Sunday, 6 February 2011

Desert Island Discs

I've always enjoyed Desert Island Discs on Radio 4. Despite not knowing any of the songs. I'm crap at knowing about music. Really crap. I have a slightly unusual taste in music - as you will see in a minute - but it makes me happy, and that's the point in music really.

So. Just in case Desert Island Discs suddenly starts inviting completely un-famous 15 year-olds onto their programme to announce their favourite songs and mumble about their life and their relationship with their parents, I have compiled a list of my 8 favourite pieces of music. I will also attempt to do the text equivalent of mumbling. This could be quite hard but I'll have a go.
I will put a link to each piece of music so you can listen because otherwise you won't have a clue what I'm talking about. You probably don't anyway. But if you like it, please buy it from iTunes or Amazon or somewhere like that because you should always pay for music as the extremely talented musicians who recorded it need to be paid. If no one payed for music, my family wouldn't have any money. At all. So now I've made you feel guilty, here are my favourite pieces of music:

1) Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata - I like this piece of music a lot, it could even be my favourite of Beethoven's. It's very easy to listen to and also quite easy to play. It's one of the only pieces I can play on the piano and I learnt it all by ear and by experimenting with notes so it's very special to me. I reckon I could play it with my eyes closed - I certainly don't need to look at the music because I wouldn't understand any of it anyway. Mum says it probably wasn't the best piece to start with (apparently C♯ minor isn't the easiest key to play in) but I like the spookyness of the beginning and then how it eases off at the end as the piece becomes more natural.
You can listen to it here.

2) This is Gallifrey - this piece of music is from the Doctor Who Series 3 soundtrack and it is a beautiful piece. There is so much meaning and significance in it but it can only apply to the feeling of unpredictability and pure beauty of Gallifrey (yes, I know it's not a real planet). It took me a while to get into but I now consider it as one of the best pieces Murray Gold has ever composed.
You can listen to it here.

3) A Window to the Past - this is part of the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban soundtrack and it is by far my favourite track. It's so simple, yet so meaningful. It always reminds me of the best bits of Harry Potter, but more importantly, it signifies the past (hence the name). In the film, it is played as Harry reminisces with Lupin about his parents and their past and for me it means similar things. It always reminds me of my parents and my family and when I was growing up in London before Ben was born. This part of my life always seems separate from the rest of my life because it was a completely different way of living. It was full of Postman Pat and Winnie the Pooh toys and loft 'stenchons' (extensions) and two sets of parents (Megan and Will over the road were like my second parents. They were amazing. Now they live in Holland and it's the only place we can go on holiday without Ben making a fuss. There is no way anyone could dislike Will and Megan.) Anyway, if I were on Just A Minute, this would totally be called deviation so I'd better start talking about music again rather than my 3 or 4 years of life before Ben.
You can listen to it here.

4) Angry Dance - this is from Billy Elliot the Musical in the bit where Billy's dad and brother basically tell him he can't dance ever again. It is veeeeeery angry but also has amazing music. Lots of guitar and stuff. But there's also a lot of swearing so I have to be careful that Ben's not around when playing it (although he has walked in while I'm listening to Tim Minchin's Pope Song before. That was slightly awkward.) I had a 3 or 4 year long Billy Elliot phase so listened to it rather a lot and still do when I'm feeling angry. It's great to take your anger out with, especially when no one's around so you can swear and shout along with Billy. I also know the whole tap dance routine so play it out in my head when I'm listening. Fun times.
You can listen to it here. There are also lots of different live versions with different Billys. Some of my favourite Angry Dances include George Maguire's, Travis Yates', Tom Holland's and Michael Dameski's. They are all dotted around youtube.

5) Starlight - this is a Tweenies song (yes, I know I'm 15!) and I listen to it when I'm missing my childhood - you might be able to tell that I'm a very nostalgic person. It was always played in Tweenies Christmas Specials (specifically Merry Tweenie Christmas and The Enchanted Toyshop) and is such a beautiful song. This song reminds me of all the festive things we used to do at Christmas like decorating the tree together, putting together the Nativity set, wrapping presents, making paperchains, watching Christmas specials (Tweenies, Winnie the Pooh, The Bear, Father Christmas, The Snowman, etc, etc.) and generally doing fun Christmas things that fill young children with festive joy. We don't really do much of that anymore, and if we do it's not the same. But I'm sure it will be in a few years :)
You can listen to Starlight here (if you really want to).

6) Drowned - by Tim Minchin. This is one of my favourite Tim Minchin songs. I have many others but this is one of his more serious ones that means more to me so I thought I'd include it. He wrote it for an Australian film he was in and it's rather lovely. Very easy to listen to and full of meaningful emotion. I can't really explain why it means so much to me but it does.
You can listen to it here. But you'll have to ignore the man at the beginning. He was part of the film. I didn't like him very much.

7) Swan Lake - the most famous bit. Not sure what it's called. Possibly Act two. Or one. Or both. It's in it quite a lot. Meh, don't know. The bit everyone knows anyway. I will ask my dad. I like this because it's just a very beautiful piece of music. I've always liked it. I think my dad might have played in it before I was born. He's done a few shows. He was doing Oliver almost as I was being born. Once when I was a baby, he was holding me just before he was about to go on to do a concert and I was sick down his back. Ha ha ha.
Here is a bit of Swan Lake. The famous bit. The rest is also good so you should listen to that if you have time. But my dad did actually record a version of Swan Lake so if you illegally download it, you are effectively stealing my dad's money. And that's what buys my family food. So don't illegally download it. But everyone who reads my blog is lovely so I'm sure you don't illegally download stuff. Which is why I like you all so much :)

8) I'm Not Saying a Word - from Blood Brothers (the Willy Russell musical). Not my favourite song musically but the lyrics struck a chord with me. The play is all about Mickey and Eddie who are twins separated at birth. They then become friends when they're older and also are friends with a girl called Linda. She and Mickey are in love and eventually get married and so Eddie, who had always loved Linda, feels extremely left out and sad. So this song is all about him declaring his love for Linda and not knowing how to say it. He describes what it feels like to be in love with someone for years without them knowing or caring, and as cheesy as it sounds, I know what that feels like and it's crap. So this song is quite relevant to my life and it's the only one I know that describes this feeling so it's quite special. Although, again, it's not brilliant musically. Willy Russell has written better songs.
You can't actually listen to it unless you buy it because of copyright issues so here is another Blood Brothers song I like.

Well that was fun. In Desert Island Discs they have to choose one track out of those 8 that they would have if they could only have one. I think I'll choose A Window to the Past from Harry Potter 3 because it carries so many memories and is the most magical (no pun intended) musically. And in addition to the Bible - which I would use as a chair or pillow - and the complete works of Shakespeare, I would take the complete Harry Potter series because I could read them over and over again without getting bored. I have actually. I've read/listened to all of them at least 10 times. My luxury would be..... either Harry Potter lego or a circuit of Brio - including the Thomas the Tank Engine train set. I will decide which next year. I'm not expecting either to be invited on to Desert Island Discs or actually left stranded on an island any time soon so I've got a bit of time to decide.