Desert Island Discs

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pages: 374 words: 110,238

Fall: The Mysterious Life and Death of Robert Maxwell, Britain's Most Notorious Media Baron by John Preston

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, computer age, Desert Island Discs, Donald Trump, Fall of the Berlin Wall, G4S, global village, intangible asset, invention of the wheel, Jeffrey Epstein, Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil Kinnock, Nelson Mandela, Ronald Reagan, Seymour Hersh, the market place

They protested that as Maxwell was still under eighteen he couldn’t be executed without being found guilty of something. Unwilling to provoke a diplomatic incident, the Hungarians hurriedly arranged a trial. In January 1940, he was loaded into the back of a van and driven off to the courthouse. Nearly fifty years later, Maxwell was a guest on the long-running BBC radio show Desert Island Discs. The presenter, Michael Parkinson, introduced him by saying, ‘If our castaway needed the money, which he doesn’t, he could sell his life story to Hollywood . . . It supports the theory that often truth is more exotic than fiction.’ Parkinson went on to ask Maxwell about being taken off to be tried back in 1940.

‘Right,’ said Maxwell, ‘Let’s eat.’ ‘But what about the other guests?’ Maloney asked. Maxwell looked at him in surprise. ‘What other fucking guests?’ he said, ‘It’s just the two of us.’ 17. A Very Happy Person In July 1987, Robert Maxwell was a guest on the long-running BBC radio programme Desert Island Discs, where he was interviewed by the show’s presenter, Michael Parkinson. After describing Maxwell’s life story as ‘more exotic than fiction’, Parkinson went on to depict him as ‘a big-league player with the resources and the bravado to walk where angels fear to tread. He is Robert Maxwell.’ MP:‘Bob, have you ever been tempted to write this remarkable life story of yours?’

For the first time, a note of wistfulness comes into his voice. RM:‘No, not for a little while . . . I could use the luxury of having time to think . . .’ He seems about to say something else, then changes his mind, taking Parkinson by surprise. There is an awkward silence. MP:‘Robert Maxwell, thank you for letting us hear your Desert Island Discs.’ Anyone who didn’t know much, or anything, about Maxwell before listening to this would have been left with certain impressions. Above all, that he was a very happy man with a rock-solid marriage and children he adored. A natural optimist who had managed to put the trauma of his childhood firmly behind him.

pages: 287 words: 77,181

Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday

Chekhov's gun, Desert Island Discs, double helix, Norman Mailer, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, stem cell

Click below to sign up and see terms and conditions. CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP Already a subscriber? Provide your email again so we can register this ebook and send you more of what you like to read. You will continue to receive exclusive offers in your inbox. CONTENTS I Folly II Madness III Ezra Blazer’s Desert Island Discs Acknowledgments About the Author For Theo I FOLLY We all live slapstick lives, under an inexplicable sentence of death . . . —MARTIN GARDNER, The Annotated Alice ALICE WAS BEGINNING TO get very tired of all this sitting by herself with nothing to do: every so often she tried again to read the book in her lap, but it was made up almost exclusively of long paragraphs, and no quotation marks whatsoever, and what is the point of a book, thought Alice, that does not have any quotation marks?

It wasn’t so much that I was hungover—although I did drink too much, and, one morning, having awoken to the surreal cadences of the Shipping Forecast, thought for a moment I’d done irreversible damage to my brain. It was more that my new Saturday nights, quintessentially British and brimming with camaraderie, felt like whatever I’d been running to, which no longer needed to be found. The first Desert Island Discs castaway I ever heard was Joseph Rotblat, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who’d helped to invent the atomic bomb and then spent much of the rest of his life trying to undo the consequences. In his nineties now, he spoke urgently, with a Polish accent and the ragged rasp of age, and he described for the interviewer how, after Hiroshima, he’d vowed to change his life in two major ways.

Hassan’s offered seventy-five. Approaching their own reflections in the open window opposite my chair the vehicles appeared to drive into themselves, to glide eastward and westward at once—their hoods and wheels and windshields to disappear into antimatter, the flag to devour itself. III EZRA BLAZER’S DESERT ISLAND DISCS [recorded at BBC Broadcasting House in London on February 14, 2011] INTERVIEWER: My castaway this week is a writer. A clever boy originally from the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he graduated from Allegheny College swiftly into the pages of Playboy, The New Yorker, and The Paris Review, where his short stories about postwar working-class Americans earned him a reputation as a fiercely candid and unconventional talent.

pages: 375 words: 111,615

Operation Chastise: The RAF's Most Brilliant Attack of World War II by Max Hastings

Desert Island Discs, Etonian, Fellow of the Royal Society, IFF: identification friend or foe

What’s the bomb-aimer in Henry Maudslay’s ship thinking, because he won’t be coming back? . . . One hour to go, one hour to think of these things, one hour to fly on a straight course and then it will be weaving and sinking to escape the light flak and the fury of the enemy defence.’ A few months later, he chose as one of his favourite records on BBC radio’s Desert Island Discs Wagner’s ‘Ride of the Valkyries’: ‘it’s exciting, it’s grandiose, it’s . . . rather terrible. It reminds me of a bombing raid.’ Then Guy Gibson thought about his dog, which was newly dead; and about the epic experience ahead, which would make him one of the most famous fliers in history. ‘This was the big thing,’ he wrote.

