Good afternoon on a bright and breezy Saturday afternoon, hope this finds you in fine fettle. Sorry for the recent lack of updates but I was a bit under the weather for a few days and then that was exacerbated by the football this morning (well done Manchester United – through gritted teeth). Nevertheless I’m back now and mean to finish what I started which was a quick look at BBC/Desert Island Discs and those who have displayed the grace and intelligence to choose The Clash as one of the records they would take to a desert island. If you’ve no idea just what I’m prattling on about please go back and read part one.
As I mentioned previously in the hundreds of broadcasts compiled by the BBC only eleven people have managed to include The Clash on their final list of eight songs. The first six people are on the previous post, each of them essentially likeable but I can’t really same the same for the final five below. For each person listed, you can can click the red link to see all the songs that they chose and hear the archive recording on the BBC website.
Shirley Conran (Author/Designer) – Another name that I feel mildly embarrassed not to know immediately but then again I don’t have time to read as many books as I should. Common sense kicked in when I realised she is the ex-wife of Terrence Conran and thus the mother to Jasper and Sebastian, both of whom were friends with Joe Strummer. It also explains her being so on the pulse in the summer of ’77 to have selected Career Opportunities.
Ben Elton (Comedian/Author) – If you came of age in 1980’s Britain you certainly were aware of and have an opinion on Ben Elton. Edgy comedy before it was popular in Britain and politically active I’ve always liked him. He made his mark young too, writing for The Young Ones in his early twenties and then being the co-writer for Blackadder. Who doesn’t like Blackadder? His novels have been a bit more hit and miss but he remains a prolific writer and social observer. He chose London Calling when he provided his interview in 1996.
Harry Enfield (Comedian/Writer) – Harry Enfield was another who was writing alternative comedy in the UK before it became anywhere near as fashionable as its become now. Not to overstate it but if Monty Python were Iggy and The Stooges then Enfield and Elton would be somewhere near the equivalent of very good post punk, they were taking risks. Enfield started writing with Paul Whitehouse for television in 1988 and by 1990 he had his own show. Comedians weren’t doing giant arena tours then and working on television was the apex for many. Enfield reminds me fully of the last years of Thatcher and the beginning of John Major. Hard to believe it’s over 20 years since he was so popular. He chose Garageland when he was on in 1997.
Sanjeev Bhaskar (Writer/Director) – What is the connection between comedy writers and The Clash? Interesting to ponder but I have no real answers. Bhaskar is best known as the writer of Goodness Gracious Me and the more recent The Kumars at no. 42. He also chose London Calling in 2008.
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London/Utter Joke) – I saved the worst for last, it always appalls me when people you can’t stand like The Clash. Fortunately it doesn’t happen often, incidentally Boris picked Pressure Drop.
Do bookmark the BBC page and have a look, some of the guests are far more interesting than many of the musical choices it has to be said. I mentioned The Clash made the list for 11 people which sounded poor until I explore a bit more; here are some of the results:
33 – David Bowie
8 – The Smiths
7 – The Jam
5 – Joy Division
4 – The Sex Pistols, The Stanglers, Talking Heads, Oasis
1 – The Damned (horribly low…Jo Brand)
So as you can see eleven for The Clash isn’t poor at all. You can type in whomever you want and see who/if anyone picked that band. In general people I like pick reasonable music, with some notable exception. Right then, I’m still waiting to hear your desert island discs. I’ll work on mine.