My Desert Island Discs

Saturday 1438 – 5th January 2013

Last week I wrote a very serious post called Power to the Women of the World if you haven’t read it I hope you will as it’s an important subject. You can read it here

I’ve spent all day cleaning all the carpets in my house with a pressurised hot water machine.. Marvellous and exhausting.. I appreciate that it might be rather boring to write anything but that one sentence about carpet cleaning so I’m sure you’ll be glad to hear that!! 

So instead a bit of fun and at the end I invite you to join in.

This week I’ve been thinking about what music/book/ luxury I might bring if I found myself castaway on a Desert Island. Now for those of you in foreign climes who haven’t got the faintest idea what on earth I’m talking about here’s an except from Wikipedia

“Guests are invited to imagine themselves cast away on a desert island, and to choose eight pieces of music, originally gramophone records, to take with them; discussion of their choices permits a review of their life. Excerpts from their choices are played or, in the case of short pieces, the whole work. At the end of the programme they choose the one piece they regard most highly.

They are then asked which book they would take with them; they are automatically given the Complete Works of Shakespeare and either the Bible or another appropriate religious or philosophical work.  Guests also choose one luxury which must be inanimate and of no use in escaping the island or allowing communication from outside.” 

The radio programme was devised and originally presented by Roy Plomley with the first programme going out 29 January 1942.. yes 1942 !!  and it’s still going strong.

So I’m going to tell you what my 8 choices of music are ( VERY hard to choose) book and luxury (I wonder if you can guess what that might be? ) though I’m not going to give you my life story!

 As I’m not clever with video stuff and haven’t got a clue how to embed a video, and certainly don’t have the inclination to learn tonight, I am going to do my choices as a serious of photos. If you click on each one it will open a separate window with the song/piece of music on YouTube.  

They’re in no particular order though after doing this I noticed that a lot of my choices are inspirational in some way.. interesting that!.. and I think the choice is quite different from the everyday music I might listen to or dance to.. very, very different..

Enjoy 😀

1)  Something Inside so Strong – Labi SiffreThis inspirational song always makes me feel uplifted; the words so meaningful speaking of all men being equal. “Because there’s something inside so strong  and I know that I can make it”

end racism thru unity

2)  Imagine John Lennon – I couldn’t leave this off  the list as it had a lasting impact on me. The words have just as much resonance today as they had when John wrote the song. Sadly John’s dream of  “Someday the world will be as one” seems far away at first, however social media actually gives the opportunity for more unity which must be taken.


3)  Daisy Bell was written in 1892. No! I’m not that old, thank you! The reason why it’s in this list is because it reminds me of my daughter.  Katy didn’t like to sleep at night and for some reason, as I was pushing her in a pushchair to try to get her back off to sleep, I used to sing “Daisy, Daisy give me your answer do, I’m half crazy all for the love of you” etc. I have no idea how it started but it has a certain rhythm to it which fits with pushing a pushchair forward and pulling it back. It still acts as a great stress buster for me and for her too I think.


4)  Summer Breeze – Isley Brothers .The Isley Brother’s version was released as a single in 1974 when I was 20.. It always makes me think of happy summer days ( though I’m not at all sure I’d really need to be reminded of that on a desert island ! )  I love the guitar solo !

summer breeze

5)  At Last – Etta Jameswhat a voice, power, sensuality.. she sings like she really means it. It speaks of Love and would remind me of that wonderful feeling when I’d be all alone.


6)  You’ll never walk alone – 3 Tenors version.  This is in because it’s the Liverpool Football Club fan’s anthem and it reminds me of my son Steven who supported Liverpool through thick and thin.. though I notice his interests have waned a little recently in favour of American sports… hmmm . It’s also here because it’s the only way I could fit the 3 Tenors in and because I have so admired the love and persistence of the families of the 96 fans killed in the Hillsborough disaster in their long fight for truth and justice.  Those things so important to me.

anfield - you'll never walk alone sign on the gates

7) Don’t Worry be Happy – Bobby McFerrinjust the kind of song to have on a desert island to remind me that worrying wouldn’t help, as it also doesn’t off the desert island ! and a nice bit of reggae beat to dance to!

don't worry be happy

8) What a  Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong  – Just because it is.. a wonderful world !

what a wonderful world

There were a handful of these that were immediate choices but deciding on the others was more difficult as there were many I could have chosen and tomorrow some would be different and maybe the next day too!

