Springingtiger's Blog

My Desert Island Discs


Ever since I was a child I have enjoyed listening to Desert Island Discs back then it was on the BBC Home Service which didn’t become Radio Four until the late Nineteen Sixties. Back then it was presented by its creator Roy Plomley, but for various reasons I was an infrequent listener. These days I listen most weeks. Since Roy Plomley’s retirement there have been several presenters the latest,Kirsty Young. However the program’s tried and tested formula remains unchanged. I think some of its appeal is the memories it evokes of the days when the radio gradually came to life and the valves within lit up the corner of the room, a time when radio stations didn’t have numbers but exotic names like Athlone and Hilversum and the BBC Stations I listened to were the Home Service and the Light Programme. There was a time when Radio was magical, it’s still frequently more entertaining than television.

The guests on Desert Island Discs are not just the usual cast of celebrities, but of leaders in their fields, many unknown to the general public. The guest chooses eight pieces of music that they would want with them if marooned on a desert island, pieces that have significance for them and as the program unfolds the presenter interviews them about their choices and so their life and careers are revealed to the listener. As well as their music they choose a book and a luxury, but most important is the music. I think as well as learning about the guest the listener is always left wondering what their own choices would be. I find my list of eight changes week by week. Were I asked today I think this would be my play list.

A new introduction would be Honey Bee by Steampunk Giraffe, who I have only recently discovered, but am going to see soon.

I would have to have at least one song from Indian Cinema. There are so many I love, but I think I will choose Ina Mina Dika by Kishore Kumar. Kishore Kumar is one of my heroes not only was he a singer, but also a songwriter, actor, writer and director, one of cinema’s great comedians.

I have to have at least one Johnny Cash song and I would generally choose Walk The Line because it makes me think of my wife.

And for my wife I would have to have an Elvis song as we both like him and have done for a lifetime. But what to choose, they are all so good (well perhaps some of the film songs are a bit naff.). If I only choose one I think I’ll take ‘In the Ghetto‘ because it reminds me of the underlying depths behind the facade presented by the films.

There has to be some Mozart. Again it’s so hard to choose so I’m going to plump for the Queen of the Night’s ariafrom The Magic Flute because it just leaves me awestruck.

There must be a Beatle song because they were such a big part of my childhood. There are so many songs, so different, it’s very difficult to choose one. I’ll go right off the wall and choose The Ballad of John and Yoko…no scratch that I’ll have…no, no…okay I’m going to choose the lyrical While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

Oh no only two left, what about The Mavericks, Dylan, Joan Baez, Chris James, Strauss (played by Andre Rieu)? I’m going to choose Hamish MacCunn’s The Land of the Mountain and the Flood because wherever I am it will remind me of Scotland.

My last choice after reflection is going to be Paul Robeson singing Joe Hill because Paul Robeson was one of my father’s favourites and Joe Hill is one of the greatest Socialist Anthems.

There are so many songs I love that ten minutes from now my list may change, but it’s always fun playing Desert Island Discs, why don’t you try to pick eight songs you must have in your life, and then give thanks that you are not limited to eight pieces of music?


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