‘If, by any chance, we had a hope of winning this war . . . then in order to protect our children let the young men who had done the fighting have a say in the affairs of State.’ In a mad moment, encouraged by Churchill himself, he accepted an invitation to become Conservative parliamentary candidate for Macclesfield, though three months later he saw sense and stepped down. He was featured as the castaway for an early edition of BBC radio’s Desert Island Discs, on which he told Roy Plomley frankly: ‘I’m not a highbrow by any means. In fact I can’t claim to know an awful lot about music at all. Somehow, I never seem to have had time to do anything about it, except to listen occasionally to something that I liked the sound of.’ His first choice of record was the Warsaw Concerto, which he said his old squadron’s officers used to play incessantly on their gramophone until – here was a stab of the melancholy characteristic of the man – ‘there were very few left in the mess who remembered those that had listened to it first in the days gone by’.

Because a national hero’s name was involved, the prime minister’s office was informed, either by Mrs Gibson or by police, before the case was heard. Officials warned against interfering with the course of justice, and by the time of the hearing the airman’s story had anyway ended. Roy Plomley signed off Gibson on Desert Island Discs by saying, ‘Good luck, happy landings, and thank you.’ Gibson responded, ‘Goodnight, everyone.’ But there were to be no happy landings. Having somehow contrived to fly on two or three raids during the summer, he was killed on the night of 19 September 1944, after acting as master bomber – airborne controller, the role he pioneered on Chastise – for a less than successful 5 Group attack on the neighbouring German cities of Rheydt and Mönchengladbach.

pages: 252 words: 80,924

Sarah Millican--The Queen of Comedy by Tina Campanella

call centre, Desert Island Discs, Saturday Night Live, side project, Skype, upwardly mobile

‘Thanks for all the lovely messages from friends and fans alike. Bunch of smashers, you are. X’ The wedding was a simple yet personal affair and Sarah revealed some of the details of the big day when she took part in Desert Island Discs later that year. She told radio host Kirsty Young that, as she wasn’t particularly religious, there weren’t any hymns that she particularly liked so she decided to choose something less traditional – Paul McCartney’s ‘Frog Chorus’. As an avid listener of Desert Island Discs, she told Kirsty she had got the idea when she listened to actress Kathy Burke on the show. ‘There was a Frank Sinatra song and it was in the order of service of a wedding she was at and it said it in the service sheet “everybody sing with gusto” and I remember listening to that and thinking how lovely, to just go “we love this song, we want all of our friends and family to sing it.”

And the comedian wasn’t going to let this vile abuse get her down and she vowed to herself the following day, when her upset turned to anger, that if she was invited to the BAFTAs again the following year she would wear that same dress. ‘I felt wonderful in that dress, surely that’s all that counts?’ she asked readers. When she appeared on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs the following year she talked about the more modern form of bullying that exists on social media. ‘The public, fans, nice people, realise how unimportant it is,’ she told Kirsty Young. ‘I was thrilled to be there [at the BAFTAs] it was so flattering. And then to be pulled apart for something so unimportant seems really odd.

pages: 110 words: 6,180

The Visual Miscellaneum: A Colorful Guide to the World's Most Consequential Trivia by David McCandless

Desert Island Discs, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the scientific method

X “is the new” Black : Google,,,, (Searches for the phrase “is the new” on various media websites. Idea: Randall Szott). Kilograms of Carbon & Tons of Carbon : New York Times, Environmental Protection Agency, IPCC, Energy Information Administration, UNESCO // Books Everyone Should Read : Desert Island Discs, Pulitzer Prize,, World Day Book Poll, Booker Prize, BBC Big Reads, Oprah’s Book Club List & the author’s own top five // Which Fish are Okay to Eat? : Marine Conservation Society, Greenpeace, Seafood Watch //

pages: 327 words: 112,191

War Doctor: Surgery on the Front Line by David Nott

Desert Island Discs, Kickstarter, Live Aid, Skype

Listening to that broadcast was the artist Bob and Roberta Smith, one of the most delightful people I have ever met, who took our words and made them into a five-metre-high by four-metre-wide painting which hung in the 2014 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. In 2016 I was honoured to be asked to do Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4. I was in the studio for about two hours and deeply uncertain, when the recording finished, how I would come across when it was broadcast. The response to the programme was astonishing and I remain deeply humbled by the kind messages that I still receive from people saying that the words I said and music I chose meant something to them. I am so grateful to Cathy Drysdale, Kirsty Young and all their team for giving me the opportunity. Desert Island Discs gave a great boost to the charity I established with Elly, the David Nott Foundation.

On David’s birthday in 2015, I received notification that we had been granted charitable status. Two weeks later, Molly was born. The David Nott Foundation has grown extraordinarily since our early beginnings. We have been hugely helped by David’s profile in the media and in particular the Desert Island Discs broadcast in June 2016. We still get letters now about that very special piece of radio. As a young charity, every donation feels personal, an expression of faith in us, and we take that responsibility very seriously. In the last three years our foundation teams have trained more than 550 doctors during seven Hostile Environment Surgical Training courses.

Ma’am Darling by Craig Brown

British Empire, Desert Island Discs, Etonian, Joan Didion, Norman Mailer, North Sea oil, sensible shoes

Tony remarked to Princess Margaret’s biographer, Tim Heald, nearly half a century later. In the same conversation he would refer to Tennant once again as ‘that shit’. 46 ‘I’m delighted that our castaway this week is Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon,’ announces Roy Plomley, the oleaginous presenter of Desert Island Discs. ‘Ma’am, have you a big collection of records?’ ‘Ears, quate.’ ‘Have you kept your old 78s?’ ‘Oh ears, they’re all velly carefully …’ – she pauses, as if searching for the right word – ‘… preserved.’ ‘They’re very heavy of course – you’ve got them down in the cellar?’ ‘Eh hev them up in the ettic, eckshleh.’

