever get to thinking you’re irreplaceable” and Shakespeare’s Sister’s tearjerker Stay With Me fill out the list.
Only staff are allowed to attend the shindig, which is a chance for hard-working diplomats to blow off steam after months of working on Prime Minister David Cameron’s EU reform deal.
One source said, “If it turns out to be Brexit, this place will go into overdrive on Friday. We will be incredibly busy for a long time.
“The referendum party is a good way to relieve the tension and thank people for their hard work.”
There are a string of Brexit parties being held across the bars of Brussels to mark the historic night, which some fear could spell the beginning of the end of the EU.
A surprising omission from the playlist is Brussels icon Jacques Brel’s Ne Me Quitte Pas – but it could be the chanson was deemed too depressing for a party…
Far more cheerful and rousing are Haddaway’s Please Don’t Go, and the 1986 hit from the Communards, Don’t Leave Me This Way.
Astley and Brexit
It is also not the first time that Rick Astley has found himself embroiled in the referendum campaign.
Pro-EU internet prankster Mario Van Poppel snapped up the voteleave.com website name, forcing the campaign to register voteleavetakecontol.org.
Anyone visiting voteleave.com is ‘rick-rolled’ – redirected to a video of Rick Astley singing his iconic song.
EurActiv has asked Astley for comment.
Brexit party playlist
- The Final Countdown – Europe
- Never Forget – Take That
- Leave Right Now – Will Young
- Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley
- Don’t Look Back in Anger – Oasis
- Irreplaceable – Beyoncé
- I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
- Stay Another Day – East 17
- Should I Stay Or Should I Go? – The Clash
- Stay with Me – Shakespeare’s Sister
- Don’t You Want Me? – Human League
- Don’t Leave Me This Way – The Communards
- Please Don’t Go – Haddaway
The United Kingdom on Thursday (23 June) voted to leave the European Union, in a result that is likely to rock the 28-country bloc. Follow EurActiv's live feed for all the latest developments, as they happen.
- 23 June: Referendum on Britain's continued membership of the European Union
- 28-29 June: EU summit in Brussels