Hello once again, sorry for the delay but work and following events on the east coast kept me away. I hope anyone who was in the path of the storm is safe and well and escaped some of the horrific damage we’ve all been seeing. I know that New York and New Jersey provides a lot of readers and a lot of Clash fans, so we trust you’re doing alright. I wanted to write about a childhood flashback I had today which led me to do some research and then naturally enough tie it in to The Clash.
As a young kid we always seemed to have music on in the house, or the radio at the very least. This definitely applied when Dad wasn’t home especially, when he arrived home from work his love of the sound of his own voice often dominated proceedings but at other times there was always music between my older music mad brother who went on to introduce me to The Clash or my Mum who was usually near the kitchen and with a radio on so she could be singing along. I remembered today that she used to always listen to Desert Island Discs on the BBC and I know for a fact I never paid attention, just that she did.
Desert Island Discs has been running on BBC Radio essentially every week for almost 70 years, although I’m sure they have had a few breaks. The premise is as follows (per wikipedia to save me typing) – “Guests are invited to imagine themselves cast away on a desert island, and to choose eight pieces of music, originally gramophone records, to take with them; discussion of their choices permits a review of their life. Excerpts from their choices are played or, in the case of short pieces, the whole work.” The guests come from all walks of relative fame or infamy; musicians, authors, politicians and sportsmen to name just a few. The premise is worthy for a few reasons, the musical choices of the guests of course, but they also use the 45 minute long show to talk about their life in general with often candid experiences related from childhood to the present day. If the guest is interesting the show of course can be also. For years you couldn’t listen to these once they had broadcast unless you were in the UK but now you can access over 500 episodes via the BBC iPlayer in certain countries, check below on the names to see if that includes you. What is rather nice is the BBC website now lets you type in the name of any band or musician to see which guests chose them as one of their eight desert island discs.
I thought the number of people who chose The Clash would number in the dozens, but more conventional taste seems to reign supreme. As a result there are just eleven who put a Clash song on their list of eight that they would insist on having on a desert island with them, the list is a real mixed bag but these are the first six souls with good enough taste:
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (Food Writer and TV Chef)
Andy Kershaw (BBC DJ)
Andy McNab (Author)
Tracey Emin (Artist)
Kristin Scott Thomas (Actress)
Suggs (Lead singer of Madness)
With each person on the list you can click on their name to be taken to the BBC archive page and listen to the broadcast and hear what they have to say and see what else they selected. The only name I wasn’t familiar with was the first on the list, Hugh, but then again I spend essentially none of my time watching TV Chefs. I’m impressed with Hugh’s list as he also had David Bowie, The Specials, Nick Cave and The Who. Incidentally The Clash song he chose was Police and Thieves.
Andy Kershaw was a DJ that introduced me to loads of great music in the 80’s and its nice to see him tip his cap to The Clash and pick (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais, the rest of his list is rather good too. Andy McNab is an interesting chap, the former SAS soldier turned author has a very interesting to listen to Desert Island archive and The Clash song he picks is Should I Stay…
That same song was also chosen by controversial artist Tracey Emin but the rest of her list is a bit lacklustre if I’m being honest. I do like Kristin Scott Thomas as an actress, always have, don’t know why. Her archive is well worth a listen, she lost her Dad in a car crash when she was 5. Her Mum remarried and the same fate befell her second Dad years later also. Bloody Hell! Her musical choices are really eclectic, The Clash song she chose was Train in Vain.
Finally tonight I have Suggs of Madness. I love Madness, always have and still do and for my money while they weren’t always the most serious band around they provided some of the best live shows of that era that I went along to. Funnily enough when they tried to get more ‘serious’ with their lyrics the hits dried up. I always knew Suggs was a big fan of The Clash and his list overall is really good so check it and see and he gets bonus points for picking London’s Burning.
I’ll be back with the final five names and some other data. In the meantime, what eight records would you take on a desert island with you (by eight different acts)?