Her luxury? ‘Eh think Eh’d take a piano.’ Book? ‘Eh should like War end Peace.’ ‘A good long read.’ ‘A good long read, and rather needs reading several times, so that would keep me geng for a lawng time.’ ‘I should think it would! And thank you, Your Royal Highness, for letting us hear your Desert Island Discs.’ ‘Thenk you, too.’ ‘Goodbye, everyone.’ In his history of Radio 4, Life on Air, David Hendy reports considerable criticism of this episode within the BBC. Already upset by Plomley’s ‘reluctance to follow up interesting statements, or to raise topical issues, or even to change the relentlessly chronological running order of his questions’, the powers-that-be felt that his handling of Princess Margaret almost brought the programme to a grinding halt.

A current affairs producer argued that Plomley had simply been too obsequious, while a BBC governor judged that the final result had been, quite simply, ‘terrible’. Some years later, sitting next to the novelist A.N. Wilson at a dinner party, Princess Margaret said that she couldn’t recall which luxury she had chosen on Desert Island Discs. ‘I believe it was one of your regiments, Ma’am,’ replied Wilson. 47 Back from honeymoon, their married life began swimmingly. Tony and ‘M’, as he called her, seemed set to become the golden couple of the Swinging Sixties, gaily swinging from royal to commoner, from grand to groovy, as and when the mood took them.

pages: 229 words: 67,869

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

4chan, AltaVista, Berlin Wall, Broken windows theory, Burning Man, Clive Stafford Smith, cognitive dissonance, Desert Island Discs, different worldview, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Google Hangouts, illegal immigration, Menlo Park, PageRank, Ralph Nader, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, Skype, Stanford prison experiment, Steve Jobs, urban planning, WikiLeaks

After a few minutes he bounded over to me. ‘I’m Clive Stafford Smith,’ he said. I knew a little about him from his interview on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs - about how he was all set for a life in British society until one day at his boarding school he saw a drawing in a book of Joan of Arc being burned at the stake and realized she looked like his sister. So in his twenties he became a death row lawyer in Mississippi, and has been defending death row and Guantanamo prisoners ever since. The Desert Island Discs presenter, Sue Lawley, treated him with baffled amazement, as Queen Victoria would a lord who had gone off to explore darkest Africa.

pages: 249 words: 81,217

The Art of Rest: How to Find Respite in the Modern Age by Claudia Hammond

Anton Chekhov, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, Desert Island Discs, Donald Trump, El Camino Real, iterative process, Kickstarter, lifelogging, longitudinal study, Menlo Park, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, moral panic, Stephen Hawking, The Spirit Level, The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen

, a show which ran for more than twenty years and whose full title was Why Don’t You Just Switch Off Your Television Set and Go Out and Do Something Less Boring Instead? There is something gloriously Reithian about this title: a BBC TV programme that suggests in a high-minded way that TV is bad for children. When the comedian Bob Mortimer was on the famous radio show Desert Island Discs recently, he said one of the things he would most miss when he was marooned on the island is watching the television. The format of this flagship Radio 4 programme, unchanged in nearly eighty years, speaks volumes. Guests are allowed to take along eight records, they can take a book in addition to The Complete Works of Shakespeare and The Bible and they also choose a luxury.

It seems that having an eclectic musical taste might help us to relax better because, after all, we have a wide range of moods too. Sometimes some serious Bach does the trick, at other times some schmaltzy Barry Manilow. It might be grime that’s perfect for you. I always think the guests on Desert Island Discs who sound most sorted in life are those who choose a range of styles, from Beyoncé to Beethoven. The Finnish study seems to back this up. So variety is good, but how about volume, how about tempo? Loud or Low? Fast or Slow? Imagine you’ve kindly given up your time to take part in a psychology experiment.

pages: 305 words: 87,514

My Kitchen in Rome: Recipes and Notes on Italian Cooking by Rachel Roddy

Desert Island Discs

Whether I toast the bread or not depends on the extent of the rush. I don’t usually have radishes sitting around, but one day I did, and discovered how good alternating bites of anchovy and butter-drenched toast are with crisp, peppery radish, especially when leaning against the sink listening to Desert Island Discs. Gobbled snacks aside, this does make a good, companionable start to a meal. I put a pile of toast or bread, a pat of butter, a jar of anchovies, and a couple of bunches of washed and dried radishes, ideally with leaves, in the middle of the table and tell everyone to get on with it. It is the inimitable Fergus Henderson of St John restaurant who reminds us to seek out radishes with happy leaves: pert, lively greens that reassure us of recent picking, thoughtful bundling, and minimal travel.

