Sunday, 5 June 2011

Desert Island Discs

Radio Four has apparently been inviting listeners to submit their own eight choices, a selection of which is to be broadcast next weekend.  For all sorts of reasons I didn't participate, and wouldn't have anyway, as I don't really want my life in music to be diluted into a snippet of a ninety-minute radio show, however well-intentioned.  But here, I can waste an evening self-indulging, in the knowledge that I am boring only my few readers rather than the entire population of the planet.  So, in no particular order, here goes:

Small Hours, by John Martyn.  Eight minutes and forty seconds of exquisite understated guitar and effect pedal work, guaranteed to send you into a delightful soporific haze.

Trying To Get To You, by Elvis Presley.  This hit me in the eyes, guts and hormones when I was fifteen.  And the vocal break at the end of the middle eight is his best ever singing performance.

A Song Of The Weather, by Flanders and Swann.  Although I didn't get some of the more sophisticated jokes on 'At The Drop Of A Hat', the album (Parlophone PMC1033, accept no substitutes) woke me up to the idea of wittiness, at the same time that Tom Lehrer did.  I could have chosen any track really.

Concierto de Aranjuez, Rodrigo.   I was tempted to submit Miles Davis's great reinterpretion on 'Sketches of Spain', but I needed some proper classical guitar.  Any version will do, mine is by John Zaradin.

I Want You, by Bob Dylan.  Specifically the live version on the 'At Budokan' album from 1978, where he gives us a slow, heartfelt version of one of his loveliest love songs.

I Saw Her Standing There, by The Beatles.  Well, they moulded a great chunk of my youth, so they had to be on my island.  And it's worth it just for Lennon's brilliantly knowing line "she was just seventeen, you know what I mean ..."

A Love Supreme, by John Coltrane.  Just out of thanks that it exists.

Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart, by the Coasters.  Want to go to bed feeling exuberant?


  1. Fabulous selection but I don't know the John Martyn track. Will do tomorrow though.
    Trying to get to you... yes... the same... but I was only 10! Maybe the hormones less so? Mine then would have also been I want you I need you I love you but honest, it was the sound, not the words. 10 year olds were so much younger then, they're older than that now.

  2. This programme has revived completely with the lovely and perceptive Kirsty Young. Your list sounds a lot more genuine than most which are chosen for effect.
    I'd have gone for John Martyn "Cooltide" and Bob Dylan "Love Minus Zero". Now I'm sounding like Roger Waters.

  3. A Love Supreme is one of "my favourite thing" .... of John Coltrane, superb sax and exquisite drums!

  4. Oh dear. I feel like a child shivering in the cold outside, pressing its nose against the window-pane, wishing it could get into the warmth inside. Is it too late, do you think?

  5. Runs off to make a list...

  6. Have I started something here? How about we all rent a big virtual desert island and bring along our own lists. The DID rules don't say anything about there only being one inhabitant, do they?

  7. John Martyn: May you never

    The Coasters: Sh Boom life could be a dream.

    Edin Karamazov: Koyunbaba Op. 19. Carlo Domeniconi.

    Eduardo Sainz de la Maza: La muerte.

    Minor Swing: Django Reinhardt.

    Dougie MacLean: California.

    Marc Knopler: Local Hero theme

    Ennio Morricone: Gabriel's Oboe

  8. OK so here it is for anyone to use:
    Discs I Desire

  9. I've done mine on Soaring's new blog!!!

  10. Of course, I now have to write my B list, just in case I get wrecked on the wrong island. Oh well, nothing on the box 2nite. Number one - um - 'Days' by Kirsty McColl?
    There do seem to be a lot of Kirstys around at the moment.

  11. Jolly good choices. I'm torn, now between Flanders and Swann and Tom Lehrer. Think I'll have to go for the latter out of loyalty.

  12. I can't believe I wrote California...I meant CALEDONIA. I'll get started on a B list...