The BBC had this great show that I sometimes listened to as a lad back in Canada called Desert Island Disks. It’s reportedly the longest running music show in history. The basic idea is that you pick eight albums you take to a desert island. You then have to say which is your favorite. Then they say what book they’d take. (The show assumes you are allowed to take in addition the Complete Works of Shakespeare and the Bible so as to not get stuck in a rut with those) and one luxury item.
First my albums aren’t necessarily my favorites. But I’d almost be afraid to take my favorites since I’d only be listening to these 8. I have some great albums I’m not sure would stand up as well as some of these.
In no particular order
1. Joshua Tree – yeah this is a favorite. But it’s also one I always associate with the wilderness. We used to love playing this album after work in Los Alamos while driving down to White Rock to climb. For me, the suicide song on the album has nothing to do with suicide but everything to do with rock climbing in a storm. (Which might be suicidal according to some people)
2. Miles Davis – The Birth of Cool. How could you not have this one? It’d mellow you out no matter what.
3. Pink Floyd – A Momentary Lapse of Reason. An other album I associate with driving through the wilderness. My favorite album by them even though it’s just a live album from after the post-Rogers reforming of the band. It’s a great live album though.
4. Strauss – the Waltzes. There are dozens of different collections of this. I just love his waltzes though and play them every now and then to cheer up. To me its oddly closely associate with Miles Davis although I couldn’t tell you why. Of course my favorite of his is the Blue Danube waltz, although I love the Emperor waltz as well.
5. Robert Plant – The Principle of Moments. OK, this one will be controversial. It’s over all a so-so album. But I love, love, love the song Big Log (which sometime people call My Love is a Freeway since that’s the refrain in it). It’s the song I just associate with lounging at the beach on at a pool. It’s the perfect song for a desert island even if I have to take the rest of the album to get it.
6. Nirvana – Unplugged. I don’t care about you doubters. This is one of the greatest albums of all time. And even if I didn’t think so I’d take it just for his cover of Leadbelly’s Where Did You Sleep Last Night.
7. Elvis – The Essential Elvis Presley. How could one go without the King? Come on.
8. Johnny Cash – The Legend of Johnny Cash. A good album just because it includes his latter stuff that a lot of collections don’t include.
Of course if you are allowed boxed sets then the above would be much easier. Still, it was hard. I really had to think about why I had no Roy Orbison or Led Zepplin. Or Mozart for that matter. And I came really, really close to replacing Nirvana with Eric Clapton.
For best book that’s somewhat hard. Probably The Essential Peirce (he’s a favorite philosopher of mine) although Heidegger’s Being and Time was a close second. A good text on mathematical physics would be a third choice. But with only one it’s the Peirce book.
For a luxory item I’d get a toilet with a combo bidet. (And preferably an unending supply of toilet paper)