Desert Island Discs

by tobelikeafeatherby

Dear Sarah,

Recently I have been thinking about what I would choose as my Desert Island Discs. Challenging indeed! But the songs below made my shortlist. Although, with a couple of them its the video that makes the song so special, so perhaps this is more of a Desert Island YouTube-videos…

1. Nina Simone, I Ain’t Got No…

Nina – what an incredible lady; “she ain’t got no wine, no cigarettes, no clothes, no country”… but what she does have is style in this video. This song became part of the soundtrack to my final year in Edinburgh. I put it on and I’m transported to the kitchen of my flat off Broughton Street, where I would sit with my flatmates drinking red wine after another day at the library, as clouds of cigarette smoke and despair filled the room. The song starts by letting you wallow – we all sometimes feel like we’ve got “no clothes, no job, no nothing”. However, it takes an optimistic turn; the message – to appreciate what you do have rather than what you’re lacking – is simple yet powerful.

2. Joni Mitchell, California

It was a difficult decision between this song and All I Want, which I think is the most perfect love song with some of the most beautiful lyrics ever written. However, I put California here because it was whilst I was living in San Diego, California that I discovered the album Blue and then had it on repeat for weeks. Also I think the above performance is flawless and I want that dress.

I could go on putting up songs by women in pain (Janis Joplin – Ball and Chain, Billie Holiday – Strange Fruit, Nina Simone – I get Along Without You Very Well) but then I might get a bit sad on my island.

3. Blur, Coffee and TV

I nearly chose Radiohead to stand for my angsty teenage years but I decided I had to include a Blur song. It could have been Beetlebum but I thought this was a tad, if not massively, more upbeat. It would remind me of our obsession with them (Damon for you, Alex for me); the summer we saw them in Hyde Park; the Christmas when we played Charmless Man on repeat. Coffee and TV would also be two things that I’d be missing when stranded on a desert island.

4. Lauryn Hill, Do Wop

I would dance to this song on the island but it also has thought provoking lyrics; gender politics never gets dull. Don’t be a hard rock when you really are a gem, baby girl.

5. Fleetwood Mac, You Make Loving Fun

This song simply makes me happy and want to dance. (Others in this category would be Prince – Kiss, WHAM – Club Tropicana, I could go on…) I love that the song, written and sung by Christine McVie, is positive about her relationship with the band’s lighting director yet it also has a sense of bitterness about the breakup of her marriage to John McVie (the band’s bass guitarist).

As for my other three choices; hopefully by the time I am invited on the show I would have made those decisions. What would your desert island discs be? Would your choices have any overlap with mine? I wish I was sophisticated enough to include some classical as I’m sure yours will!

Love, Ellie

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