Polpette al sugo Meatballs in tomato sauce I like making meatballs nearly as much as I like eating them. The forgiving proportions, the easy squish and squash of it all, the fact that mixing and molding the balls requires only half of your attention, allowing the rest to wander off somewhere else, a kitchen conversation or another episode of Desert Island Discs, perhaps. I like a mixture of pork and beef, half and half ideally, but any proportions will do. I also like the addition of bread crumbs soaked in milk for precisely the reason that some people don’t like the addition of bread crumbs soaked in milk: they give the meatballs a slightly bready plumpness.

pages: 261 words: 87,663

And Away... by Bob Mortimer

Desert Island Discs, loadsamoney, wikimedia commons

All that I had needed was a safe environment free from the critical eye and about forty hours of podcasting to get me there. It feels sweet to learn a new skill when you are nearly sixty years old. Armed with this new ability, I started to enjoy doing the occasional solo appearance on podcasts like those of Richard Herring and Adam Buxton, and radio interviews such as an episode of Desert Island Discs with the lovely Lauren Laverne. I found that I no longer felt the need to just be the funny guy. I was actually better at just being myself. I realised I was able to talk about life in general and tell stories from my past and still seem to entertain an audience. Perhaps most enjoyable were my appearances on Would I Lie to You?

For a comprehensive list of locations of any word or phrase, use your reading system’s search function. 24 249–50 10,000 Maniacs 207 Abbott and Costello 201 Ablett, Rachel 313 Action Image Exchange 200–1 Aherne, Caroline 231 Albany Empire, Deptford 189, 192, 194–5, 196–202, 202, 203, 208, 215 Allen, Shane 268, 312 Allen, Steve ‘Stava’ 40, 47 Anth 235 Ariel Leader 213 art college girls 93 Astbury, Ian 206 At Home with Vic and Bob 226 Athletico Mince 150, 269–71 Atkinson, Rowan 209 Aylward, Fred 181, 199 Bad Company 130 Baddiel, David 231 Baker, Danny 184, 227, 228 Bang, Bang: It’s Reeves and Mortimer 223, 224, 251 Banks, Morwenna 250, 253 BBC management 225–6 Beardsley, Peter 270 Bellas, Mickey 47–8 Belton, Ian 25 Ben (university friend) 121 Bennett Jones, Peter 209, 224–5 Berry, Matt 6, 79, 80, 93, 254–5, 256, 270, 272 Bewley, Lydia Rose 262 Big Breakfast 275 Bilberry, Rich 210, 211 Birkin, John 312 Björk 299 Blackburn, Andy 182 The Blue Nile 42 Bovey, Grant 261 Bowes, Bob 5–6 Breaking Bad 247 Brian (bin man) 106–7, 108, 109 Bridgewood, Keith ‘Cagsy’ 37, 39–40, 41, 46, 47, 51, 53–5, 57, 62–4, 69–72, 75, 79, 87–8, 90, 91, 93, 100, 102, 103–5, 110, 130, 303, 307 Brighton 93, 121 Brindley, David 313 Brine, Keith 25 Brit Awards 235–8 Brown, James 218, 219 brown shoes 18 Brydon, Rob 258, 273 Burge, Steve 312 Burke, Kathy 204, 205 The Butcher 185 Butler, John 157 Buxton, Adam 271 Byetheway, Steve 25 Byrne, David 206 David Byrne look-a-like 151, 174, 175–6 Cadbury Boost bar advertisement 291–4 Cambridge University 116–19, 120 camping holidays 87–8 Carlisle, Belinda 232 Catterick 79, 223, 224, 249–54 Cavalli Green, Lisa 313 celebrity interviews 232 characters (Vic Reeves Big Night Out) Action Image Exchange 200–1 The Butcher 185 Davy Stott and his dancing bott 188–9 Doctor King and his Flying Rabbits 184 Donald and Davy Stott 198–9, 209, 224, 243, 298 Graham Lister 204–5, 209, 215, 243 Judge Nutmeg 185–6, 197–8, 227, 243 Les 199, 200 Les Pantalons 184 The Living Carpets Lunch Club 200 The Man with the Stick 185, 196–7, 209 Morrissey the Consumer Monkey 216 Mr Dennis the Shopkeeper 195 Peter Rosewood the Perfumer 195 Talc and Turnips 194 Tinker’s Rugsack 186–7 The Toff 185, 195 Cheeseman, Gary 25 Cher 212, 283 Chignell, Caroline 209 Chill Out (KLF) 299 Chris (Manchester friend) 135, 136 Christmas presents 18–19, 30–1, 140 Chubby Chicken frozen chicken factory 65–9 Chuck, Charlie 311–12 Claffey, Paul 141 Clark, Lisa 6, 260, 275, 277, 278 Cleese, John 154 Clunes, Martin 227, 231 Cock, Richard 117 Cocker, Jarvis 235–8 cockroach infestations 161–4 Coe, Sebastian 196 Cole, Lloyd 36, 284 Coleman, Nicola 313 Collier, Norman 153 Collins, Phil 206–7 Coogan, Steve 273 Cooper, Tommy 154, 188 Corden, James 250 corporal punishment 14, 61 Craggs, Geoff 25, 26–7 Cranston, Bryan 247 Crombie, Alan 25 Crook, Dorian 181, 185, 195, 211, 229, 283 Crystal Palace FC 203–4 The Cult 206 Curry Cottage, Manchester 134 Dad’s Army 226, 257 Dave (The Walrus - Manchester friend) 135, 147–8 Davidson, Alan 181 Davy Stott and his dancing bott 188–9 Dawson, Andy 269–70 Dee, Jack 289, 313 Dennis, Les 260 Dennis, Mr, the Shopkeeper 195 Dent, Jack 181 Derbyshire Wye 276 Desert Island Discs 271 Diamond, Neil 90 Difford, Chris 184 dinner parties 272 Doctor King and his Flying Rabbits 184 Dog Dirt (band) 69–75 Drifters 261–2 drugs 101–2, 175 Duggan, Mr (solicitor) 167–8, 169–70 Easy Listening Man 195 Eddie’s Café, Woolwich Road 214–15 Edinburgh Festival 210–11, 311–12 Edmondson, Ade 254 Ellard, Tony 167, 168–70 Emma (girlfriend) 191, 192 Enfield, Harry 209, 286–7, 289 Essex, David 92 Evans, Lee 246–7 Ewart Studios 215 Families at War 223, 262–3, 275 fans and celebrity status 272 The Fast Show 262, 270 Ferris, Ian 113–15 Ferry, Bryan 199 Fields, W.C. 154 fifth wall, breaking down 256–7 fireworks 27–9, 141, 299 First Direct advertisement 303 fishing 88, 127–9, 139, 271–3 fly-casting 139 Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Christmas Fishing 260 Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing 23, 274–9, 313 football 25–6, 27, 37–8, 44, 75–6, 93, 135, 149, 269–70 hooliganism 55–6 podcast 269–71 see also Middlesbrough FC Ford Zephyr 17 fourth wall, breaking down 256 Fowler, Detective Inspector ‘Kinky’ John 251 Fox, Emilia 243, 244, 245, 246, 247 Free 39, 300 friends and socialising 93, 272, 273, 283–4 shyness 24–5, 36, 38, 75–6, 99–100, 122, 135, 190–1, 307–8 Fry, Stephen 231, 234 Fry and Laurie 247 Fyfe, Stephanie 313 Gallagher, Liam 238 Gallen, Conal 141 Gascoigne, Paul 184, 206 Gaul, Paddy 134–5, 136, 307 gelatine factory 30 Genn, Antony 81 Gentlemen’s motorcycle club 213–14 George Dawes, The Man with the Scores 230, 233 Gervais, Ricky 261 Gibb, Robin 240–1 Glennon, Gerry 141 Globe Theatre, Southwark 155 Goldsmiths Tavern, New Cross 125–6, 177, 179–89, 195, 209 Goodmonson (cat) 86, 284 Grade, Michael 208, 211 Grannycombe, Neil 25 Great Canal Journeys 273 Green Lane Junior School, Middlesbrough 25 Greenwood, Mr (legal client) 170–3 Groucho Club 234 Grove pub, Camberwell 33, 153, 174, 182, 283 Hacienda, Manchester 137 Hagman, Larry 240 Hale and Pace 231 The Hammond Organ 180, 184 Hargreaves, Jack 139 Harley Davidson 214 Harriman, Pete ‘Harry’ 40, 47, 51, 52, 55, 57, 69, 70, 91, 110, 130 Harriott, Ainsley 215 Harry Enfield and Chums 205 Have I Got News for You?

