My Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs is 70 this week. If you’re unfamiliar with the programme, it’s broadcast every Sunday on BBC Radio 4. Guests are interviewed about their life, and choose eight pieces of music, one book & one luxury they couldn’t live without if they were stranded on a desert island.


I was reading a blog post written by Jayne Howarth this afternoon, where she thought about what her choices would be, and it got me thinking – what would mine be?


Pachabel’s Canon has to be on the list. I walked down the aisle to this when I got married. It’s a deceptively simple piece of music that grows and develops the themes & instruments used. And it’s beautiful.

Prodigy – Breathe – here I agree with one of Jayne’s choices. As soon as I hear it, I’m a student, dancing my socks off at the union bar.

Blur – Parklife – another song that instantly evokes a memory of my sixth form years at school, and that whole period of Britpop.

Green Day – Basket Case – I am in the car with my friend, bombing down the Southport coast road, windows down on our way home from working at Southport Pleasureland. I was 18, between school & university, and it was SUCH a fun summer!

Elbow – One Day Like This – the violins swell. The back of my neck prickles. When the line “throw those curtains wide, one day like this a year would see me right” kicks in, it evokes such a vivid image of joy I’m blown away every single time.

A-Ha – Take On Me – my first musical loves. Morton Harkett *swoon*

Horrible Histories – Kings & Queens – an odd choice at first glance, but every time me and my family hear it, we join in, sing along and grin. Plus, it’s educational!

Mitch Benn – I’m Proud of the BBC – Mitch Benn wrote this when the BBC was under attack about whether it is value for money. The song lists all the amazing TV and Radio shows produced by the BBC – he makes it funny, rabble rousing and it does make me proud of the BBC. I cannot listen to it without smiling.


This is a difficult one, as I have eclectic reading tastes.

Jane Austen’s collected works? Shakespeare’s collected works?
The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkein?

In the end, I’ve gone for the collected works of Jasper Fforde – his books are funny, quirky, thought provoking, odd and smattered through with elements of all of the other books I thought about.

Luxury Item

This is tricky. Wine, chocolate, iPhone, kindle, laptop, husband all crossed my mind.

In the end, though, I can cope with nearly everything in life, even being stranded on a desert island, if I’ve slept well! So my luxury has to be my bed!

What would you take??

You can find Jayne Howarth on twitter.


4 thoughts on “My Desert Island Discs

  1. Nice choices! I can’t believe I didn’t think of AHa – there was also Duran Duran and Human League, both of which were essential to my teen years! I think I may have to revise my choices!

    (You already get the complete works of Shakespeare and the Bible with your books, so you can scratch the former from your list 🙂 )

  2. I love many kinds of music. As a 50’s teenager, I could have filled this with the earliest rock classics, but as the years go by one’s mood changes. I had a long Jazz phase during my early 20s (Monk, Coltrane etc) from listening to the VOA Jazz hour. First heard Streisand in ’64 and saw her on stage in Funny Girl (still got the program somewhere). Always been a Dylan fan. I won’t go on about the rest … here’s the list, which could change before I’m stranded.

    1) Dave Grusin – Mountain Dance
    2) Modest Mussorgsky – Pictures at an Exhibition (quite long at 32 minutes)
    3) Bob Dylan – Mr Tambourine Man
    4) Barbra Streisand – Have I stayed too long at the Fair?
    5) Weather Report – Birdland
    6) Lucinda Williams – Can’t let go
    7) Don Williams – She’s in love with a rodeo man
    8) Evelyn Glennie – Introduction & Rondo Capriccioso Op 28 (Saint-Saens

    As for books … always a hard choice, but I guess it has to be Walt Whitman’s collected works which would include his magnificent “Leaves of Grass” which I first heard Orson Wells read on the BBC back in the late 50s (and recently found an mp3 copy.

    My luxury item …. a telescope of course … those dark skies … Wow!

    • Hi Roger,

      Many thanks for the comment – a really interesting mix of music there, some new to me – will have to go and listen!

      Love the idea of a telescope – I hadn’t even considered that aspect. Those skies will be magnificent!

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