Monday, June 04, 2007
I sit on the shore of my own personal desert island, staring across the perfect blue sea to the horizon. The last remnants of my ship sink beneath the waves. My tattered jeans are caked in salt and sand, my skin stubbled and sun burnt. I shade my eyes from the relentless sun, as I seek shelter under the gently swaying palm trees. My throat is parched, and my muscles still burn from the exertion of escaping the wreck. But I wallow in these physical woes, hoping to drain out the psychological pain of my desert island dystopia. Loneliness, helplessness and the loss of that most precious commodity: hope.I attempt to take solace in the few still playable tracks on my mp3 player. Here's what I can only pray survived the surf...
1. The Beatles - 'Dear Prudence'
The Fabs' finest moment, formed from their hazy days in Rishikesh. What better song to accompany the woozy feeling the heat inflicts on me? The guitars chime around John's literal beckoning to Prudence to come out of the shade into the day. It's time to embrace the sunny skies and come out to play.
2. Glen Campbell - 'Wichita Lineman'
But soon the loneliness bites hard. I can hear the voices of the ones I love in the gentle breaking of the waves on the beach at my feet, and in the rustling of the trees above. I'm the Wichita Lineman, hearing singing in the wires. Such understated beauty and emotion expressed through the mundane. Sheer perfection.
'And I need you more than want you, and I want you for all time.'
3. Jackie Wilson - '(Your Love Keeps On Lifting Me) Higher and Higher'
So it's time to remember the good times: focus on the positive. It's time to dance. And this is just what every deserted islander needs: Impossible to keep still to, impossible not to grin and dance and sing along to. The sand flies as I whirl around my own private paradise, banishing the darkness with a heart bursting with joy, soul and love. Every time I hear this I think it's the greatest song ever recorded. I defy anyone to find a more life affirming two minutes and 51 seconds.
4. Wire - 'Outdoor Miner'
And now to slip into some utterly sublime nonsense. The most beautiful thing ever produced by so called punks, I have no idea what it's about. All I know is that it's plucking every nerve in my body. Wire recorded two different versions of this wonderful record. Please, please don't force me to choose between them. I lie on my side in the cool shade of the leaf structure, watching the sands run between my toes like an egg timer.
5. Daft Punk - 'Digital Love'
Oh, I feel almost overcome by melancholy, I need to dance again. To something heartfelt yet silly, fun but wistful. And so we have this glorious mash of disco, soft rock and electropop. For five short minutes I lose myself in a dream collaboration between Chic, Supertramp and Buggles. The blazing sun becomes a mirrorball, filtered through the canopy above, and I can play air guitar without fear of anyone catching me.
6. Death Cab For Cutie - 'Transatlanticism'
But eventually the dancing stops, and reality must return. The ocean stretches out before me, less like a lake and more like a moat. I think of the footsteps I'll no longer be able to take. All I can think is "I need you so much closer, I need you so much closer..."
7. Joy Division - 'Atmosphere'
...but all I can do is walk away, in silence.
8. Blur - 'Sing' (as heard in Trainspotting...)
And so the sun sets to my favourite song of all time by my favourite band. Sounding, it must be said, nothing like my favourite band. Stabs of piano swirl around me, with echoing swathes of guitar. It builds and builds until the final throb of bass and piercing wail of feedback scream out into the night, with a simple message: Sing to me.
As the music fades away, I thumb through a battered copy of Nick Hornby's 'High Fidelity', a novel seemingly written as an ode to my life in London, whilst slowly devouring a bottomless pot of Haagen Dazs Midnight Cookies Ice Cream, already looking forward to my next day on the island.
Ta to P for the idea of doing this, original credit to Radio 4, naturally...