My Desert Island Discs

We know the programme, right? It’s been going for 75 years on BBC Radio4 and hosted by the delicious Kirsty Young. I posted on Nigel Owens’ recent appearance and the effect his story had on me.

I thought a bit more, what would my Desert Island Discs be like? Put aside the probable restraining order I’d receive from Kirsty Young, and the absence of her intelligent questioning, I thought what would my journey look like in music?

I gave it a go and boy, was it hard to whittle down to 8 songs that mean something. I now have to lie down for the rest of the day as the result of trying.

Sunday Bloody Sunday – U2

I was 14 years old when this came out, almost the same age as my daughter is now. I remember being captivated by the album, War, and as it was the age of vinyl, playing this either on my own small deck in my bedroom or at full pelt on the big stereo system in the living room. It was raw, new, exciting and even now when I hear that opening drum beat I get a tingle of anticipation in my guts that something great is about to happen.
I sang it in a local live aid concert in 1986 and fulfilled a bit of a dream to song it in public, live with a band. It was a fantastic moment in my life- 17 and singing.
Not a rebel song but it is a declaration of war and I loved it then as I do now. I’m still 14 in my parents’ living room or on stage, belting it out.

Back in Black  – AC/DC

Another great song from my youth and an iconic album. It was the first after the death of Bon Scot and Brian Johnson came along to front the world’s greatest rock band. Those first few bars with Angus Young riffing, stirs the blood.
It flows down too. When Rory was about 5, we’d be in the car and I’d ask what music he wanted to hear. It was always this and he still loves it, now and then. Power of music and as you will find out, when fathers share music with their kids, it builds powerful memories.

More – Nat King Cole

My favourite Nat track. The memory this stirs is with my father, in his car when he was inevitably driving me somewhere. Dad Taxi.
He’d stick in the cassette (yes, I’m that old – I even remember 8 track) of Nat and we’d sing our fool heads off, talk about music, shoot the crap.
He had a decent voice, sang in a competing choir and loved music, singers songs. That sits with me today and is now in Abigail, my daughter.
I had an uncomfortable relationship with my father and wish I could address that. Unfortunately he died in 2012, so this memory is one I cherish as it’s one where we found our space.
Thanks, Dad.

Leaving Strathconon – Runrig

A few years ago, I started looking at my family tree and on both sides, we have highland roots. This is a song of The Highland clearances and how the journeys of our forebears led us to where we are now.
I traced my ancestor back to leaving his home on Loch Carron at 15, heading to Ardersier, near Inverness. Might as well have been a million miles away and it’s in the same country.
Some left the gangways for the new lands of Canada and America, like a rocket to the moon as they would never see their homelands again.
A brave new world, people sold out as sheep made more money on the land.

RAF Halton Pipes and Drums

I’ve been a pipe band side drummer since I was 11. I started at my local band and my journey has seen me play with bands at various places over the world. The pinnacle was playing in Grade 2 with the then University of Luton Pipe Band, getting into the prize list at a major as well as the best performance we made at the All Irelands under serious competition.
The clip here is my second to last outing with RAF Halton at the Worlds in Glasgow, in the heat. We won through to the final and didn’t place as well as we’d liked. I enjoyed this set and a great bunch of people playing here.
Bands are a great place to be but hard graft. I’ve met fantastic people and some of the finest musicians to be met, whose passion for music is catching. I can go just about anywhere in the world now and if there is a pipe band, odds on I’ll know someone there or we’ll have a mutual acquaintance.
Waiting for my real life to begin – Colin Hay

My health issues are on this blog for all to see. When I first heard this song around 2006, I was going through a difficult time with work. The company had shut down, I was at a crossroads and not sure what I wanted to do.
This song is a song of hope and one that I listen to regularly to help lift my spirit, to think there are good times and better times to come.
I started my first business at this point and when listening to the song, I am at that point, looking out into the ocean deciding where I want to be.
Now I’ve decided I really love looking out to the ocean from the shore and that’s where ultimately I want to be.

Soul Sister – Train

This is one of those gems that someone gives you and you play itoften just to keep sane, to smile. Steve White, a good friend and an even better musician, introduced this to me. It’s simple, it makes me smile, it makes me feel better.
I think of my wife when I hear this as we are connected in every way, by our very souls and when you find that, it’s the most amazing feeling. I can’t believe my blind luck finding each other and that she stays with me, despite me being a total eejit.
It’s also a song that when I play it on guitar, Abigail comes along and we sing it together. Mostly me accompanying her as she has the most delightful voice and loves to sing, so I chip in with harmonies.
Beautiful times.

Basket Case – Green Day

I heard this on the radio driving to work a couple of years ago and it just leapt out at me immediately for it’s power and energy. When I was going through a breakdown, I was playing this, listening closely to the lyrics and thinking ‘That’s me!’
Yes, I am that basket case and a recovering one at that, but there is hope. There is music, the love of family and friends – the good things in life

Reminds me of my favourite quote, which I’m taking to this island:

Thig crioch air an saoghal, ach mairidh gaol is ceòl.
The world will end, but love and music will endure.

I can choose a book, after being given the complete works of Shakespeare but I’ll choose two as the other that is given is the bible, which I politely refuse. I’ll take Stephen King’s The Stand and To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee. They remind me that no matter what damnable evil fools people can be, there are others who willing to make that stand for what is right, for being human.

I guess that might be a bit of me on a plate, right there.

What would your DID story be like?


2 thoughts on “My Desert Island Discs

  1. I feel bad that I don’t know all of these. Thank you for inviting me to share my own (and sorry it took so long!) it’s definitely a hard one!

    Love a bit of Green day though. X


    1. Yours is fantastic too.
      I love the stories of the car with your dad, that resonated big time, as well as driving in Scotland in snow. It can be a challenge and quite frightening, especially if you don’t know the area.
      Hitch Hikers – when I worked for O2, we had it streaming on an engineers channel to test call strength. I used to phone it just to listen to the story.
      Love it!

      Liked by 1 person

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