It might not come as any huge surprise that this post has been inspired by the BBC Radio 4 programme, ‘Desert Island Discs’. I’d never actually listened to it until very recently, but on my trip to Edinburgh earlier this year (when my head was in a verrrryyyyy strange place), my lovely friend Alice recommended it as something soothing that might help me relax a bit. I should have paid more attention (Alice is notoriously queen of everything calm, relaxing and self care-y), because it really is lovely to listen to – I’m annoyed that I’ve only just added it to my subscription list!
Obviously it’s my destiny to become incredibly famous for all the wrong reasons one day, but just in case that DOESN’T happen, I thought it would be fun to turn it into a blog post. If you’re not familiar with the concept, each episode a different celebrity guest chooses the 8 songs that they would like to have with them should they become trapped alone on a desert island. The songs often hold a special meaning, so they discuss their choices and chat about their lives at the same time. Pretty simple, but the best things are!
1. You’re Gorgeous by Babybird
This song will always remind me of my Mum (aka the loveliest woman on the planet, crochet extraordinaire and the queen of misheard song lyrics). She used to sing it to me and my brother when we were little – though thankfully just the chorus, because the rest of it is slightly questionable when sung by a mother to her children. Worrying. The first time I heard the whole thing I was marginally horrified, but knowing my Mum she probably didn’t hear the lyrics properly anyway! It makes me appreciate everything she did for us growing up, and picturing her singing it with a smile on her face (normally followed by a big cuddle) just fills me with happy nostalgia – and makes me want to fly straight out to Spain to see her, of course!
2. I’m So Happy That I Can’t Stop Crying by Sting
I think I have my Dad to thank for my love of music. Back in the days of mixtapes (and then burned CDs a bit later on), he would compile playlists of his favourite music and give them to us to listen to. He loves a huge variety of music, so my tastes were pretty eclectic (not to mention sophisticated!) from a very young age, with my some favourites ranging from Deacon Blue and Abba to Suzanne Vega, Eva Cassidy and INXS. We would call this one ’the ice cream song’, listening out for the line ’the park was full of Sunday Fathers, and melted ice creams’ every single time!
3. Local Hero by Mark Knopfler
If there’s ever a song that makes me proud to be from the North East, it’s this one. They play it at the start of every Newcastle United football match as the players enter the pitch (well, they used to anyway – I can’t say I’ve been in a while!). I don’t even like football, but there’s something about it that transports me right back home, to the point where it even makes me feel a bit emotional sometimes. When I used to go back home from uni, I would try to time this song with the train crossing the river Tyne where all the bridges line up, which is one of my favourite sights in the entire world – if you’re from the area, you’ll know what I mean. Also, Mark Knopfler is one of my Dad’s absolute favourite artists, which just adds an extra layer of meaning for me.
4. Hymn To The Sea by James Horner
Another instrumental? How sophisticated of me. It might not come as much of a surprise considering how much I talk about it (and how much I wear my t-shirt), but Titanic has been up there with my favourite films since I first saw it aged around 6/7. I remember having to watch it over 3 nights, because even these days I have the attention span of a gnat – so God knows how distracted I was as a child. Film soundtracks, both original scores and song compilations, are my absolute favourite things to listen to. I like music that tells a story, and I love listening to a soundtrack after watching a film and experiencing the emotions all over again. To me, this song is one of the most beautiful – though if I could have included the entire score, I absolutely would have done!
Just in case you wondered, some of my other favourite scores/soundtracks are The Parent Trap, Donnie Darko, Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging (obv), Mean Girls, Homeward Bound, Wild Child, Edward Scissorhands, The Princess Diaries and Amelie. OBVIOUSLY there’s also every musical and Disney soundtrack ever, but that’s for a little bit later…
5. One For Sorrow by Steps
Steps, Spice Girls or S Club 7? I literally sat and flitted between songs from all 3 for bloody ages, but in the end it just HAD to be Steps. Steps were the first ‘big’ artist I ever saw live (preceded by ABBA tribute band Bjorn Again and Gabrielle obviously), with my bezzie 4 lyf Rachel and our Mums, and I was lucky enough to see them again around a year ago which was JUST AS AMAZING. I even like their new material, which is really saying something because famously I am very against that. What an absolute banger!
6. It Had To Be You by Motion City Soundtrack
15 year old Alice’s life looked a little bit like this: iced soy lattes, white iPod classic, sushi, DKNY Be Delicious, High School Musical, excessive bright plastic jewellery, Skullcandy headphones, Starbucks blueberry cheesecake, £2.95 cinema trips, jewellery making, The Green, digital cameras, getting drunk in fields and hanging out in shopping centres. Music-wise, she was all about Taking Back Sunday, Cute Is What We Aim For (kind of ironically but not really lol), Hellogoodbye, Panic! At The Disco, Copeland, City & Colour, Snow Patrol, The Killers, Less Than Jake, Maximo Park and – of course – Motion City Soundtrack. This was the first song of theirs that my friend Vicky ever played me, and it’s still my favourite to this day.
7. For Good by Idina Menzel & Kristin Chenoweth (music by Stephen Schwartz)
OBVIOUSLY I had to include a song from a musical. And obviously this was the hardest one to pick, because there are so many musical theatre songs that mean incredible amounts to me for so many different reasons. I toyed with Quiet from Matilda and practically the entire Hairspray and The Sound of Music soundtracks, but come on – it was always going to be Wicked. I chose this song in particular in homage to my number 1 boy, best friend of 7 years (grim) and the person who’s friendship was cemented by a mutual love (read: obsession) for musical theatre, the one and only Kyle Brown. From meeting on a night out and bonding over the AngelsBroadwayKaraoke Youtube channel to my housemates wanting to throttle us for our 3am duets of Take Me Or Leave Me from Rent, or arriving at the Cambridge Theatre in tears 5 minutes before curtains because we thought we’d missed the start of Matilda, musical theatre has always been a big part of our friendship – but it goes so much further than that. I can’t imagine life without this absolute nightmare of a boy. LOVE YOU FOREVER KB. This is for you!
8. Shine by Years and Years
The only hint of anything vaguely modern on this whole list, but I had to include this song. I’ve been lucky enough to see Years and Years twice now: once at Bestival 2016, and once at Pride 2017 – two of the most incredible experiences that I am forever thankful for. Both times I was surrounded by my absolute favourite people, having the time of my life in the sunshine, and being in awe of the incredible Olly Alexander as an unashamedly queer performer who is doing SO much for our community just by being himself. I’ve just booked my ticket to see them for a third time in December, and I could NOT be more excited! Just an FYI for anyone joining me, I WILL cry when this song comes on. Not soz!
Which songs would make it to your desert island? Are any of them similar to mine? Let me know in the comments or over on Instagram!