pages: 255 words: 92,719

All Day Long: A Portrait of Britain at Work by Joanna Biggs

Anton Chekhov, bank run, banking crisis, call centre, Chelsea Manning, credit crunch, David Graeber, Desert Island Discs, Downton Abbey, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial independence, future of work, G4S, glass ceiling, industrial robot, job automation, land reform, low skilled workers, mittelstand, Northern Rock, payday loans, Right to Buy, Second Machine Age, six sigma, Steve Jobs, trickle-down economics, unpaid internship, wages for housework, Wall-E

But it’s just the job.’ Harrison’s training was about approaching perfection: ‘we’re all way over the line into obsession, but we’re all the same so we think it’s OK.’ Her teachers told her she would be happy with only three performances in her entire career (the odds Fonteyn gave Roy Plomley on Desert Island Discs in 1965 were better: she was happy with one in twenty of her performances). It’s an exigent way of life that she worries is being lost: ‘I just despair at the whole X Factor generation. It really concerns me.’ In an email, Harrison added: ‘A lesson that my profession taught me early on and is imprinted upon me is that the most rewarding moments, and the achievements that feel spectacular, are those which you have worked so incredibly hard for.

Nicola Fifield reported that pay was lower for freelance dancers than for box office staff in a Telegraph article of 9 November 2014: ‘Royal Opera House in dispute with dancers over pay’. The history of White Lodge is available on the Royal Ballet School website. You can hear Margot Fonteyn on Desert Island Discs from 12 April 1965 on the BBC Radio 4 website. My brief account of the history of the Royal Ballet relies on the chapter ‘Alone in Europe: The British Moment’ in Jennifer Homans’s Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet (Granta, 2010) as well as Autobiography by Margot Fonteyn (Magna Print Books, 1976) and An English Ballet by Ninette de Valois (Oberon, 2011).

pages: 347 words: 94,701

Don't Trust, Don't Fear, Don't Beg: The Extraordinary Story of the Arctic 30 by Ben Stewart

3D printing, Desert Island Discs, Edward Snowden, mega-rich, new economy, oil rush, Skype, WikiLeaks

Felt very good to fulfil that walk that I’d thought so much about in Murmansk. Walking Joe was on Tuesday and I took the long path back from Finchley Road to West Hampstead alongside the train tracks. For some reason I’d wanted to do that too. I was listening to the explorer Ray Mears on BBC Radio 4 Desert Island Discs. He mentions the driving force and reason why some survive for many days in the face of disaster. It’s loved ones. Prison is not the perilous jungles of the outback but the isolation drove me to yearn and hope to be back with Nell, Joe + Nina. Denis is back behind a camera, capturing new chapters in his country’s long and storied history.

