Monday, 10 April 2017

This idea of a desert(ed) island

is  beginning to look more appealing....perhaps.
Those of you who live in the United Kingdom will be familiar with "Desert Island Discs". Even if you never listen to it you will know about it in the way that you  know about "The Archers". 
Desert Island Discs was created by Roy Plomley in 1942. That makes the program 75 this year. It still takes the "interview someone famous and ask them to choose 8 records" (or recordings now I suppose) to take with them to a deserted island, along with a luxury item.
I listened to it occasionally when I was living in London, along with the omnibus version of the Archers. I listened to the Archers largely so that I could make "intelligent" conversation when those things were mentioned. I can remember the fuss when Shula's grandmother "died" and discovered from a reader of this blog that "Shula" is still being written into the program. I listened to Desert Island Discs when someone I was particularly interested in was being interviewed. The interviews were never "in-depth" but there were little nuggets of information which often helped me better understand those being interviewed. There were the small insights into their lives that made listening worthwhile. 
I remember hearing PL Travers, the creator of Mary Poppins, interviewed. There wasn't a single piece of music in the recordings she chose. I wonder whether that has ever happened in any other episode? 
And there is the frustrating memory of a piece of  harp music I never caught the name of and never followed up. I haven't heard it again since - but I am sure I would know it instantly. I cannot remember who was being interviewed or I would go back into the archives and find it. 
The Whirlwind's father had cause to explain the program to her over the weekend. He sometimes listens to it. He listens to quite a lot of BBC radio while doing other things.
"It sounds weird," she told me later, "How could you choose just eight?"
We let her think about it. Her father has tried to give her a more varied musical experience than that of many of her generation. He has taken her to the occasional symphony concert. They have been to at least one opera. They have been to other concerts and recitals. She isn't fond of "loud" music. 
I don't think she is particularly musical. She has been taught to read music at school and, along with everyone else in her class, was taught to play the recorder - "they sound awful". She is in the school choir and can at least sing in tune. 
So, what would she take to a desert island? She had no idea but it was interesting to learn what she would not take,
    "I don't think I would want something that everyone likes right now."
    "Well you might get sick of it. You don't know if it is something that you are going to go on liking and liking...not like my dad likes some of those old things and he's liked them for years and years. You might think you would  but at school we sort of like something one time and then something else."
And then of course she asked the inevitable question of what I would choose. 
The answer to that is, "I'm glad I will never be a guest on Desert Island Discs."



Anonymous said...

I recommend Professor Hugh Pennington's program. Great variety, great stories, and none of the old favourites.


catdownunder said...

I don't know it at all - I never listen to the radio here apart from accidentally in the supermarket!