The one I would have to take with me would be.. Oh dear which one !! Ummm ummmm. I think Labi Siffre’s Something Inside so Strong to give me inspiration and remind me of my inner strength.

The Book – I am going to cheat a bit and bring the Poetry trilogy by Bloodaxe books edited by Neil Astley which are called Staying Alive, Being Alive and Being Human. A lifetime of reading and as I like to read poetry aloud and walk while I’m reading there would be no-one to mind 😀

The Luxury – a fridge full of a lifetimes supply of Bendicks Bitter Mints.. YUM. YUM !

Addendum – Scilla reminded me with her comment below that I could have a philosophical book instead of the bible and I share her choice of the works of Thich Nhat Hahn. Thanks Scilla 😀

Now I hope you’ll join in and tell me which music/book/luxury you think you might bring with you .. all or any will do 🙂  So if you just want to say a book or a luxury or one piece of music that would be great. if you want to do a list even better.

I very much look forward to reading your comments.


Saturday Girl signing off now.  see you next week


You can find my photography blog Photomania here . I recently finished a year of posting at least one photo a day; a 366 . I hope you’ll pop over and take a look if you haven’t already


18 comments on “My Desert Island Discs

  1. A great choice of songs. Many of them would be on my list, too.

  2. Rachael says:

    Oh this is so hard! Music, need to think about that… Maybe a CD of Chopin, concertos and nocturnes, oh and preludes. Beethoven’s symphonies. Queen’s greatest hits. Individual songs: Viva la Vida by Coldplay. Don’t Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult. Don’t Dream it’s Over by Crowded House. to name a few.
    Book: a how-to manual on drawing and painting. Luxury: unlimited supply of art materials. I have always wanted to learn how to paint!

    • Rachael says:

      PS I know I have cheated with some of the music ;). But I love your choice of Don’t worry be happy and think I ought to add it to my list. Philosophical text, hmmm. I think either the Bible or the Qur’an would be interesting literature. Perhaps I would pick the latter as I know it less.

  3. So difficult, only 8 on my playlist?

    1. Jimmy Cliff-Many Rivers to Cross
    2. Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah
    3. Otis Redding – These Arms of Mine
    4. Janis Joplin – Piece of My Heart
    5. Ruthie Foster – Phenomenal Woman
    6. Mark Knopfler – Brothers in Arms
    7. Mozart – Requiem in D minor
    8. Les Miserable 10th Anniversary Dream Cast in Concert (I know cheating)

    Book: Impossible to select, I am a book worm constantly reading I would curl into myself so I choose instead a Journal. History of Philosophy will do, I would like Book 1 which focuses on the early philosophers through the 18th Century.

    Luxury? Pens with unending supply of ink of course.

  4. What, no room for Ken Dodd’s ‘We are the Diddymen’ or ‘The Birdie Song’?
    I think if I were stuck on a desert island, I would just have to have some sort of complete silliness – nothing lifts the spirits more than complete silliness!

    • Helen Cherry says:

      Stephen really !!! either of those would drive you absolutely crackers.. mind you on reflection I think the Be Happy song would probably drive me mad !! so what book and luxury would you take ?

      • The book is the most difficult – I find little joy in re-reading any books. It would have to be some sort of ‘learning/teach yourself’ book.
        luxury – a fridge/freezer (powered of course), or a fishing rod and associated paraphernalia, or maybe a pair of binoculars.

