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:
- 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.
- 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
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!