One bonobo's view of the world...and stuff.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Desert Island Bonobo

Yukanian readers will need no explanation of this, but for thems as is fortunate to live in the more salubrious nations, Desert Island Disks, now featuring the frankly hot Kirsty Young, is a venerable BBC Radio institution. Guests talk about their lives and pick eight records they’d like to be marooned with on a desert island. You’re also given The Bible* and The Complete Works of Shakespeare, and you get to choose one more book. Plus a luxury. The luxury can’t have a practical use and can’t be a person (eg I couldn't ask for Kirsty).

Here’s mine. Feel free to follow suit. Remember – the name of the game isn’t to show off with hippest, funkiest selection you can, or even necessarily your indispensable records (how tricky would that be?!). Rather it’s to choose records that say something about your personality and/or life history. There’s a couple more unofficial rules:

  1. If you’re a boring politician or Captain of Industry, you have to choose a Beatles song to show how hip and trendy you are.
  2. If you’ve chosen lots of bland pop and show tunes, you have to ring a clever mate and get them to tell you the name of something classical.

The most famous selection was when Maria Callas chose eight of her own records. But my favourite was JK Galbraith. He said he was tone death and had absolutely no interest in music, so he’d got a few people to choose for him.

Then there was the story Decca Mitford* tells (in one of her letters). Her sister Diane was married to the fascist Oswald Moseley (Elvis Costello wrote ‘Less Than Zero’ after seeing her on TV), so Decca never spoke to her again. Diane was invited onto Desert Island Disks, unfortunately originally scheduled for Yom Kippur, so rescheduled after complaints…to Holocaust Memorial Day. So she goes on and talks about how Oswald was never rally an anti-semite, and how Hitler had such lovely blue eyes. At he end she’s being put in a cab. The cabbie’s told, “Lady Moseley is going to the Ritz”. He shouts back, “Not in my bleedin’ cab she ain’t!”

Soooo…for better or worse, here's mine*** (with links to where you can hear samples)…

I'm In Love With Jacques Derrida - Scritti Politti

This Charming Man – The Smiths

Summertime in England – Van Morrison

I’ll Wear It Proudly – Elvis Costello and the Confederates

Both Sides The Tweed – Dick Gaughan

Cinnamon Girl (live) – Neil Young and Crazy Horse

Pressure Drop – Toots and the Maytals

Death Letter – The White Stripes

Book: I’d like to think I could manage Ulysses, but I might not like it, so The Collected Poems of Norman McCaig

Luxury: A programmable electric massage chair.

This is totally against the rules, but I can’t resist revealing one that was bubbling under, ‘cause I know you’ll enjoy a good laugh at my expense:

Bat Out Of Hell – Meatloaf.

* Oh, good. Toilet paper's likely to be scarce.

**Must blog on her one day. She was a gem!

*** I have to say, once I'd decided I was havering way too much, my final selection surprised me. It's not the list I'd have picked for myself!


Edward the Bonobo said...

Test - can I post a comment here?

Polonius said...

In the spirit of the original radio programme, I thought I'd explain some of the reasoning behind some of the choices.

Early in our relationship, SWMBO and I had a couple of minor bonding through adversity incidents: burst pipes, that sort of thing, usually at "four in the morning, the end of December", so we had to adopt as "our song":

Famous Blue Raincoat - Leonard Cohen

For a while, I had to live in England. As the time came to return home, I often listened to:

Caledonia - Dougie Maclean

(Arguably Frankie Miller did it better, but his version always reminds me of cold piss!)

There's some doubt over the events that led up to the surrender in St. Valery on 12th June 1940: was it a cynical ploy on the part of Churchill to keep the French in the war, was it incompetence on the part of de Gaulle, or was it simply the effective application of the new tactics of blitzkrieg? Whatever the cause, there's no doubt that the troops who surrendered there bought enough time to allow the effective evacuation at Dunkerque, without which the British Army would have been destroyed, and a Nazi invasion of Britain would have been a very real possibility. Yet they were forgotten - No stories, no statues for those that were killed, no honours for those that were caught/ Just a deep sense of shame as though we were to blame, though I knew in my heart we were not. So wrote the late great Davy Steele:

The Beaches of St. Valery - Battlefield Band

Three legends for the price of one: the subject, writer and singer of:

Tribute to Woody - Christy Moore

This next one wasn't the first single I ever bought (that would be Blockbuster by Sweet), but it was the reason behind the first album I bought. I think it's stood the test of time rather well, and the tinkly piano bits are probably the best thing Rick Wakeman's ever done:

Life on Mars - David Bowie

Next is a tribute to friendship. It's a corny idea, but I'm a sentimental git. There's a couple of Simon and Garfunkel classics that could fill that role, but Carole King just doesn't get the recognition she deserves:

You've Got a Friend - James Taylor

Somehow I managed to get through most of my life without ever being aware of Nick Drake. When I first heard him, I was reminded of John Martyn, so it came as no surprise when I learnt that this was dedicated as a tribute to Nick Drake:

Solid Air - John Martyn

For that token classical piece, I'd like some gentle piano music. A Chopin prelude, perhaps? No, how about this (which I can just about squeeze out of an alto sax):

Gymnopedie No.1 - Erik Satie

Book: Something with "The Complete" in the title. There isn't enough reading in "The Complete Far Side", and I couldn't choose between "The Complete Yes, Minister" and "The Complete Yes, Prime Minister", so it'll have to be The Penguin Complete Sherlock Holmes.
Luxury: My 20" Pashley muni - I will learn to ride it one day!

healingmagichands said...

Hmm. Interesting question. My eight records:
1. Beethoven's 9th Symphony, Seiji Ozawa and the London Symphony
2. Roy Rogers: Rhythm & Groove
3. Micky Hart: Planet Drum/Drumming on the Edge of Magic
4. Bob James & Earl Klugh: One on One
5. The Eagles: Hell Freezes Over
6. Beatles: Sgt Pepper
7. Grateful Dead: One from the Vault
8. David Grisman: Hot Dawg

Book: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: The Complete Sherlock Holmes

Luxury: 10" Dobsonian reflecting telescope

azahar said...

My mind always goes blank when I try to think of any top 'limited number' of favourite things. Perhaps I'll try a bit later.

The real reason I'm here is to say that I can't leave a comment on Flaming Pie because it only allows comments by people with blogger accounts. Is this intentional?

Now off to stick this word thingy in six times - grrrr...

azahar said...

Edward, I'm testing something here so please feel free to delete this comment.

Jarl von Hoother said...

ok, my 8 records just off the top of my head -
1. Queen - Radio Ga-Ga
2. Rolling Stones - Ruby Tuesday
3. Beach Boys - Sloop John B
4. Bob Dylan - Mr Tambourine Man
5. Beethoven - 9th Symphony
6. Beatles - Penny Lane
7. Bryn Terfel - Men of Harlech
8. Elton John - Daniel
Book choice:
100 Stories by O Henry
Luxury item:
Writing materials

Recumbentman said...

Fascinating. Don't know a single one of your songs, Ed.

A few small typos: it's Desert Island Discs dear, not Disks. Tsk tsk. And I think J K Galbraith was tone deaf, like my dad, not tone death. (Delete this when you're done, thanks!)