Thursday, 21 August 2014

Desert Island Discs in Yorkshire

Yes I know, posting your desert island discs is frivolous and shallow, but hey, I'm on holiday.  In Yorkshire, since you ask, for the walking, to help mend my leg. It's so cold for August I've had to buy warm clothes, even though I knew the summer clothes I would wear in Alsace would not do in Leeds. The tracks are in no particular order.

1. The Moody Blues, 'Nights in White Satin''. Tune of my teenage years, and I have never tired of it. One of the great swooning ballads of all time.

2. The Rolling Stones, 'Paint It Black'. It's not the greatest thing they have ever done, but I think it is the clearest and the most powerful. Most pop songs, rock anthems etc are not about death, or not entirely, even the girl-group tragedy ones (see below), but this one is.

3. The Hollies, 'Bus Stop'. A near-perfect pop song, with the then-great voice of Graham Nash.

4. The Shangri-Las, 'Remember'. The best of the girl groups. 'Rock Dreams', back in the day, called them "three schoolgirls in black leather". I love the pauses in this. I will never get tired of it as long as I live.

And now, moving a little nearer the present day:

5. Stromae, "Formidable". He sings only in French. The most famous Belgian. All human life is there. And every line is simple, as Brel was. "Tu etais formidable, j'etais fort minable".

Back again to the past:

6. Jacques Brel, "Amsterdam". A dead famous Belgian. He of course also sang only in French, but nobody asked about that then. A perfect chanson. "Comme des oriflammes, le long des berges mornes."

7. The Beatles, "Strawberry Fields For Ever". For the nonsense of it, though I suspect John Lennon took the words a little more seriously than I do.

8. Tom Lehrer, "The Periodic Table". Just because. No one else could.

A bit old, all these. And yet I like a lot of today's modern beat combos. I'm sure these favourites will change over time, but that is what I would take if I had to go today.

Book? To Kill A Mockingbird. (Tussle between that and Wuthering Heights, but the latter has too much property in it, which wouldn't really do on a desert island.)

Luxury item: Tussle between a supply of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream and pen and notebook to write with. The latter wins, by a whisker.

The one record I'd choose of them all? Difficult, but it's the Brel.

Just a bit of fun. You? Love to hear it.


Anonymous said...

1) Eric Clapton: The Way You Look Tonight

2) Bob Dylan: Positively Fourth Street

3) Leonard Cohen: Faded Blue Raincoat

4)REM: Losing My Religion

5) Adele: Someone like You

6) Joni Mitchell: A Case of You

7) The Eagles: One of these Nights

8) Crosby Stills Nash and Young: I almost Cut My Hair . Out of all these I would pick the Eric Clapton. As a luxury, _ yeah - snap! Pen and paper. As a book 'Emma' by Jane Austen.

Anonymous said...

One of the worst ever selections was by Ed Miliband last year. None were his choice - they were all the favourites of his wife, his friends and his heroes.
I would choose Lehrer, possibly a mathematical one, otherwise Joan Baez, John Betjeman (I come from Metroland), John Arlott, Scott Joplin, Schubert, one or two religious, and finishing with Sailing By (for the Shipping Forecast).

Anonymous said...

Snap Tony Blair did his, just before winning in 1997. And when it came to his book, he actually chose 'Heart of Midlothian'. NOBODY reader Walter Scott without dying of boredom. BUT - out of his eight records, there was ONE that was obviously his choice and clearly meant something to him - because it was NOT 'the usual'. It was REM's Midnight Swimmers'. And yes! I agree. Top record Tony.