INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
The Guardian JANUARY 3, 2008 - by Staff Writers
IN PRAISE OF... BRIAN ENO
Brian Eno (or "Eno" as friends call him) has not always chosen his colleagues wisely. U2, Coldplay, Paul Simon: any discerning record shop would shelve these artistes under "crock music", yet Mr Eno (or "Brian" as some Americans call him) has worked with them all.
His latest collaborator is perhaps the most head-scratching of all. Nick Clegg, the Lib Dems' new leader and one of Westminster's jeunesse dorée, has appointed him his adviser on youth affairs.
It is not unusual for a politician to cadge some cred from a popstar. Oasis' Noel Gallagher visited Tony Blair at Number 10, and Tony Hadley (yes, the horsey-looking one out of Spandau Ballet) has gone so far as to meet Michael Howard. In this instance, however, the parliamentarian is twenty years younger than the pop musician, who becomes eligible this year for a free bus pass.
The precise nature of Mr Eno's role is yet to be disclosed (the pop star "has some thoughts" is as far as Mr Clegg's spokesperson was willing to venture). Still, the former Roxy Musician is bound to have some interesting ideas. Indeed, the "non-musician" (as he calls himself) has had more ideas than most thinktanks. He has produced glam rock, post-punk, proto-disco, ambient - and worn gold lamé costumes besides.
It is fashionable nowadays to trust the crowd over individual inspiration, but Mr Eno has always preferred a combination of chance and experimentation. It has not always worked, but it has earned him huge success. Politicians take note.