Singer and songwriter of 1990s band Catatonia, Cerys Matthews now presents a popular show on BBC Radio 6 Music, but what would happen if Cerys ruled the world?

Forms would fill themselves in automatically...

I suppose most people hate them—except accountants, perhaps. 
 

Every child would leave primary school able to make soup and sew a pencil case...

Of course children must be educated in the core subjects, but I’d add other things to the curriculum like cooking, sewing, woodwork, singing and dancing, so children can find their unique talent. I’d also get rid of bad teachers instantly and put the best ones into positions of responsibility—then let them have a say in the bureaucracy of education.
 

I’d tax any music tainted by Auto-Tune...

Auto-Tune is pitch-correction software that nowadays is used by at least 90 per cent of recordings—to me, it’s the death of the natural voice. It makes everyone sound the same. Children believe that people actually sing that perfectly, but it’s really the sound of machines. I’d like everyone to appreciate all different types of voices, so any effects that remove the human input of music would be heavily penalised. If Bob Dylan or Neil Young, with their remarkable ways of singing, were starting out today, they’d find it hard to get airplay.
 

I’d bring in neighbourhood days and communal barbecue areas...

We’ve lost a sense of community in this country, yet it’s so important. Neighbours move in, but we never welcome or get to know them. Distrust and resentment build up over silly things. If I had my way, once a month from May to September everyone would come together over the barbecue and round a fire with live music and dancing, and have a rousing singalong. People could share their recipes and the old dances and songs that mean so much to them, unlocking memories and bringing everyone in the community together. And because I ruled the world, I could choose a sunny day and let everyone know they could down sticks and not go to work—instead they’d get out there and start the meat roasting.

I’d create a one-click payment system for small businesses...

One of the reasons Amazon is so convenient is that you only have to put your credit-card details in once. But if all small businesses got together and used a similar one-click system, it’d be just as easy to support them. I’d tax Amazon properly, but I’d give greater tax relief to small businesses, so they could compete on price too. 

Town horticulture would be encouraged...

My grandfather lived in a local-authority flat and, nearby on the council land, all along the verges and central reservations, he grew flowers and vegetables. I’d tell councils they must let people do the same so that local children appreciate how vegetables are grown and no land goes to waste. Imaginative use of spare land to make urban market gardens is common practice in Cuba, where people have a share in the profits and eat healthily at the same time.

I’d open swap shops...

Where people bring things they don’t need any more and simply exchange them for something they do. No one wants just to throw away stuff when someone else might get lots more use from it, like all those non-biodegradable plastic toys you accumulate when you have kids. The shops would be like a permanent, free car-boot sale. 

I’d ensure town planning seeks to bring communities together...

Luton is an example of town planning gone wrong and, although I love it because my husband’s from there, it’s very ugly with a high crime rate. Something as simple as putting a road in the wrong place can destroy communities at a stroke and breed gang culture. Much more thought needs to go into bringing people together, not driving them apart.

Everyone would have a real fire in their home, burning special nonpolluting fuel...

There’s something about a fire that’s good for the soul. Instead of watching TV every night, you’d curl up in front of it to tell stories or read. It would make our winters a lot easier to bear. 

Read more articles by Caroline Hutton here

Related Posts