v=8xRT7wQiebw 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101David Lange, My Life (Auckland, 2005), pp. 222–3, pp. 274–5. 102Terry Crowdy, Military Misdemeanours: Corruption, Incompetence, Lust and Downright Stupidity (Oxford, 2007), p. 246. 103 104 105 106Dear Comrade 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 INDEX Akhan, Gizem, in SIZO-1, Murmansk 198 Akhmatova, Anna 277, 278 Alexander (lawyer) 243, 263 Alexei (inmate) 101, 108, 109–10, 211 imprisonment of 110 Allakhverdov, Andrey, in SIZO-1, Murmansk 110–11, 125 Amnesty International, Litvinov Sr alerts 86 Anders, William 1 Andrews, Iris 136 Andropov, Yuri 95 Anton (inmate) 282, 295, 305, 310, 311, 317 Arctic: ‘always been Russian’ 176 calls for sanctuary status of 346–7 as planet’s air conditioner 131 Russian platform in, see Arctic 30 activists/crew; Prirazlomnaya platform and Russian seabed flag 129, 170, 176 Arctic 30 activists/crew: accused of being CIA 49 and Amnesty Bill 329–33 bail applications for 290–1, 296–300, 302–4, 305–11, 319; granted, see individual activists/crew calls to Russian embassies for release of 134 campaign to free: apology statement drafted by 173–4; appeals launched by 155, 179–80; Christensen made leader of 51–2; and Christensen’s global sources 168; Emergency Day of Solidarity 134–5; further global action by 193, 296–7; Gazprom stations shut down by 139; global co-ordination by 136–7; global hubs of 135; London hub of 135–6; and UEFA Champions League game 137–9 charges against 204 eventual numbers calling for release of 346 families called from Arctic Sunrise by 53 hashtag devised for 50 initial interrogations of 57–8 Investigative Committee HQ arrival of 56 Investigative Committee tries to split 252 jail arrival of, Murmansk 68–9 jail arrival of, St Petersburg 276–7 jail sentences pronounced on 65–6 London homecoming of members of 335–6 Moscow march for release of 208 Murmansk arrival of 55–6 Nobel laureates’ plea for 199 piracy charges against 5, 58, 101, 109, 121, 147; hooliganism substituted for 204–6 post-release bonds among women of 323 post-release confinement of 328 Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights offers to act as guarantor for 263 at Prirazlomnaya protest 19–28 prison psychologist’s meeting with 119–20 prison transfer of 270–3, 275–6; prospect of 257–8, 260, 264, 267–9 Russian citizens complain about detention of 129 smuggled letters to and from 159–60 state broadcaster’s news reports on 110–11 supplies got to 162 thirtieth day of imprisonment of 193 Tutu’s letter concerning 198 see also Arctic Sunrise Arctic Sunrise: film footage of Russians’ raid on, see camera memory card, footage on FSB’s drugs-find claim concerning 189–93 guns fired towards 25–6, 28–9 ITLOS orders release of 322 Prirazlomnaya hailed by 21 Prirazlomnaya platform observed by 11–12 RHIBs launched from 11–12 Russian occupation of 31–41 Russians’ aggressive radio messages to 14 Russians disable comms systems of 37 towing of, to Murmansk 41–7 see also Arctic 30 activists/crew Argus 342, 348 Artamov, Andrey 8 Auden, W.H. 93 Ayliffe, Ben 33, 136, 172, 186–7, 289, 302, 306 and FSB’s drugs-find claim 190 ‘Babinski, Mr’ (smuggler) 160, 163, 205, 226 Ball, Phil: and Amnesty Bill 332 appeal of 181 bail application of 319; granted 321 camera memory card hidden and smuggled out by, see camera memory card, footage on cell of 73 jail arrivals of, see under Arctic 30 activists/crew jail sentence pronounced on 66 leaves Russia 334–5 and Mikhail Ulyanov 340, 347–8 at Prirazlomnaya protest, see under Arctic 30 activists/crew prison messages of 85, 102 release of, on bail 321–2, 325–6 and Russian seizure of Arctic Sunrise, see under Arctic Sunrise in SIZO-1, Murmansk 73, 75, 79, 85, 102, 144, 155–6, 202, 262; and cell searches 163; and Gulag Gazette 212–15; and ‘Why I am not a hooligan’ letter 205–6 in SIZO-1, St Petersburg, awaiting paperwork for release 321, 325 strip-searched 71 and Winter Olympics campaign design 172 see also Arctic 30 activists/crew Beauchamp, Jon, in SIZO-1, Murmansk 263 Beránek, Jan 297–8, 299, 302, 303, 306, 307–8 Bolshevik Revolution in 90 Boris (inmate) 7–10 passim, 109, 112–15, 122–3, 142, 148, 194–5, 202, 206, 251–2, 267–8, 269 charges against 6 described 5–6 Borman, Frank 1 BP: Deepwater Horizon platform of, see Deepwater Horizon platform Northstar drilling operations of 128 Brezhnev, Leonid 95, 96 Bronshtein, Lev 89 (See also Leon Trotsky) Brownell, Sonia 93 Bryan, Kieron: appeal of 181 camera memory card hidden by 45 cell of 71–2 described 71 and fellow inmate (Ivan) 72–3 girlfriend of (Nancy) 182 