Saturday, 11 June 2011

Desert Island Disappointment

We were up and dressed bright and early this morning to make sure that breakfast was over with and cleared away before the much anticipated special edition of Desert Island Discs featuring the listeners' choices came on. We had both been to the website and input eight pieces of music that were close to us and to our lives and many thousands of others had done the same. Indeed Kirsty opened the show by informing us that over 250,000 tracks had been listed.

I wasn't expecting any of my selection including The Pogues,UB40, Bob Marley, Annie Lennox, Steve Harley, Pulp and Run DMC to feature in the top ten although I did think that some of Marion's more melodious suggestions like James Taylor might sneak in. But what we got was a list of eight mainly classical pieces which, though beautiful, could hardly be representative of the general public or even the typical Radio 4 listener. I couldn't help thinking as the show progressed that the public vote had been heavily advertised on Radio 3 or Classic FM as we went through Holst, Beethoven and Elgar with the only nod to "pop" being "Bohemian Rhapsody"(produced over thirty six years ago)and Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb"(a newcomer at 32 years old). This implies that over the past thirty two years at least there has been no music of the moment that has captured the imaginations and stayed in the minds of the great British public.

Being avid Radio 4 listeners who tune in to DID every week we felt that the public vote did not reflect the typical castaway interviewed by Kirsty. OK there are some people in the operatic and classical worlds who choose eight pieces of Beethoven and his ilk but generally speaking the mix is far more eclectic and interesting. In fact the most interesting thing about this week's show was the list from a member of the public who recalled the influx of West Indians into the East End of London and chose some of the Ska music that she had heard at their parties plus other pop pieces that had accompanied her life.

I had to smile at the publics' choice of Handel's Messiah as this had been on my list of potentials not only as it had been popular with my mum and dad when I was a kid but because I can still see my son Paul skipping into the room in his little green dressing gown and singing at the top of his voice "Come For Tea" (Comfort Ye) - (and that was when he was twenty one) - just kidding son. So all in all a bit of a let down from Radio 4 listeners who appear to be a lot less interesting than I had hoped.

There's very little that Marion and I don't see eye to eye on but I do tend to upset her when we go shopping. I tend to chuck everything in the trolley whilst she is very methodical and we arrive at the till with everything neatly segregated into logical places for ease of packing. So I felt a bit like a naughty schoolchild yesterday as I went alone to Tesco and was able to indulge myself and bung it all in willy nilly. And we didn't suffer so much as a squashed loaf - well we did but I managed to squeeze it back into shape.

I'll finish today with proof that the Great British Public was wrong.