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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
As told to Rich Pelley

‘Touch by Little Mix might be the greatest pop song of the 21st century’: Phil Wang’s honest playlist

Phil Wang.
Send in the clown … Phil Wang. Photograph: Matt Stronge

The song I do at karaoke
As a teen, I took singing lessons from a Filipino man with an enormous chest who would take me to a karaoke bar to practise. Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers was the ultimate song because it required such range; like the final boss to beat in King Karaoke.

The first song I remember hearing
Growing up in Malaysia, my mum would play Once Upon a Dream from Sleeping Beauty and I’d dance around in my nappy. I’d also hold on to my dad’s leg if he played the full discography of the Beatles. Actually, not the full discography – only the first couple of albums. He didn’t like the wackier later stuff.

The first single I bought
I loved Shaggy as a child; I thought he had such a great voice. So It Wasn’t Me, from a shopping mall in Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia; I borrowed money from my aunt, who was furious.

The song I inexplicably know every lyric to
Bonkers by Dizzee Rascal [and Armand Van Helden] was my party trick when I started Cambridge University because I knew all the words, but no one really seemed at all interested.

The best song to play at a party
Touch by Little Mix, which might be the greatest pop song of the 21st century.

The song I’ve streamed the most recently
I’m currently listening to Smells Like Teen Spirit by Paul Anka, who does this amazing swing version of Nirvana’s original.

The song that I secretly like, but tell everyone I hate
The British Gas hold music – this terrible cover version of Clocks by Coldplay. I wonder if Chris Martin gets money time every time you’re on hold waiting for them to answer? Or maybe he just gets free gas? Although maybe he still has to pay a standing charge, being away on tour all the time. It must be annoying if he does. He should write a song about it.

The song I can no longer listen to
The Thames Water hold music. It’s not a patch on the British Gas music.

The song I wish I had written
Anything from West Side Story. Maybe Cool, because it’s the only time a musical theatre song has been cool.

The best song to have sex to
Don’t Cry for Me Argentina from Evita.

The song that gets me up in the morning
Caravan by John Wasson from the film Whiplash is just full of energy.

The song I want played at my funeral
I know it’s cheesy, but Send in the Clowns by Frank Sinatra.

Phil Wang’s standup tour Wang in There Baby resumes from 15 September. See

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