Like a lot of things, I was a bit late to the podcast party- and even more so the Desert Island Discs club. Saying you like Desert Island Discs is probably as surprising as saying The Beatles are your favourite band- but having recently started tackling the infamous podcast thought I’d write a little post with a few of my favourite places to start- in case you fancied a belated listen too. I mean- don’t get me wrong there are over 3000 episodes of DID!! 3000!! That’s more than Game of Thrones (and we all know how behind I am on that)! Obviously this is hugely the tip of a very big and wonderful iceberg (Kirsty Young’s velvety voice is my favourite soundtrack to any commute)- but here’s what I’ve been loving (and starting off with so far)- and some of my favourite inspiring finds…
I mean, Tom Hanks could be reading the alphabet and it was still sound interesting- but listening to an insightful hour about his upbringing, take on American politics and optimistic view on life and work (‘never give up the pursuit of the spark that has always fascinated you’) and his ‘do less but don’t retire’ mantra- I feel like I definitely took away more than a handful of song recommendations from him.
The suggestion of Jo Malone actually came from my dad, who said listening to this by the pool on holiday brought him to tears, which was more than enough to entice me in to learning a little more about one of my favourite business women and fragrance mavens. Learning about how she initially began her business- to leaving it as a fully fledged business empire was completely awe inspiring- as well as hearing about her and her husbands heartbreaking battles with illness and overcoming them- all to a completely wonderful soundtrack which reminded me all too much of something I might have on a Spotify playlist myself.
‘Her dads a bloody Beatle!’ My friend Charlotte said as I recommended this – ‘of course it’s going to be good!!’ Of course she was right, and hence why so far it’s undoubtedly one of my favourite episodes I’ve heard. Admittedly, it was the first I’d ever listened to- but alongside her fond and heartwarming stories of her parents Linda and Paul and her wisdom and knowledge of running a successful conscious business- it was a wonderfully inspiring listen (including one of my favourite Beatles songs too- which can only ever be a good thing).
To me, Desert Island Discs is about as much of a traditional British delicacy as a jam filled Victoria sponge; so listening to Mary Berry’s emotional and nostalgic episode was truly something. Talking candidly about the loss of her son and her childhood growing up- it was a truly heartfelt episodes with a soundtrack that truly takes you back to another time. Mary is an absolute national treasure, so being able to learn little more about such an incredible personality was truly fascinating.
Listening to Caitlin Moran is like listening to a frantic whirlwind of ideas, optimism and excitement- all muddled together with excellent song choices and accidentally profound quotes that I’m sure she didn’t even realise the value of. With a fantastic song selection combined from the eighties to her time at Melody Maker, Moran speaks of her belief in ‘giddy deluded intoxicated optimism because that is the fuel that will keep you going long after angel and rightouesness or fear have burned out’ and the idea of simply ‘cramming in as much joy as possible’- a listen that will inspire you and make you feel like anything is possible.
Sue Perkins feels a little bit like sunshine personified. She’s funny in a subtle way- throwing in casual dad-joke style puns effortlessly and speaks of ‘humour connecting you to your childish self and not being snobbish about where is comes from’. Her outlook of everything in life from the difficult challenges, friendship (she talks beautifully about her friendship with Mel and how when together, they’re like ‘two twins in a cot marvelling at each other)’ and work are wholly admirable- as well as her taste in music- which includes everything from dance to The Smithes are warrants more than a bit of a hip shake.
How could I not include Noel here? Obviously he oozes one of the coolest internal libraries of music, so hearing his picks from Bowie to pink Floyd to The Beatles made for a pretty perfect playlist. Plus, hearing him discuss his wedding and first dance was pretty amusing (/emotional) and his dry humour made for the perfect partner to some bloody brilliant tunes.
What are your favourite Desert Island Discs episodes?