I decided to turn the Desert Island Discs game into a meme. I’ve spent all day worrying about what I would choose. It’s very hard. Oddly, given my fanatical obsession with books and the fact that my short list of favourites runs into the odd hundred or so, it is the music that has been giving me the most gyp.
The thing is, I am very moody swingy about my musical tastes. Music to me is almost like a sense of smell in the way that it evokes incredibly vivid memories and so it has an incredible amount to do with the mood I’m in, and the mood I want to be in.
This is why I still can’t listen to Portishead’s first album without wanting to be sick. I used to love it. I was very into all that Bristol Dub scene malarkey at the time. Then I went to the Edinburgh Festival and was a very naughty girl indeed. I ate something that didn’t agree with me whilst in a nightclub.
After I had projectile vomited over the entire inside of the nightclub, my miniscule blue dress and my enormous blue platform shoes, and then wandered round Edinburgh in the lashing rain for two hours on the last night of the festival trying to get a taxi and nearly dying of hypothermia before a very kind off duty social worker took charge of us and delivered us to our flat, I hallucinated floridly for about fourteen hours.
The entire time I was imagining small green peas in a marching band formation and rainbows coming out of my finger ends, my boyfriend’s flatmate, who wasn’t having quite such a torrid time as me, decided that what we needed to chill us all out man, was to listen to Portishead on an endless loop for the entire fourteen hours. Hence my aversion. Understandable, I think you will agree.
So. While I was thinking about what my all time favourite music is things got out of hand and a bit chaotic and confusing. I then made a very important decision. I decided to pick music that would help me live on a desert island, eating crabs, weaving coconuts and making a pair of shoes out of my bra, a la Joanna Lumley.
These are my Desert Island picks:
China Doll by Julian Cope – This would be on any list actually. It really is one of those unshakeable favourites that gives me goosebumps and makes me feel all teary, but in a good way. If I was listening to this on a desert island I would weep all over Ray and probably put out the fire, pining for loves lost and lives far distant and all that stuff.
Baby Love Child by Pizzicato Five – This is a ridiculous song to have on a desert island. It’s a kind of Japanese kitsch bit of fluff that you can’t help smiling to, and which is totally inappropriate to listen to anywhere else but in the coolest of Japanese discotheques. I might have it at my funeral as well, and make everyone do the twist to it, in a very sombre manner. It might cheer Ray up when he finds out I’ve put out the fire sobbing over Julian. I’d pay good money to see Ray Mears dancing to this in any geographical terrain.
Nice Weather for Ducks by Lemon Jelly – A completely typical English tune. It would remind me of rainy Sunday afternoons, which after being stuck on an island in the blazing heat for weeks, I would be pining for. Ironic when I am stuck in England on wet Sunday afternoons, pining to be on a blazing hot desert island. Oh! The folly!
Renaissance The Mix Collection (1994) Mixed by Sasha and John Digweed. CD2 – I’d have the whole CD as I think it’s very operatic and only really works as a piece. If I can’t have that, I’ll just have the first track thanks. Sounds like the sea exploding. Probably very soothing during a tropical storm, and a belter when Ray and I do our calisthenics on the beach.
You Said Something by P.J. Harvey – Another melancholy track for those days when I’m a bit hormonal and can’t be bothered to gather firewood or untangle my fishing line. Very romantic and a bit mad. Probably good for when I get island fever.
Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues by The Eels – Miserable lyrics for when I’m feeling sad. Lyrical tune to perk me up. A bit Smiths Lite, but has to be there for the brilliant line – ‘Goddam Right! It’s a beautiful day.’ A very good waking up to another breakfast of coconut surprise song.
Electrical Storm by U2 – The clue is in the title. Excellent for my fledgling weather reports from the island.
She Sells Sanctuary by The Cult – Excellent if there are any goats that need slaughtering or a bit of general mosh pit action on the beach.
Bookwise I decided that rather than go for an old favourite I would go for something weighty that I feel I ought to read and haven’t ever really gotten around to. On the island I will have no excuses, and as long as Ray doesn’t steal the pages to make toilet roll or kindling I should be quids in. After much debate I decided to eschew Finnigan’s Wake by James Joyce with a firm hand, due to it being a bit mental, and the likelihood of me already going mental stuck on a desert island, and how if I were mental I might begin to understand it, and then where would we be. I decided to go for War and Peace by Tolstoy. I loved Anna Karenina and this is much longer. Plus, it’s got all those incredibly complicated multiply named characters. I reckon even reading it constantly for five years I shall still only be a rank amateur at grasping who the hell said what to who. It will keep me busy for decades should the need arise.
As for the luxury item. Naturally it would be Ray. Obviously if they banned me from having a living creature, or even a demi god like King Ray then I would have to pick something utterly useless as an antidote to the brilliance of picking Ray in the first place. In which case I would plump for my security blanket, so that I can get to sleep at night without hysterics. I am Linus. Linus of the island.
Oh! And anyone else who fancies giving it a whirl.
Remember, it’s eight pieces of music, one book (not the Bible or Shakespeare) and one luxury item (not to do with escaping from a nightmare island)