      • Helen Cherry says:

        That’s why I choose the Poetry Anthology as it is jam-packed full of good stuff… A fishing rod could be very useful indeed 🙂

  5. Mark Goodwin says:

    Good idea for a post Helen…(I think)!! 😦 I wouldn’t know where to start choosing my disks. I still do my best to listen to the Radio 4 prog but not always possible. As someone who started listening and playing music when I was 12 I have a very wide range of music choices. I used to say that there is no bad music, only music that one likes or dislikes, but even the bad music is liked by someone somewhere! I could never choose only 8 pieces, eight genres would be easier for me: Big Band Jazz, Trad Jazz, Skiffle, Blues, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Country Rock, Classical, Country Music and Cajun. And I think that is one too many and I haven’t even thought about the Pop side or the Male Ballads and Female Ballads.
    Thanks for getting the old grey matter churning. It’s now 5.40pm and I have been up and about since 2.45 pm.! Oh yes an early riser :-)…..As a life long sufferer of insomnia I had a really bad night last night and was still looking at the clock at 7.35am having been in bed since 11.30. Such is life, but hopefully a ‘Sleeper’ will help tonight.

  6. Steenie says:

    OK…here goes.
    Eight musical choices

    1) Rachmaninoff—Piano concerto 3. Such fiery Russian passion with that dark edge that always speaks of edge-of-insanity. Which is the state of mind I’d be in. Only usually play it once a year, while decorating the Solstice Tree, but my favourite classical piece.

    2) Nick Cave—The Ship Song. Life without Nick is unimaginable. Adore him in all his demented musical forms, but the Ship Song is just so achingly beautiful.

    3) Leonard Cohen—The Stranger Song. I would be wallowing in memories of times past, and this brings back so many of them.

    4) Madrugada—Step Into this Room and Dance For Me. The ideal soundtrack for erotic fantasy. Of which I’d spend a lot of time indulging in if stuck alone on some desert island

    5) Otis Redding—Dock of the Bay. A song to go fishing by, and have always liked this one

    6) Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Being greedy here, but at least I should have a better command of German after endless plays. Even if it is only to babble away to myself about Nibelungen, Valkyries and the like

    7) Bob Dylan—Simple Twist of Fate. Bob is such a fantastic minstrel storyteller, and I do so like stories.

    8) Freddie Mercury—Who Wants to Live Forever. To be saved for when I’ve finally reached the end of my tether.

    The Book
    Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The gateway for escapism into another world.

    Luxury Item
    A ship’s chest full of smokeable substances

    • Helen Cherry says:

      Thanks for taking the time to do this Steenie.. I decided against any Leonard Cohen.. too morose !! I need to be cheered up when I’m on the island ! I’m going to listen to the choices of yours that I’m not familiar with.. what fun!

  7. scillagrace says:

    Your first choice was one I’d never heard of, but it may well become one of my favorites. I have always loved the rhythm and soul of Gospel music and fantasized about being a satin-robed dancing member of a black choir. The words of those songs now ring rather hollow for me, but your selection restores all of that GLORY! Thank you! I resonate with you on all of your other selections (amazing how much we have in common!), familiar and beloved, if not favorite. I would probably bring something by John Denver (Sweet Surrender) as formative, some orchestral soothing piece (Barber “Adagio for strings”, Brahms Symphony #2 Movement II, Elgar “Nimrod” from the Enigma Variations), some choral soothing piece (Lauridsen “O Magnum Mysterium”), and some funky dance/exercise music (Brazilian) to keep me happily grooving along. I am frankly surprised that you left your camera at home in favor of some mints! (although I confess I am not familiar with them and maybe they are truly suitable desert isle companions) I would be torn between a box of family photographs and a bottomless bottle of Southern Comfort. As for a book, I have no idea how to choose just one as I live with tens of thousands! The anthology is brilliant, but I’d like to hand select the contributors: Wendell Berry, W.H. Auden, Rilke, Bukowski, etc. assorted favorites. And for my “appropriate religious or philosophical book”, I’d choose the works of Thich Nhat Hahn.

    • Helen Cherry says:

      Here’s a link to Bendicks – they are indeed luxurious !
      I did think about my camera but then I like to share and couldn’t and I think that would frustrate me and I’d have to have a computer to view the photos on too.
      I laughed when I read the Southern Comfort bit !
      I was just thinking I don’t want the bible I’d forgotten I could have something philosophical the works of Thich Nhat Hahn would do very nicely!

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