Desert Island Disks : Desert Island Doku

“That was the first and only song I’ve sung in a karaoke.”

amatey doku Cambridge cambridge students cambridge students union CUSU

My castaway this week is the CUSU president, Amatey Doku. Born in 1995, this mythical man’s achievements are many.

During his time at Cambridge he was president of the Jesus College Student union, and as CUSU president he has overseen major constitutional review. He has also taken on a cult following, with an unmatched Memebridge presence and an honourable position as everyone’s favourite Facebook friend. Whether you’ve played the “How Amatey Are You?” game religiously or simply envied his divine dress-style, you have doubtlessly come across his enigmatic presence on campus. The much-loved president and number 1 BNOC reveals which 5 songs he would take with him on a desert island.

How do you think you would cope with being on a desert island?

I think it’s really important when you find yourself in a situation like that to treat it with the ruthless pragmatism it deserves. Take your time and asses the right solutions. Obviously corporate buzzwords like that don’t help much…

Your diplomatic prowess would save you on the island. How did you choose your songs? I’m surprised you didn’t include the “Amatey Doku song”. 

Yeah I still don’t know who made that haha.

It was difficult because my music taste is very all over the place, partly because when I was growing up I was indoctrinated with classical music and later I realised there was a whole lot of music out there. I’m going to choose them chronologically in terms of when I discovered them.

I’m gonna start with September. It’s just a classic. When I was a first year we set up a band called “B and the Jukeboys”. I was one of the Jukeboys.  We attempted this song at a birthday party; it involved me doing trumpet sounds on the piano. It was good fun, but it sounded terrible. September is also the first and only song I’ve ever done on karaoke.

So you were into your music even before you got into student politics. What’s the next piece?

The next song means a lot to me from school. I played a lot of piano, and I reached the peak of my piano-career in year 12, where I got to perform this piece. That gave me a taste of conducting. I conducted the Jesus College music society twice. Probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I bought myself a baton and got to know what was going to happen in every bar. You turn up to the first rehearsal of term and you think “right, here we go”. Even when we were three weeks in I got lost and had no idea where we were.

Now we know you as the powerful pres – but what were you like as a fresher?

I did too much. I did a bit of student journalism, and had a current affaires show on Cam FM, called “The Weekly Brief”. I was in the jazzband, playing piano. I was also the choral scholar at Jesus.

Being CUSU president must be a bit sedentary in comparison?

Haha, well yeah I do miss quite a lot of my former life. The reason why this piece means a lot to me, was because after starting CUSU I thought I’d do something else, so I started a smooth Jazz radio show on CAM FM. Smooth Jazz became a passion of mine. This track was the trailer for my show; I think it’s the best smooth jazz piece.

Is smooth jazz the one that often gets called elevator music?

Elevator music or sex music. I don’t really understand how they can be in the same bracket.

Jumping back a couple of centuries. 

This piece tells you the story of the passion of Christ. I’m not religious myself but if you’re choral scholar you immerse yourself in that world. This is way before film scores but the beginning of this piece is just insane, you get this real sense that something is about to happen. And yeah, that was the first thing I did as a choral scholar so really good memories of that.

And now for the cheesy bit.

Oh I’m going to get really soppy now. Tell her always reminds me of my girlfriend. I always send it to her when I listen to it, when it comes up on my shuffle. It’s a really good song, and especially when at the end of the chorus the singer overlaps with himself. It works really well.

You get the complete works of Shakespeare and the bible with you on the island. And you get one more book.

The CUSU constitution. Nah, this is really hard. I haven’t read this book and I feel like I should: “Half of a yellow sun” by Chimamanda Adichie.

And one luxury item.

This is awful. I always have to have a stock of Fortnum and Mason’s Queen Mary English afternoon tea. I’ve got this new floaty tea strainer thing and it just bobs, then you take it out and put it into a little container.

Here I’ve always thought tea was a simple thing… are you a milk and sugar man?

I always do milk and one sugar. I used to be a lot worse but I’ve cut down.

We’ll make sure there’s plenty of smooth jazz and tea waiting for you on the island, Amatey.