Etc. Features Magazine

Comfort in Solitude

A sheath of curios from the country's favourite radio programme, Desert Island Discs.

Few shows give you an insight into the depravity and the mundanity of the great and good quite like Desert Island Discs. We’ve sifted through all 3,227 episodes (at the time of writing) to bring you a small selection of horrors from castaways past.

Just Shit Music

Gordon Ramsay with truly the worst ever selection of music, a parodic drivetime session through the consciousness of a middle-aged man:

Coldplay, Yellow
Travis, Sing
Tina Turner, Simply the Best
Kim Wilde, Kids in America
George Michael, Careless Whisper
Bryan Adams, Everything I Do (I Do It For You)
Tom Jones, Sex Bomb
Blondie, Sunday Girl

Possibly only rivalled by Nigella Lawson, with this, which reads like a sex offender’s ideal lift music:

The Archies, Sugar Sugar
Wheatus, Teenage Dirtbag
Boney M, Daddy Cool
The Mavericks, Dance the Night Away
Eminem, Cleaning Out My Closet
New Order, Blue Monday
More Kanté, Ye Ke Ye Ke

Frankie Dettori’s choices were also execrable:

Ronan Keating, Life is a Rollercoaster
AC/DC, Back in Black
Madonna, Into the Groove
Bob Marley and the Wailers, Three Little Birds
The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, Amazing Grace
Simply Red, Fairground
Robbie Williams, Feel
Faithless, Insomnia

General Norm Schwarzkopf; it’s an operatic blitzkrieg from the man who brought you Operation Desert Storm, with some Billy Joel thrown in for some reason:

Bob Dylan, The Times They Are a-Changin’
Giacomo Puccini, Nessun Dorma (Soloist: Luciano Pavarotti)
Cast of Les Misérables, I Dreamed a Dream
William Steffe and Julia Ward Howe,
The Battle Hymn of the Republic (Choir: The Robert Shaw Chorale Orchestra)
Peter O’Toole, The Impossible Dream
Johannes Brahms, Symphony No. 2, The Academic Overture
Billy Joel, Piano Man
Aaron Copland, Lincoln Portrait

But the title of shittest selections probably goes to David Cameron with a prizewinning mélange of confected, focus-­grouped bollocks:

The Smiths, This Charming Man
Lana Del Rey, Video Games
Felix Mendelssohn, O for the Wings of a Dove
Pink Floyd, Money
The Killers, All These Things That I’ve Done
Radiohead, Fake Plastic Trees
Bob Dylan, Tangled Up in Blue
Benny Hill, Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West)

Weird Luxuries/Bizarre Books

Michael Ball chose The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman, who has also been on DID.

Antonio Carluccio chose His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman, ditto.

Suggs asked for a nucleus of bees and a concise book of Italian verbs.

David Walliams picked the complete works of Philip Larkin and a gun (‘If I got really lonely, I would shoot myself.’)

Paul Dacre chose as his special item a year’s subscription to the Guardian. (Credit where it’s due, that’s a good gag.)

Sir George Steiner chose a ‘500-year-ahead calendar’ and appointment book.

Sir Richard Curtis elected to bring ‘Pizza Express in Notting Hill’ with him to the desert island.

The Proustians

You would not believe how many celebrities want to think about madeleines during their island seclusion. 

Zadie Smith
Nicole Farhi
Stephen Hough
Abi Morgan
Margaret MacMillan
Louis Theroux
Anne Enright
Sir Timothy Clifford
Claudia Roden
Ewan McGregor
Philip Pullman
Hanna Segal
Joan Plowright
Arnold Wesker
Tariq Ali
Sebastian Faulks
David Tennant
John Simpson
A. S. Byatt
Vivienne Westwood
Anthony Storr
John Cole
Kathleen Hale
Felix Aprahamian
John Updike
Christopher Hampton
Michael White
Sybille Bedford
Ralph Fiennes
Neil Jordan
Sheila Hancock
Michael Portillo (technically – asked for a Proust biography)
Sir Frederick Ashton
John Gielgud
Claire Bloom
James Ivory
Stan Barstow
Mary Archer
Sir Stephen Spender
Lady Mosley
Mollie Lee
Anthony Lawrence
George Melly
Dodie Smith
Penelope Keith
A. L. Rowse
Richard Adams
Derek Tangye
Pamela Hansford-Johnson
Cyril Connolly
David Hicks
Edward Boyle
John Mortimer
Sir Nicholas Sekers
Margaret Drabble
Moura Lympany

Rogue Choices

Jeremy Clarkson’s disconcertingly muted buffet of maudlin soft rock

Billy Paul, Your Song
The Who, Behind Blue Eyes
Bob Seger, Night Moves
Pink Floyd, Time
The Temptations, Get Ready
Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)
David Bowie, Heroes

John Malkovich, Still Dre by Dr Dre.

Stephen King, Pon de Replay by Rihanna.

Alan Titchmarsh, whose choice of ‘Blackbird’ initially conjures thoughts of The Beatles, before it is revealed to be a literal recording of the evening song of the popular garden bird.

Julie Burchill chose Hatikva, the Israeli national anthem, as her Castaway’s Favourite (and a mention on this list is exactly what she wanted when she picked it).

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