I often listen to Desert Island Discs on Radio 4 and play along, wondering what music I’d choose to keep me company on the island.
All I had to do was pick a book, film, CD and famous person to take with me. I didn’t need to justify or explain my decisions, just make a list. This shouldn’t be too hard, I thought…
So first of all, my book. I’m going to be there a while so it needs to be a long book. I’ve never fancied Shakespeare and I’m not religious, so why would I want to start reading ‘The Bard’ or the Bible once stranded on the island?
I decided the book needed to be a mix of humour, escapism, something I want to reread. Hang on though, when will I get a chance to read if I have nowhere to lay my head? I would need a book on survival techniques, how to build a shelter, catch fish, make a fire.
Now for the film and CD. The practical side of me said I’m on a desert island with no electricity (if there was then surely I would just find somewhere to book my ticket on the boat home?).
So what am I going to do with the DVD and CD? Read the covers? Then it occurred to me. Those shiny discs have many uses – I could make a sun reflector to call for help, set leaves on fire, or use them as a plate or an improvised knife. So it doesn’t matter what I took as long as it was a box set!
Then onto the famous person. My first thought was Sandi Toksvig. I bet she is practical, humorous, the sort of person I could build a raft with. However as I could only make a list and not explain my rationale people at work can make the wrong assumptions about why I was chosing her.
I could choose the latest good-looking film star because he is sexy and brooding, but would he be useful?
I need someone practical on this desert island to ensure we could shelter and cook and not eat a poisonous plant. And build that raft.
I’ve been told I’ve over-thought this, but I don’t think so. Previous interviewees have plumped for the obvious answers to make them look intellectual, man about town, trendy. In the end when I submitted my list, I suppose I sold out too.
So here’s the final list:
Book: Jonathon Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. I started reading this on the bus and missed my stop and ended up going to the terminus to get back home!
CD: Jack Johnson’s In Between Dreams. I played this endlessly in the car when I first got my convertible.
Film: Trains, Planes and Automobiles has always been a Christmas favourite and I realised after I chose it that it was appropriate as it’s about the struggles of getting home and what is important.