For weeks I have been listening to the Desert Island Disc podcast library. I have listened to dozens of episodes so far and there are many more in my queue. This BBC Radio 4 show has been going for over 77 years!
The concept I don’t believe has changed during that time. You are going to be stranded on a desert island and…
- You pick 8 discs (that’s single songs, not albums…although some people have chosen poetry readings, a radio episode of their favourite show and Dame Judy Dench requested the BBC Radio 4 shipping forecast as one of her discs!)
- You are given a copy of the Bible, the complete works of Shakespeare and you may pick one other book.
- You are also allowed to pick a luxury. You aren’t allowed to pick a raft or boat! Ray Mears, survival expert, says you can use shells as knives, so you don’t need a knife! I seem to remember his luxury item was massive speakers to blast his songs out…so he obviously thinks you don’t need anything practical. You can’t take a person or animal.
Anyway, obviously listening to so many episodes it gets you thinking about what songs, book and luxury you’d want to take. I have come up with my list and I thought I’d post it here as a record of what I was thinking in 2019. Perhaps in years to come this will change, but here it is at the moment.
Song: The 2nd Law: Unsustainable
Why?: This may seem an odd choice but I love this song, it is like a dozen songs and styles in one, with choral, classical and electronic with some spoken words and some wacky bits at the end. It needs to be played full blast. My husband went to see Muse with his friend, so I tease him about how he went to see one of my favourite bands without me, so it would remind me of him.
Artist: Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman
Song: Come What May (from Moulin Rouge Soundtrackj
Why?: I love Ewan McGregor! The only fan mail I have ever written in my whole life was to him, to say how much I LOVED ‘The Long Way Round’ series, where he and Charley Boorman rode from London to New York. I have seen the whole series at least 25 times. I met Charley Boorman in Inverness, when he was giving a talk and when he put his arm around me for a photo, I thought…”that arm he’s hugging me with has hugged Ewan!!!” Why then have I not picked the theme tune to that series, sung by The Stereophonics? Well it isn’t sung by Ewan and I love singing along to Come What May at the top of my voice.
Artist: Nina Simone
Why?: I love her voice and part of my reason for picking this track of hers, is it is longer than most of her songs. This also reminds me of the movie The Thomas Crown Affair (the Pierce Brosnan version), this movie reminds me of the 90s and going to the cinema every week with my best friend at the time. So it sets me off down a rabbit warren of happy memories. Also I love the fast beat in the music and can imagine me doing some clapping and stomping and clicking and dancing away on the beach.
Artist: Barbra Streisand (with Bryan Adams)
Song: I finally found someone
Why?: Oh goodness this was a tough decision. In my music collection, by far the most albums I own are Barbra Streisand. I love her voice, love her choice of songs, duet partners, love her movies. I have so many memories that she evokes. Some sad, but mostly happy. In 1989 when I was 16 I was doing a Barbra Streisand appreciation session with my best pal Stephen in High School. I clearly remember us sitting on my bedroom floor and me playing various tracks to him of different cassettes and him hating them all. We lost touch and he died before he reached 40, just before our 25 year school reunion. If my husband and I had had a typical wedding/reception and had a first dance then I would have tried to persuade him to let us have this song. I thought about a song from Yentl, but I know all the lyrics to those and can sing them anyway…as I can with 90% of her songs!
Song: Princes of the Universe (from Highlander soundtrack)
Why?: I love Queen and hearing their songs evokes so many happy memories. My dad and Aunty Pauline are big fans, I mean who isn’t a fan. I had to pick something from the Highlander movie soundtrack, and listened to the album a few times back to back trying to whittle it down to one song, the song that came closest was Gimme the Prize. I first saw the movie Highlander when I was 13 years old, on the French exchange in La Rochelle and obviously it was in French! I thought what on earth is going on during this whole movie, then I got home and saw it at the cinema in English, then went to see it again. Then bought it on Video and wore it out I watched it sooooo many times, then bought it on DVD and now on Blu-Ray. After about 8 years of living in the Highlands it occurred to me that probably the reason the Highlands felt so much like home, was because I had watched the movie easily 200 times!!
Artist: Peter Gabriel (and The New Blood Orchestra)
Song: San Jacinto
Why?: I knew I wanted a song from this album as I never ever get bored of listening to it. I was tempted to pick ‘The Intruder’ or ‘Darkness’ off the same album, but thought alone on a desert island I may spook myself too much listening to it, but I love those songs. As I’m writing this I am listening to the New Blood album it is on…so many brilliant tunes on this album…arrgghhh decisions decisions. My husband bought me the Blu-ray of New Blood Live in London, which is his concert in 3D, plus 2D and DVD, so I can play it basically on all the TVs. Full blast on surround sound system is fantastic. Peter Gabriel reminds me of being young and listening to my sister playing his So album, she has no recollection of owning it! My husband and I went to see his 25th Anniversary tour of the So album. Fantastic singer and the lyrics are so beautiful.
Song: Bring Me To Life
Why?: This may seem like a wacky choice, in comparison to my previous easy listening tunes! I feel I would need a song to seriously rock out to, scream at the top of my lungs along to and Evanescence is about as heavy as my taste gets. Whilst I love the songs ‘Lithium’ and ‘Tournique’ I thought they aren’t really going to fit the purpose, as the lyrics are a bit gloomy, although I do love them. I have 2 of their albums and it was hard to pick the right song because once I start playing them I am singing along to them all. But this one seems a good one for a desert island.
YouTube (this video has 611 million views!!!!! By far the most of my 8 songs.)
Artist: José González
Song: Stay Alive (from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty soundtrack)
Why?: He has a beautiful voice, these are beautiful lyrics, it’s from one of my top 5 favourite movies and I can imagine listening to this whilst lying on the sand looking up at the blue skies and watching clouds going by. The only thing I don’t like about this song is how quickly it ends!
They always ask, if you could only save one disc from washing away what would it be!!!! Oh my this is so hard. It seems an impossible choice, but I guess I will save ….Stay Alive…I think because the lyrics would help me get up, open my eyes and see a new day rise and help me stay alive.
Author: Pam Ayres
Why?: I have always loved Pam Ayres poems since I was a child. I had the pleasure of meeting her after a talk she gave in Inverness. I brought along my falling apart copy of her book of Children’s poems that I had since I was about 11, about the only thing I have left from being that age. She kindly signed it. I told her which of her poems was my favourite (Heaps of Stuff) and some weeks later I heard her on the radio and she mentioned and read this poem! Now she wrote that poem 30 odd years earlier so I like to think it was me who reminded her about it. I thought this would be better than a novel, as I can try to learn the poems by heart.
Item: Lifetime supply of yarns with interchangeable needles.
Why?: The host allowed someone to have things to make coffee with including sugar and milk, so hopefully ‘knitting stuff’ counts as one luxury. Worst case I could make some knitting needles from sticks or make yarn from coconut fibre! But I think she’d allow both.