Saturday, August 21

Desert island discs, meta-plane style.

In Britain they have a radio show called Desert Island Discs in which guests are asked which 8 'discs' (originally Gramophone) they would want with them were they to be stranded on an island (for a long time, it's implied). I think that means individual songs or pieces of classical music (the show has been running for ages). But I'm going to update it slightly to entire albums, but cut the number back to 5. So.... which 5 would YOU choose? Let's say they're on an iPod which never runs out of power and with the best headphones or speakers ever, which never wear out. You get the idea.

Think carefully... you should pick albums that hold up well over countless listenings, maybe a variety amongst the five in the type of music, and albums which are strong throughout and don't have bum tracks (or hardly a one). That may be a slightly different list than "My all time top 5 favorite albums."

Also - the show is quite quirky - you are given the complete works of Shakespeare and the Bible (or appropriate religious text, if you desire one) for some reason, and get to select one more book to take with. I think this is unduly harsh, so I'll broaden it to 5 books as well, though you'll have to use those 5 choices on your own mix of fiction/nonfiction. Let's also update their Shakespeare gift and allow you unfettered access to the Oxford English Dictionary, a constantly up-to-date set of encyclopedias (something like Wikipedia in a set of bound volumes which magically stays current), and other pure reference works.

But NO computer, therefore NO internet, therefore NO email/Googling. That would defeat the whole idea. And no movies or television series either, unless you guys rage in the comments section and demand to have those included. It's up to you, I'm just following the radio program format.

And the last quirk is they allow you to bring a single "luxury" item. I guess all your food and drinks are magically provided for, and you live in simple comfort, but something like a musical instrument, say, would be a luxury, because it's not needed to survive, just a real bonus (if you enjoy playing it, of course).

So to sum up, please list:
1. 5 albums to take with you.
2. 5 books to take with you.
3. 1 luxury item to take with you.

If there are any questions, just ask. Have fun! I'll play too, once others have started. And before you ask, the albums must be official releases, not home compilations or 200-song mp3 discs! Whatever the band put out - even greatest hits or box sets - are fine, but you can't make up products that don't exist, like "All of Elvis Presley's music in a collection." That doesn't exist as a single product you can buy, that I know of.


Raelha said...

Ouch. I need time to think. Although I may go through the albums I put on my MP3 player to get me all the way top France and back safely, I think I'll find inspiration there.

Chosing the books should be easier. Maybe.

And a luxury item? I'm already happy if books, music, food and drink are supplied. This will need some considering.

Raelha said...

OK, so I think I have it. If I spend too long considering this I'll never get a definitive answer. This is what I came up with:


1. The Manics - Send Away The Tigers: something thought-provoking, and to bring back good memories.

2. Crowded House - Together Alone: It feels like and old frined, I can listen to this over and over again. Also something to sing along to since nobody will be listening.

3. The Ting Tings - We Started Nothing. My "fun" CD, also one I don't seem to be getting tired of, music to perk me up and to dance to.

4. Radiohead - The Bends: another one that doesn't grow old. Music to lose yourself in and travel to other places in your mind.

5. Brendan Perry - Eye of The Hunter: Something to lie on the beach to at night, star-gazing and comtemplating.


Actually, with the full OED and a self-updating encyclopaedia I'd be quite happy and could keep myself pretty busy for, well longer than I'd be on the island for. I'd still like the complete works of Shakespeare though, I avoided him as a teeneager afer a couple of bad experiences at school but would very much like to read him now.

Since I'm allowed five choices too, which I think is very generous on top of the reference stuff:

1. Philip Pullman - His Dark Materials Trilogy, the one volume version, of course.

2. Charles Dickens - Great Expectations. I loved this book as a teenager but have only read it the once since. I could happily read Dickens' prose many times on the island.

3. Margaret Atwood - The Blind Assassin. Another one to read over and over again, and probably get something new from it each time. Margaret Atwood how I love thee.

4. JRR Tolkien - The Lord of the Rings. No explanation needed methinks.

5. Something I haven't read before, and since I have all that free time, I'm going to pick a book that's been on my TBR shelf for at least 10 years and will need many hours dedicated reading to finish: Cervantes - Don Quijote, the English version, I don't think I'd dare in Spanish.

