Desert Island Discs – the fantasy


In 1942 the BBC began broadcasting Desert Island Discs. If you have never heard it, the format is simple: if you were cast away on a desert island, which 8 ‘gramaphone’ records would you want to have with you? What would be your luxury (not something that would help you survive)? What would be your book? The Bible and Shakespere are magically supplied (in more recent times, the religion of the castaway is taken into consideration and the Bible is not always on offer – the most appropriate holy book is made available).

It’s a biographical programme – the castaway tells their life and professional story. Some are show-biz stars, others are notable scientists, business people and sometimes (but all the more rarely now, sadly) people who you have never heard of, but have a remarkable story. In the last 5 or 10 years it has become the place of the great, good and already famous. But it is a great prohramme.

Being a guest in Desert Island Discs is a bit like (but probably better than) getting a Knighthood from the Queen. So the chances of you and me being invited on are miniscule. And we don’t have an agent or PR  company to promote us.

In the connected ‘everyone can join in’ world we now live in, we can in part live the Desert Island Disc fantasy and submit our 8 discs (which are not discs anymore – more likey m4a’s or MP3’s). Here

Better still – and this is a revolution you just haven’t noticed – they are making all the programmes they can available as downloads to keep. I won’t go into how revolutionary this is – but it is a massive progression to be talked about at another time.

So I chose my 8 tonight. Frankly – it was fairly unplanned and I suppose if I were to do it again, there would be differences. 

I’m delighted to announce I choose several pieces that no one else had.

You’d expect that with Rudi’s Big Time. But no-one has ever picked Rory Gallagher? Perhaps their archive just hasn’t reached that. No one ever picked Thin Lizzy?

But amazingly someone (James Galway of all people) did pick my top choice. Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother. That will give us something to chat about when we meet.

Rudi’s Big Time is my favourite single – and chosing AHM above it was not easy. But If I had to listen to just one piece for months or years, it would have to be AHM. I carry Big Time around in my head all the time and don’t need to hear it on a gramophone (one of the other rules is after naming 8 you have to plump for 1).

Then it’s all a bit blurry. I’m not sure of the order of the rest. You have to have some Thin Lizzy – and that has to be The Cowboy Song.


And no one has ever selected Lizzy -nor Rory Gallagher which shocks me. Deciding on one Rory is harder than one Lizzy, but to my surprise I went for an accoustic mandolin song rather than a classic Fender solo.

I really like John Adams – but I really don’t like Nixon in China which DID guests have chosen. But I went for Short Drive in a Fast Machine.

Being from where I’m from it is required I list Teenage Kicks – which is no problem – just like Bill Bailey and John Peel did.


Boys of Summer was next as far as I can remember. It has been difficult to find a video of that on YouTube but in the last few months this dodgy copy has been posted.

So – all the tunes I could have but room fo only one. What would make me happy? What tune do I not have at home but really should?

The it struck me:

Thank you and goodnight – maybe I really should have made this my number 1






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