"Having shared everything for most of our lives, we decided that we would be shipwrecked and end up separately on our desert islands. Accordingly, our choices - particularly in music - reflect individual experiences. In Evi’s case, there is one exception and we leave you to guess which it is. In John’s case, it’s much more complicated as he has tens of ‘favourites’ accumulated over the years; so he has chosen items from his formative years which remain ingrained in his psyche and have never faded from his memory.”
John's Desert Island Discs Friday 12/3/21
1. Handel’s “Largo” (instrumental version).
First piece of classical music I heard on the radio, as a toddler, and its slow tempo defined me for life. CLICK HERE
2. Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.4 in G., Opus 58.
A ‘courtesy’ aunt, who had no family, looked on me as a ‘son’ till well into my ‘teens'. She was very musical and insisted my parents gave me extra-curricular piano lessons and berated them for not buying a radiogram for the house until I’d passed my Highers. The day the results came out (I passed) she was on the phone to my mother and the radiogram was installed the following week. My ‘aunt’s’ gift of my first 33&1/3 rpm long-playing record was this concerto (it arrived before the radiogram!). CLICK HERE
3. “Knightsbridge” from Eric Coates’ “London Suite”
The first time I stayed in London for more than a weekend, and the first time on my own, I enjoyed a concert of light-classical music and this stirring piece of orchestral music thrilled my British patriotism and reflected all I had heard of London during and immediately after WWII.
4. “Hello Dolly” played and sung by Louis Armstrong
This was my ‘party piece’ in my mid-to-late 20’s, literally leaving me speechless after every rendering in my imitation, gravel voice. I recall one of the highlights, an impromptu performance at a friend’s engagement dinner party in the Grosvenor Restaurant, when Louis Freeman’s resident orchestra agreed to a request from our table and I startled him - and the rest of the diners - by joining him at the microphone (to a standing ovation).
5. “I belong to Glasgow” sung by Will Fyffe.
This was my father’s ‘party-piece’ and I learned it, including the verses, at his knee. It was my alternative ‘party piece’.
I’m afraid that I would need to smuggle a 6th disc on to my desert island - and it would be a long-playing compendium of traditional jazz favourites played by Ken Colyer, Chris Barber, Monty Sunshine and Acker Bilk. The climax, conjuring up so many memories, would have to be “When the Saints go marching in”!!
Anything by, or about, Winston Churchill, my boyhood and lifetime hero - warts and all
Solar-powered, world-receiving radio - so that I would never really be alone, nor out of touch with what is happening around the globe.
Evi's Desert Island Discs
1. “Les Miserables”. I enjoyed this musical so much that I have seen it three times. My favourite song is “Empty chairs at empty tables”. CLICK HERE
2. Willy Russell’s “Blood Brothers”. A fascinating musical story about twin brothers. I saw it in New York with my twin sister and I am so glad we haven’t come to such a sticky end.
3. You make me feel so young.”, sung by Frank Sinatra my favourite singer! CLICK HERE
4. “Non, je regrette rien” by Edith Piaf. What more can I say. CLICK HERE
5. “Forrie Cairns Jazz”. Brings back lots of happy memories of Saturday nights jigging at Whitecraigs Tennis Club in my youth. CLICK HERE
“Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott. I can really identify with this book as I am one of four sisters and we were really not unlike them. I am pleased to say that my granddaughter seemed to like it as much as I did.
A first-class, return ticket - just to make sure I get home.