And as for my luxury item, I have several ideas. I did think of a wind-up radio, but then decided that might be sort of cheating, since I imagine the whole idea is that you have no communication with the outside world. So, second option, and a better one, if it counts - my cats. If they're not allowed, I'll have a posh digital camera that can also be used underwater that comes with a fat guide on digital photography.

Now if you could just tell me when I'll be going I'll happily pack and inform my boss she'll soon be needing a new English teacher.

Metamatician said...

First of all, this is unfair and way too hard. But I'll try.


1. The Beatles, Abbey Road
2. The Smiths, Strangeways, Here We Come
3. Brendan Perry, Eye of the Hunter
4. 2Pac, Me Against the World
5. Dan Fogelberg, Captured Angel

but talk to me in ten minutes and I'll have another 5 for ya. Oops, forgot Pink Floyd and Radiohead. See!


1. Asimov's Guide to Science
2. Complete Poems of Sylvia Plath
3. Tolkien, The Silmarillion
4. Complete Works of Oscar Wilde
5. Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach


A guitar with a fat instruction manual :-)

Or, a grand piano.

Hmm, I'm gonna have to give this some thought and come back with an updated post. I'm having a bunch of second and third thoughts.

Oh, and Jackson and Otis. Pets don't count, you can bring your pets gratis. You may want a new luxury item, Raelha.

Didn't think this would be so hard. Well, this will have to do for now...

Metamatician said...

I forgot The Sundays' Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic and The Cranberries' No Need to Argue and Fleetwood Mac's Rumours and a zillion others too. Depeche Mode, Violator or Black Celebration. Morrissey, Viva Hate. The Cure, Faith. Enigma's first CD. Cornell's Carry On. Debussy, Brahms, Tchaikovsky...

I definitely have to mull this over some more.

I don't want to be trapped on a desert island! That's my take-home lesson from this.

And why are they DESERT islands, anyway? Wouldn't "deserted island" make more sense?

An Gabhar Ban said...

Being a deserted island implies that they were once inhabited...

and I'm sorry but I can't even begin to pick music or books to have with me but I think for my luxury item I'd like to have limitless yarn and knitting needles or my art supplies. Either one allows for personal expression and creativity since that's about all you're lacking with the food, shelter, and mental stimulation/relaxation covered by books and music.

Mandula said...

I think I would go insane there, no matter what. Long time without pc, internet, and series? I'd better die. :)

I cannot even start to think about what I wanted o bring with me. The luxury thing would be the Escape button for sure. ;)

Metamatician said...

@AGB and Mandula - That seems a bit weak, you guys! I like the yarn and needles or art supplies, AGB; but Mandi, your escape button is totally disqualified! I guess you'll just turn into a skeleton, like Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.

Mandula said...

Can't wait to be a skeleton, then I will guard the hidden treasure. :D

Okay, here are my 5 albums:

1. Bridge on the River Kwai OST
2. The Don (Carlos) Khales opera (in original klingon)
3. The Khamlet (in original klingon, see: and here is a part of it:
Khamlet: taH pagh taHbe'. DaH mu'tlheghvam vIqelnIS.
quv'a', yabDaq San vaQ cha, pu' je SIQDI'?
pagh, Seng bIQ'a'Hey SuvmeH nuHmey SuqDI',
'ej, Suvmo', rInmoHDI'? Hegh. Qong --- Qong neH ---
'ej QongDI', tIq 'oy', wa'SanID Daw''e' je
cho'nISbogh porghDaj rInmoHlaH net Har.)
4. Vivaldi's Four Seasons (why not seadaughters?)
5. Randomly picked up something

5 books:

1. How to build a luxury house on a deserted island
2. How to build electrocity on a deserted island
3. How to build fast internet connected laptop on a deserted island
4. How to build an easy-to-use helicopter on a deserted island
5. My RPG rulebooks (I printed the favs so I can put them together as one biiiiig book).

Luxury item: my bag of dice (with the dice of course).

Here I played. :)

Metamatician said...

Hahahaha. I think we have the winning comment for the Year 2010!!!!

Thanks Mandula... you are TOO funny.

Loved the Klingon Hamlet soliloquy. Loved the Bridge on the River Kwai OST (That whistling would get stuck in your head forever!)
Loved the RPG books and dice.
LOL at the "seadaughters".
Loved the how-to books...haha.
Loved the skeleton comment.
Loved the whole thing. :oD

Pack your bags and get ready, YOU'RE going on a trip!

*still laughing*

Mandula said...

Thank you very much. Im ready. :)

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