I haven’t received an invite to BBC Radio 4s Desert Island Discs, but I have given a lot of thought to my choices.
I’m thinking now, that when it comes to music, I would be satisfied with just one song for my time stranded on a desert island. I’ve pretty much listened to just one for the past five years, so what could be so hard.
When it comes to books, it’s a little more difficult.
I have limited myself to just four going to Paris, and I’m already in a dilemma:
Do I take those I have already read or are yet to read?
I read Conversations With Friends a few months back and absolutely hated it. Definitely, I wanted a different book.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Sally Rooney’s Normal People. The romantic interest Nick lacked everything that gave Connell depth. He was just a conscious stereotype.
So, what if I end up with another book like that?
I could take One Hundred Years of Solitude, but this book like my Winnie-the-Pooh is falling apart. This would be one of the few books which could keep my mind focused, like restoring a backup when a file becomes corrupted.
Maybe I’ll take lots of blank paper instead, and return from the island with a novel that starts well, goes through an avant-garde/surrealist phase, and ends in unintelligible scribbles that I somehow believe communicate the Truth of the Universe.
I doubt that for very long I would be sane enough to produce anything worthwhile.
I might already be on that path.
Anyway, I would probably just take some music with me. Plenty of Alizée songs and maybe the obligatory Smiths song. ‘Panic’ or ‘This Charming Man’, both of which remind me of driving through Avebury’s mystical valley with my Dad.
In a way the Desert Island game allows us to think about who we are in essence. As with history, only fractions of things, people, and places remain to tell a story. But what purpose does it serve me?
Is it, like I said, to keep me sane (uncorrupted)? To populate my island with the things that make me happy and comfortable for however long I am there? Or are these things, like J’en ai Marre by Alizée, there to remind me of the absence that I am constantly searching to attain?