Friday, May 12, 2006

Desert Island Disco

How fabulous would it be to appear on Desert Island Discs?

For those dear readers with no knowledge of the programme, the guest is invited to imagine themselves deserted on a desert island and asked to choose eight pieces of music they'd like to have with them (hence the imaginitive title of the programme). The guest also gets to take a book (the complete works of Shakespeare and The Bible are deemed to be already there) and one luxury item.

Discussion of the choice of music marries up with a discussion/review of the guest's life.

Here are my desert island discs. What are yours?

Madonna - Hung up

I've always loved Our Glorious Leader. And I've always loved Abba. When I was a young boy, Mum would always moan when my brothers and sisters wanted to watch Top Of The Pops. The only acceptable act, in my Mother's eyes, was Abba, since you could actually hear what they were singing. I soon latched on to this, always eager to please my Mother, and announced that Abba were my favourite group. This, in no time at all, seemed to become a habit, and I found myself fancying the one with the beard.

I was chuffed to bits when Hung up came out. It was perfect pop. The Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight sample made hung up better than anything else I'd ever heard before by either Our Glorious Leader or Abba.

Some loves fade and die. Some last a very long time indeed. I know I'll love Hung up for ever.

Sophie B Hawkins - Lose your way

When Damn! I wish I was your lover came out, some years ago now, I thought Sophie was just a slut, being dirty on stage to get people to buy her records. Now I know her for something else. She's the most intelligent musician and lyricist I've ever come across.

Intelligence and I don't really go together too well, but I have my moments - though I'm usually quite stupid. All I need is a little encouragement.

All through Junior School, I seemed to coast along, not doing much at all. All my grades were always C - average. I didn't want to be average, but there was nothing I could do. Then, at the age of eleven, I went to Oakmead School For Boys. My enlish teacher was Mr Valentine and I flourished. Encouragement was his middle name. He told me he loved the things I wrote and adored my imagination.

I left school at sixteen years of age with an A for English Literature and an A+ for English Language. All thanks to Mr Valentine.

School wasn't all good, though. For the first two years I had an awful time with queer-bashers. But that soon changed in 1985 when Oakmead School For Boys and Oakmead School For Girls mixed. I loved being with my girlfriends, and the straight boys, out to impress the girls, found they had to be nice to me if they wanted a belle. This, in turn, encouraged a fair few more boys to come out, and a few girls, too. We stuck together in some kind of gang. No-one could touch us now.

Lose your way is a beautiful, simple, straight-forward love song. I'll love you forever, whatever happens.

When thinking about a Sophie B Hawkins track, I couldn't decide between Lose your way and The darkest childe. I chose Lose your way, in the end, for it's sheer beauty. The darkest child is interesting, and the lyrics blow my mind.

Nina Simone - Mississippi Goddam

Mississippi Goddam is quite simply a pro-civil rights song. I'm all for equality and social justice. This song encapsulates struggle and strength. Nina, you girl go! I hope she's still hammering out great songs in heaven.

I love political songs. Sadly, there are very few of them around today. One's confronted with conveyor belt pop everywhere. It all sounds like it knocked off the same production line. It's very sad.

More politics, please.

Oh, and vote Labour. You know you want to.

Pet Shop Boys - Always

Always was an additional track on the Home and dry single.

It's about love, loss and trying to get to grips with the fact that things will probably get better. Life is tough, but it will probably get better. You just have to be patient, "Always, summer comes, always."

I think this song is about me. "You're too over-sensitive, that's the charge. Any criticism starts to loom to large. Caution to the winds, throw it, throw it. Don't cash in your dreams or you will blow it."

There's some advice for you.

I guess I'm an all-or-nothing kind of guy, in every sense. I'll go for something, full on. If it works out, I'm ecstatic. If it doesn't, I start contemplating suicide.

Again, with a Pet Shop Boys track, I was undecided about either this, or Your funny Uncle. The latter is about a funeral. I want that song played at my funeral. I'm someone's funny Uncle, but I'll never be a Father. My nieces and nephews are the closest I'll get to children of my own.

(Let me be your) dirty fucking whore - Machine Gun Fellatio

I'd take this, simply for its comedy value. I just love it. It's vile and dirty, very funny, without relying simply on its filthyness for the laughs. Check it out if you can.

I love comedy songs and I love filth. But I hate Roy "Chubby" Brown. His humour relies only on swearing, which, to my mind, is pointless. If a joke isn't funny, how are you going to make it funny by saying fucking at the beginning of every sentence?

Broadway baby - Elaine Stritch

Oh! More choices! Broadway Baby (from my favourite musical, "Follies") or The ladies who lunch (from "Company")? It had to be Broadway baby. Showbusiness! And of course, the fact that it's from my favourite musical of all time (closely followed by "Closer to heaven")

I used to want to be in showbusiness myself. I'd have loved to be a female impersonator. Alas, I ended up working in finance, in a building society - and someone tried to kill me. Does anyone get held up on stage? No, I don't think so. Bad career move, then.

By the way, the last lines of Live, laugh,love/finale from "Follies" always give me goose pimples.

"Hey up there. Way up there. What do you say up there?"
"Hi."
"Girls."
"Ben?"
"Sally?"

I guess you have to see it or hear it to know where I'm coming from. Try to do so, if you can. You won't be disappointed.

For the good times - Perry Como

"Don't look so sad, I know it's over. But life goes on, and this old world will keep on turning. Let's just be glad we had some time to spend together..."

It's tough when any kind of relationship comes to an end, but when the acute pain has subsided, you can look back and be glad about wht you had.

My Dad liked Perry Como. He liked him a lot. I used to feel uncomfortable about liking someone or something that my Father was into. But I'm over that, now.

My Dad wasn't a very nice man. He was physically violent towards all of us. My elder brother and my Mum were in hospital a few times because of him, but they seemed to have moved on. Americans would say they've got closure. I wish I had it, too.

You won't forget about me - Dannii Minogue

I don't want to be forgotten.

My luxury item
would be a photograph album with photographs from throughout my life. I love looking back on my memories.

A book would be Sucking sherbet lemons by Michael Carson. A gay schoolboy...! Think I could relate to that?

6 comments:

Brian said...

I'm unclear if "ten pieces of music" means ten songs or ten albums. I went with songs, which was very hard and ended up being pretty arbitrary.

Ten pieces of music:

Anthem from Chess
One Week--Barenaked Ladies
Fine, Fine Line from Avenue Q
Theme from Back to the Future
Stand by Me--Ben E. King
Hands to Heaven--Breathe
Does Your Mother Know? from Mamma Mia
Invisible Touch--Genesis
Are You There from Bare
Walk Like An Egyptian--The Bangles

Book: Happiness by Will Ferguson

Luxury item: my laptop

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