jail arrivals of, see under Arctic 30 activists/crew jail sentence pronounced on 66 leaves Russia 334–5 marriage of 343 at Prirazlomnaya protest, see under Arctic 30 activists/crew prison messages of 85 and Russian seizure of Arctic Sunrise, see under Arctic Sunrise in SIZO-1, Murmansk 71–3, 74–5, 79, 85, 100 Cairn Energy 127–9, 131 camera memory card, footage on 43–4, 155–6, 163–4, 181 Christensen downloads 182 handed to ‘Mona’ 181 handed to Rondal 182 shown to ITLOS Dutch delegation 261 TV stations transmit 261–2 Camp Artek 247 Chaplin, Charlie 244 Chilingarov, Artur 129–30, 176 Christensen, Mads, 128, 135, 137, 167–8, 185, 289, 290–1, 302–3, 306 and Amnesty Bill 331 bail amount proposed by 291 first, most urgent task of 52 and FSB’s drugs-find claim 190–1, 193 global sources run by 168 leadership of campaign to free Arctic 30 handed to 51–2 London HQ connection to office of 135 and Naidoo’s letter to Putin 186–8 Christensen, Nora 135–6 Chuprov, Vladimir 192 Cold War 244 Daily Mail 273–4 D’Alessandro, Cristian: at gunpoint 23 release of, on bail 315 Davies, Andrew 50 Davis, Ruth 136, 168–9, 173, 345 and Sixsmith 168–72 Day-Lewis, Cecil 93 Deepwater Horizon platform 83, 87, 127–8, 133 Desert Island Discs 342 Dillais, Louis-Pierre 247 Dolgov, Roman 8–10 appeal of 179–80; and judge’s silly antics 180 arrest of 8 bail application of 319; granted 321 calendar made by 144 described 76 jail sentence pronounced on 65 release of, on bail 321–2 and Russian seizure of Arctic Sunrise, see under Arctic Sunrise in SIZO-1, Murmansk 8–9, 10, 76–8, 115, 123–4, 144; video link from, to court appeal 180 in SIZO-1, St Petersburg 287 see also Arctic 30 activists/crew doroga (road), see SIZO-1 isolation jail, Murmansk Dubček, Alexander 94, 95 Dzerzhinsky, Felix 174 Dzhugashvili, Josef, see Stalin, Joseph Eells, Josh 246, 249 Esperanza 128 European Parliament, call of, for Arctic sanctuary 347 Exxon 87 Fainberg, Viktor 95 Federal Security Bureau (FSB) 50, 55, 121, 147, 239–40, 291 drugs-find claim of 189–93 Litvinov interviewed by 207–11, 252–5 and possible raid on Greenpeace office 185–6 Putin appointed to head 175 suspected false intelligence from 168 see also Russia Fedotov, Mikhail 263, 287–8 Finland, call of, for Arctic sanctuary 347 First Circle, The (Solzhenitsyn) 92 French secret service 15 Gagarin, Yuri 247 Galich, Aleksandr 94 Gazprom 8, 16, 131–2, 344 campaigners shut down stations of 139 continuing demonstrations against 197–8 Izvestia owned by 257 lies from 49 as proxy for Kremlin 137 Putin congratulates 339–40 TV channel owned by 87 and UEFA Champions League game 137–9 Germany, Nazi government in 91 Gold, Nina 122, 147, 148–9, 195, 251, 311, 329, 343 Golitsyn, Vladimir 261 Gostev (security official) 255–6 Greenpeace: and Amnesty Bill 329 Arctic Sunrise’s occupation communicated to 42 Cairn campaign of, see Cairn Energy campaign of, to free Arctic 30, see Arctic 30 activists/crew: campaign to free crew’s relatives contacted by 44 growth of, in size and scope 248–9 Hewetson’s history of sailing with 12 initial actions of, after Arctic Sunrise occupation 49–51 lawyers assembled by 50 Mail article on 273–4 North Pole sanctuary plan of 130 possible bugging of 51 possible raid by FSB on 185–6 Putin furious with 168 TV programme’s claims against 87 youth movement pickets office of 198–9 Gulag Archipelago, The (Solzhenitsyn) 276–7 Gulag Chronicle 212–18, 226 Gulag Gazette 212–15 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, see Deepwater Horizon platform Gumilev, Lev 277 Hamilton, Neil 136, 167 Harper, Stephen 130 Harris, Alex: in Amazon 83 appeal of 183 bail granted to 310 becomes Greenpeace volunteer 83 cell of 70–1 email to parents from 29–30 in Galápagos Islands 83 jail arrivals of, see under Arctic 30 activists/crew jail sentence pronounced on 66 leaves Russia 334–5 parents called from Arctic Sunrise by 53 prison transfer of, see under Arctic 30 activists/crew and Russian seizure of Arctic Sunrise, see under Arctic Sunrise in SIZO-1, Murmansk 70–1, 78–9, 81–4, 116–17, 124–5; ‘curling tongs’ sent to 162, 163; Speziale’s tapping code with 84, 145, 204 in SIZO-5, St Petersburg 282–3, 299–300 SIZO-5, St Petersburg 285–6 strip-searched 70 tweet of 38–9 Willcox’s reunion with 319 see also Arctic 30 activists/crew Harris, Cliff 82, 183 Harris, Lin 82 Haussmann, David 65 Hewetson, Frank: and Amnesty Bill 333 arrest of 8 bail granted to 311 and Cairn Energy 129 ‘Colonel’ sobriquet of 13 diary entries of: post-release 328–9, 333, 335, 342–4; in SIZO-1, Murmansk 156–7, 159, 193, 194–5, 197, 202–3, 206–7, 251–2, 267; in SIZO-1, St