Friday, 12 November 2010

My Desert Island Discs - Blog idea courtesy of Mark Cole

Like all beings, I like to imagine what life would be like in a secluded, yet beautiful place - a Desert island to be precise. That classic image of palm trees waving in the cool breeze and waves rhythmically beating the golden sandy beach is to me, paradise. The only thing missing is the worlds greatest music. So, lo and behold my very own Desert Island Discs.

Lets start at number one then (that would seem a good place to begin):

First of all, a bit of Bill Withers. Not the conventional 'Lean on Me' or '
Aint no Sunshine'. His version of this Beatles song is definitely worth a listen. It's very different to the somewhat downbeat original, in fact it's much more uplifting.

Bill Withers - Let it Be

Who doesn't love this song? It's upbeat, cheery and it's the Beach Boys. This one always brings a smile to my face. When I'm feeling a bit sullen on my Desert Island I think it would remind me of my friends back home. However, don't think I'd be saddened. This song would make the Desert Island experience all the more enjoyable :)

The Beach Boys - Barbara Ann

Whenever I listen to the programme on Radio 4, the interviewee always chooses a piece of Classical music. Well, I do have a favourite piece. I think it's the crescendo which makes it so powerful. I can imagine huddling in a dark cave on a stormy night and this song rolling around in my head.

Tchaikovsky's - Swan Lake Ballet

Perhaps a rarity in my music repertoire, but a very modern song now. This track is always a good one for cheering me up. I feel this song would be great for those somewhat gloomy island days where maybe i didn't catch a fish or a wild boar. It has that 'Three Little Birds' effect for me - don't worry about a thing :)

Paolo Nutini - High Hopes

This is truly a classic. The first time I head this song was 3 weeks ago. However, I loved it straight away. The strong, stained and stunning vocals emphasize the plight of a young man. It shows how troublesome life can be. However, It's quite uplifting. It's about making a difference, and i think, about becoming a man. This song would remind me of my dad.

Sam Cooke - A Change is Gonna' Come

Now, I've always been a big fan of Bobby Darin, so choosing only one of his songs was very difficult for me, but I came to a conclusion. Now, Island theme - you may think I chose 'Beyond the Sea', or maybe 'If I were a Carpenter'. Nope, It's got to be his alternate version to Simon & Garfunkel's classic. It's a song that most people love, however this version is very understated. Darin's incorporation of Soul and R&B into the mix (as well as the mouth organ) make it a distinctive and powerful cover of a beautiful song.

Bobby Darin - Bridge Over Troubled Water

Surprisingly enough, I'm not Scottish. However, I feel this song is so well renowned across the United Kingdom that it's not only a symbol of Highland pride, but of British musicality collectively. I often find myself humming this tune as I walk from my home to the Seafront. It's a song that fits a long adventure or journey. It's an uplifting tune I can imagine listening to as I sit on the beach, with my coconut milk, watching the sun go down. Who better to sing it than my favourite singer, Paul Robeson.

Paul Robeson - Loch Lomond  

Ahh now to my final choice. This is quite clearly my favourite song. The lyrics make me think of what the 1960s must have been like. The will for freedom prevailing over the oppressive chains that bound people to their race, gender, sexual orientation - it represents the need for a wider tolerance and understanding. It's a song that would encourage me to build a raft, to build a hut and to soar up to the sun. It's my Island song.

John Denver - I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free

Now, I know I'm given a bible for my Island stay. In fact this probably would make interesting reading. However, I think I will ask to take the 
Encyclopedia Britannica. There's always something knew to learn about the world.

And finally, If i had to take one disc with me I think it would have to 'Loch 
Lomond - Paul Robeson'

Thanks for reading this blog and I hoped you liked the music


Monday, 8 November 2010

Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day

It's an annual event that reminds us all of the darkest, most destructive and hardest hours of mankind. Like many, my family has no grand military history. However, like all I can feel a great sense of gratitude to the men and women who have sacrificed their one life for me and my relatives.

My gratitude extends from those men who charged towards an inevitable death to the men like my grandfather who transported supplies through Europe. Lest we forget those who died in the Somme and the young Britons, Canadians, Americans, Australians and others who perished on sand swept beaches of Normandy in 1944. But also to those who died in the fields of the Falkland Islands and to all the men and women who are currently in Afghanistan at this moment in time.

As Christmas approaches I remember the caption from Wilfred Owen's poem 'Miners' (A poem that i actually enjoyed/appreciated at A-Level English):

"Comforted years will sit soft-chaired,

In rooms of amber,

The years will stretch their hands, well-cheered

By our life's ember"

What I think Owen is trying to say is "remember us, but also live for us, for our sacrifice and for what we stood for"

That passage has stuck with me ever since I read it and I'm sure it will remain with me for a long time.

So when the distinctive chime of that bell rings out through London and through our radios this Thursday and Sunday, I plan not only to pay a minute of respect to those I've spoken of, but I hope to live a lifetime of joy and happiness which I am so lucky to have been gifted with.

It is now that I remember that even if I don't support the cause, I will be in forever admiration of those who have given their only existence on this planet to preserve it.