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What’s on Harry Potter’s iPod 

Tunes to transfigure: There’s not a lot of rock and roll at Hogwarts. If Harry Potter alma mater was in Halifax, this is what local music he and his peeps would be listening to.

click to enlarge A little big magic, a little bit rock & roll. - MATTHEW MORGAN

I do have one quibble with Hollywood's Harry Potter: nobody listens to secular music. While I enjoy a sweeping, stolidly British orchestral score as much as the next person, it's also an interesting exercise to imagine which local bands might suit the tastes of individual Harry Potter characters. I took my best crack at it, and the deductions are as follows:

Harry Potter

Harry Potter is that annoying friend that everyone has: he's good at everything, girls like him, he's a teacher's pet and most obnoxiously of all, he's really nice. If you were depressed or in a jam, Harry would innately know what bands would make you feel better. He owns the entire Noyes and Hot Money Records catalogues and plays Long Long Long's sunny tunes to distract you from your problems. He also loves Quaker Parents and Bike Rodeo. He would have a well-known soft spot for bands like Quivers and The Stance---local bands that sound like the best parts of his parents' record collection (note: I mean his real parents, and not his mean and square guardians, the Dursleys). His penchant for decent sound and lighting would often lead him to The Seahorse Tavern (1665 Argyle Street, 423-7200) for live tunes. Simply put, he'd gravitate to where the fun was, and would know exactly the right thing to say in order to lure you off the couch. What a hero.

Ron Weasley

Weasley's tastes run a little wilder and weirder than Harry's. Chances are, he would live around the corner from Gus' "Magical" Pub (2605 Agricola Street, 423-7786) and head there for cheap butterbeer two or three times a week. Being a funny guy, Weasley would never miss a BA Johnston show. He would also love the peppy, self-effacing punk of The Graboids, Outtacontroller and Tongan Death Grip, and spend a lot of time in the front row yelling all the words, bobbing his dear ginger head. During his more contemplative moments, his tastes run darker and softer: Secret Colours, Dog Day, Chief Thundercloud and Micro Organs. After late nights full of too much firewhisky, he often comes home, puts on Seth Smith's New Problems EP and falls asleep on the couch.

Hermione Granger

Hermoine doesn't go out a lot, being the bookish sort, but when she does, it's usually to The Company House (2202 Gottingen Street, 404-3050) where she enjoys a glass or two of cheap wine quietly in a corner, as the music ebbs softly from the stage. She particularly loves Ria Mae and Amelia Curran, who express longing with intelligence and self-awareness in a way she understands. She likes dreamy happy music too, and sees Jenn Grant every chance she gets. Each year she saves up her muggle dollars to purchase an In the Dead of Winter festival pass. When she is annoyed with Ron, she cranks up a bootleg version of Carmen Townsend covering "Sabotage." In between classes, she curls up on a window seat with Crookshanks and dozes to her favourite album, Laura Peek's tart, thoughtful Key.

Sirius Black

As one of the hardest characters in the Potterverse, Sirius Black's musical preferences are appropriately heavy. However, he is also a man of refined tastes, and a fiercely independent streak draws him towards the experimental. At the Obey Convention, he would have gathered armloads. We imagine he spent his dozen-or-so years in Azkaban listening to bursts of noise, with Jerry Granelli's 1313 providing a percussive sense of urgency, and the harshness of Torso keeping him sharp. As his moment of escape arrived and he begins to transform into a bony black dog, Bloodhouse's "Grave Mind" rumbles in the background---menac-ing, low to the earth and a little ugly. As the dog winds through the cell bars and pounces through the night on a course to his godson, shattering black punk is on a loop in his brain---the sounds of Bad Vibrations and Slumlord. This music is too heavy for young magicians, but for a brooding and conflicted soul like Black, it's just right.

Severus Snape

There is very little about Severus Snape that isn't metal. Mocked by bullies as a child, tormented by unrequited love, he embraces the dark arts and starts rolling with Voldemort, which is basically the Hogwarts equivalent of saying "Hail Satan" and making devil horns. And while I know his redemptive qualities emerged later on, it's still fun to presume that during Snape's "evil" period, he unwound from a hard day's subterfuge with a goblet of elf-wine and a little Black Moor. Other local metal diversions for the sour headmaster might include Diminished Fifth Records' artists Orchid's Curse, the raining hellfire of Hellacaust and young bloods Obsydian, and I'd like to imagine Snape getting pumped for spell-casting with a little hard rock---namely, The Heelwalkers' "El Camino."

Luna Lovegood

Quirky earth child Luna loves Teenburger (the goofy/fanciful hip-hop collective featuring Ghettosocks, DJ Jorun and Timbuktu) and hitchhikes to the Evolve Festival each year to regale festival-goers with her roaring lion hats. She dances barefoot to The Caravan and Skratch Bastid. She would be a regular visitor to the Mellotones funk nights at The Seahorse on Thursdays, where she frequently mentions the "Crumple-Horned Snorkack," which everyone presumes is a euphemism for weed. She also loves Rich Aucoin shows because she can cast Patronus charms under the parachutes and no one blinks an eye.


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