Desert Island Discs (BBC Radio 4) is a nice concept but I don’t listen. The concept is this: a celebrity is invited to choose eight significant pieces of music, a favourite book and a luxury item. All these would be the only cultural things allowed them on a desert island. (I think there was also The Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare at one time, just to eliminate those from the lists of less imaginative guests, but I’m not sure if either is still included. Never mind.)
The reason I don’t listen is simply because I don’t like celebrity interviews; I prefer musicians to play, actors to perform and politicians to talk politics. But I do have a curiosity about what these people listen to and what it says about their knowledge and tastes in music. So the good thing about the Beeb and this show is they bung up their guests’ music choices on the website so you can find out their musical tastes without having to endure twenty minutes or more of them babbling about themselves.
I’m telling you this because the Beeb has sent me an email notification about their current programming and it included a link for Desert Island Discs – and I had almost forgotten about it.
Anyway, I clicked on the emailed link out of curiosity and soon found out that the listeners’ most popular piece of music is Ralph Vaughan-Williams’ The Lark Ascending. Brilliant!
I think in the unlikely event of being invited on DID myself, one of my choices would be The Lark Ascending. (I haven’t a Scooby what my other seven choices would be – far too difficult, far too many contenders.)
I read a biography on the late BBC disc jockey, John Peel, and he claims to have first heard Teenage Kicks, by The Undertones, whilst driving. So overcome with emotion was he that he stopped the car and wept. Well, I didn’t weep when I heard The Lark Ascending in my car one time, but I did have an urge to pull over.
Hmm, now what about those other seven pieces? It’s bad enough shortlisting seven artists’ or composers’ names without going further and selecting individual songs!
Thinking about island castaways reminded me of a book I read years ago – An Island To Oneself, by Tom Neale, a survivalist. I must have been still in school and the book came into my possession through my mum who found it at work. It was a real, life Robinson Crusoe tale although Neale chose to live alone on his island. It fascinated me at the time and now I feel like reading it again.
But it’s a book which is out of print and Amazon marketplace are offering copies for over thirty quid! I think I must have given mine to a charity shop. There isn’t even an ebook option. Hopefully, in time, in this century, all books, whether in or out of print, will have an ebook option, inexpensive and accessible.
In the meantime, I’ll have to keep my peepers open around the charity shops.
The People’s DID – The Lark Ascending (BBC)
Wheat Field With A Lark by Vincent van Gogh, 1887