My favourite thing is Desert Island Discs - I absolutely love it! I listen to one every time I do my pilates and it just carries me through the exertion. I know therefore that it's not exactly 'mindful' exercise practise, but I allow myself this incongruence because it's very therapeutic listening and I've found I do twice as much pilates nowadays. I must have listened to four archive desert island discs today - mind you only one session of pilates!
I love the biographical nature of it - the high points, low points and turning points of a person's life, the significant moments and epiphanies. In a succinct three quarters of an hour one lifetime is distilled to the defining chapters told with several abridged stories. Often poignant, frankly revealing and always surprising, a life synopsis with its own personal soundtrack.
I'm fascinated by the potential finality of being castaway, there's barely a glint of hope of being rescued. Whatever music you chose would have to be repeated endlessly, you are risking becoming sick of it. If you were limited to just one on a desert island miles away from anyone or anything....which music could you not live without that could be listened to death? What book could you re-read several times? Would you take that lengthy tome you always meant to read but never had the time or want a book you already know and love? And what would be your luxury item?
I love to indulge myself by jotting my list of eight discs down.... it frequently changes but a few of them are always on it.
I've loved this forever, my wonderful ample Italian godfather would sing this at family gatherings. To hear this on the island would of course give me another chance to dance and I would feel the comfort and love of my family who I'm sure to be missing.
Tricky one this one as it is the tune of the pinnacle of my 'love' life, I never felt more happy than when this played when I was in my early 20's when I was in love and carefree. It's so powerful I can barely listen to it now - but castaway - I might be able to face it.
The beginning of What's Goin' On - has special power for me as it rescued me once in India in 1993. Everything had gone shit and I felt totally hopeless however I put on this album and it completely restored me. Still works to this day.
My Book Choice - something by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Love in the Time of Cholera or One Hundred Years of Solitude. I love his prose - it's just so perfect you swim in the words.
My Luxury item - Earl grey tea and a pot of marmite? - well that's all I ever needed in my travelling days. What about the complete archive of Desert Island Discs to listen to... would I be allowed that? or a prop man's comprehensive kit would be great - failing that, a decent knife, for hunting, cooking and whittling should do me!!
I tend to chose which Desert Island Discs to listen to quite randomly, not always chosing people I know and like, often the most interesting are the people I know nothing about. The poet, Lemn Sissay was particularly exceptional, what a man and with such a extraordinary story and a brilliant positive spirit. He has my utmost respect. He is a excellent poet and after listening, I now have a very better understanding of the special quality of poetry.
After the great starman himself, David Bowie left earth last Monday, the I obviously went to see if he'd been castaway. Sadly for all of us Bowie never did Desert Island Discs, so we never got his special forty- five minutes. So instead, for last week I chose to listen to all the castaways that had chosen a Bowie track. I was so saddened by his death and surprised at how devastated I felt. On the day his death was announced I listened to the radio - torn between BBC6 Music with Lauren Laverne and my long time favourite Robert Elms on BBC London. I heard Bowie track after Bowie track, I felt a connection to so many of them, so many chapters of my life punctuated by his music. Young Americans, Fame, Rebel Rebel, Starman, Life on Mars and Absolute Beginners were a few of my all time favourite Bowie tunes.
R I P Bowie x
Desert Island Discs was conceived in 1942 by Roy Plomley. It is a totally brilliant concept for a radio programme - no wonder it has such longevity, it's genius. Do leave your desert island discs in the comments!