August 2, 2011

My desert island discs

I recently discovered the BBC Radio podcast of Desert Island Discs thanks to Pip of Meet Me At Mike's. Since then, I've spent many hours listening to some of my favourite UK peeps chat about the eight songs they'd want to have with them if they happened to be stranded on a desert island. The podcast archive, which goes all the way back to mid-1998, is a treasure trove of forgotten treasures, oddities and sentimental faves - hours and hours of fun for the writer avoiding writing avid listener..

Of course, a few episodes in, after listening to selections by Morrissey and JK Rowling and Betty Jackson, I found myself making a list of my own...

1. Ask - The Smiths
Almost impossible to choose just one Smiths song since they were pretty much the soundtrack of my miserable adolescence, but this one always cheered me up a little bit.

2. A New England - Kirsty MacColl
Kirsty MacColl's voice + Billy Bragg's lyrics = a match made in heaven.

3. Crying - Roy Orbison with k.d. lang
This song was on the jukebox of a cafe I spent pretty much every weekday morning and afternoon at for the last two years of school. The day Roy Orbison died we played it over and over and wept. I still find it good for inducing the occasional cathartic cry!

4. The Lovecats - The Cure
An obvious choice for a cat nerd, I guess.

5. God Only Knows - The Beach Boys
The song I always wanted someone to dedicate to me.

6. The Saturday Boy - Billy Bragg
And 'lalalalalalalalala' means 'I love you'. Sigh.

7. Take My Heart - Soko
I first heard this on a soppy day and it stuck.

8. Remember You're a Womble - The Wombles
I have very fond memories of toddling along next to my dad, singing this together.

Now comes the really hard bit, as well as your eight songs you also get to choose one book and one 'luxury item' to take to the island. The book's an easy choice. I'd take My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell, because every time I re-read it, it makes me laugh as much as it did the first time (and the natural history bits may come in handy). The luxury item is harder. Perhaps a hammock? At least then I could listen to my songs and read my book in comfort...


  1. Great post Aimee! I think my choices would be pretty similar to yours. I recently reread "My Family & Other Animals" -- still a great read and more lyrical than I remembered.

    Definitely hammock.

  2. me too! "ask" always cheers me up the same way "panic" makes me dance.

    eeps. that tartan maternity romper suit is ... interesting.

    she's just gorgeous kirsty maccoll and i love that billy bragg sings the third verse when he performs "a new england" at his shows and always mentions her. but i think i like him singing it better. is that terrible?

  3. Panic was my #2 Smiths pick :) (A few years ago it would have been How Soon Is Now, but not since it was used as a TV feemtoon.)

    I actually think A New England has more meaning when Billy sings it - esp. the line about the pedestal - but I heard Kirsty's version first (on SBS's Rock Around the World, back in the days before Rage) so it's a sentimental fave. (And yes, the tartan romper is a shocker, but it was 1985 - the year I myself sported a natty pair of high-waisted, pleated tartan trousers to the year 7 social - so I can't be too critical!)