Desert Island Discs

Listening to Jack Dee On Desert Island Discs this morning I was struck how genuine he seemed. He wasn’t playing mind games with Kirsty Young and attempted – it felt to me – to answer her questions with candour. He said he chose his discs with the idea in mind that he couldn’t imagine never hearing them again. Interesting. His selection was not particularly memorable. Some Bob Dylan, Bob Newhardt, the theme to Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads… none of them appeal to me much but they shed light on his world.

Less classical music is played these days and many of today’s guests choose ‘light’ music which is meaningful to them. Likewise Kirsty asks more probing questions, so the programme has a more confessional tone. We feel we get to know the guests better, in the same way that a person’s bookshelves tell yo something about them, their music is revelatory.

Which eight discs would I choose? I have asked this question of myself many times, and driven my family nuts with it.  Because it changes: what I choose today, I wouldn’t tomorrow. Music has associations. If I were thinking of family, I would choose Cole Porter for my father, or should that be Kinderzenen?

Or maybe The Grand Old Duke of York which he played for my grandson William on Tuesday. Him doing this for me is one of my earliest memories. For my mum I would choose The Dream of Gerontius with Janet Baker whose voice I know she loves. For Lydia, so many tunes to choose from, but maybe some Shania – Feel like a woman? All those Sunday lunchtimes belting it out while the roasties were cooking.

But these are my tunes. Not theirs. No matter how meaningful the association may be, this music would be for me. What I could not imagine ever hearing again?

Up there must be Dido’s Lament, either by Jeff Buckley or Alison Moyet.

I first heard this piece in the car several years ago on a programme called Soul Music. It moved me so much I stopped the car and wept.

Another choice would be Simple Gifts:

I don’t go for the pics much but Alison Krauss sings so well.

I get stuck around here at two discs because memories begin interfering and I start attaching songs to people. Which is fine, but like this blog, it’s all about me. Cue McFly.

Anyhow this started me looking at my cd collection which sits neglected in a corner of my kitchen. Which of these tunes have lasting appeal? I can’t remember some of them. So I thought I’d play my way through a few – easier than reading all the books you own and haven’t read, or finished : should be only an hours investment for each cd.

So this morning in between hoovering I played Horslips, an Irish folk band which Mr T introduced me to in Liverpool all those years ago and it (and he) seemed so exotic, energetic and edgy. But when I listened to it this morning the energy was still there but the music sounded innocent and untutored. I confess I didn’t make it to the end of the cd.  I then listened to Eagles Greatest Hits. Hotel California and Take it to the Limit still stand out but that cd remained unfinished too. I just don’t have the staying power. I don’t think I’d be bothered if I never heard them again. So I’ll keep on thinking. And listening.

Rather than being tied to the past and its associations, maybe it’s preferable to be open to what’s happening right now, so in my Youtube search this morning I came across this.

Fitting today as this time last year Helen and I were halfway through the Camino and at our lowest, hungriest and coldest point. Eating, or not eating, snail risotto and rice soup.  But a few days later we had bought our longjohns and things felt better.   Who knows what’s round the next corner? Another corner. Another song.