Petersburg 281–2, 295, 305, 309–10, 311, 317 and father’s wartime experiences 196 grappling hook skewers 12–13 jail arrivals of, see under Arctic 30 activists/crew jail sentence pronounced on 87 leaves Russia 335 memory stick hidden by 45 other activists blame 272–3, 275, 281–2, 328 panic attack suffered by 6, 149–54 piracy charge put to 120 plane’s take-off blocked by 12 post-release diary entries of 328–9, 333, 335, 342–4 post-release family reunion for 329 postponement of hearing concerning 67 power stations broken into by 12 Prirazlomnaya platform observed by 11–12 at Prirazlomnaya protest, see under Arctic 30 activists/crew prison transfer of, see under Arctic 30 activists/crew release of, on bail 317–19 ‘review’ of prison by 220–2 Russian commandos kick 33 and Russian seizure of Arctic Sunrise, see under Arctic Sunrise in SIZO-1, Murmansk 5–10, 100, 101–2, 109, 112–15, 119–23, 142, 147–50, 154, 219–20; and Arctic Sunrise film footage 262; diary entries of 156–7, 159, 193, 194–5, 197, 202–3, 206–7, 251–2, 267; Popov’s interview with 220–3 in SIZO-1, St Petersburg 280–2, 317–19; British consuls visit 292–3; diary entries of 281–2, 291, 295, 305, 309–10, 311, 317 Sunrise crew first met by 15–16 suspicious hotel man followed by 325–6 tuna protest of 13 US bans 12 and Valium 5, 6 wife’s letter to 147, 148–9 see also Arctic 30 activists/crew Hewetson, Joe 195, 206, 251, 329, 342, 343 Hewetson, Michael 195–7 Hewetson, Nell 195, 206, 311, 329, 342, 343 Hitler, Adolf, Molotov signs pact with 91 House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) 244–5 Human Rights Watch, Litvinov Sr alerts 86 Hurricane (RHIB) 20, 23–4 in SIZO-1, St Petersburg, officials’ tour of 285–6 Independent on Sunday 221 International Herald Tribune 93, 256 International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, Kremlin contemptuous of 263–4 International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) 155, 260–1, 263, 290, 322 ITLOS, see International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea Ivan (inmate) 72–3, 74–5, 79, 269 Izvestia 255–7 Jensen, Anne Mie, release of, on bail 313–14 Kenyon, Laura 185, 191 Khodorkovsky, Mikhail 64, 176, 330, 345 King, Martin Luther 245–6 Kopelev, Lev 91–2, 93, 94, 97, 300 Korean War 244 Kresty jail, see SIZO-1, St Petersburg Kulluk platform 132 Ladoga 11, 12, 20 Arctic Sunrise challenged by 21 Saarela and Weber detained on 26–7 shots fired by 25–6, 28–9 Larisa (lawyer) 178–9 Lawson, Dominic 273–4 Lenin, Vladimir 89 Lenin’s Tomb (Remnick) 96 Leonid (inmate) 75 Liddle, Rod 274 Litvinov, Anitta 97, 226, 300 Litvinov, Dimitri (Dima): bail application of 320; granted 321 border guard’s exchange with 334 boss cell’s circular to 103–4 described 13 exile childhood of 96 father compares protests of, with own 344 father discovers fate of 86–7 fist of fear felt by 143 grandfather of, see Kopelev, Lev great-grandfather of, see Litvinov, Maxim homophobia fears of 54 initial interrogation of 57–9 jail arrivals of, see under Arctic 30 activists/crew jail sentence pronounced on 87 Kresty governor’s gift to 321 leaves Russia 333–4 letter of, to son 300–1, 309 other activists blame 272–3, 281–2, 328 piracy charge put to 58–9 postponement of hearing concerning 67 previous arrests of 46, 274 Prirazlomnaya hailed by 21 prison transfer of, see under Arctic 30 activists/crew release of, on bail 321–2 and Russian seizure of Arctic Sunrise, see under Arctic Sunrise Siberia upbringing of 13 in SIZO-1, Murmansk 99–108, 109–10, 141, 143, 207–12, 252, 257–60; and discovered letters 225–8, 240–1; and FSB 207–11, 252–5; letters smuggled from 161; library discovered by 143; messages of 102; Popov’s interview with 232–41; and prison psychologist 227–8; and punishment cell 229–32; and radio report heard in cell 60–1; and smoking 211–12 in SIZO-1, St Petersburg 279–80, 287–8, 300–1, 309 smoking quit by 343 strip-searched and fingerprinted 60 US move of 97 see also Arctic 30 activists/crew Litvinov (née Low), Ivy 90 Litvinov, Lara 97 Litvinov, Lev 97, 230, 300–1 Litvinov, Maxim 89, 90–1 Litvinov (née Kopelev), Maya 93, 96 US move of 97 Litvinov, Pavel 85–7, 92–8, 320, 323–4, 344–5 and FSB’s drugs-find claim 192–3 Izvestia letter of 255–6 and KGB 93, 95, 96, 255–6 and son’s bail application 319–20 tried and convicted 95–6, 344 US move of 97 Lost Child of Philomena Lee, The (Sixsmith) 169 Lovell, Jim 1 McCarthy, Joe 244 McCartney, Paul 199–200 Maciel, Ana Paula 303–4 bail application of 305–6; granted 306 release of, on bail 312 Mafart, Lt Col.

How to Work Without Losing Your Mind by Cate Sevilla

coronavirus, Covid-19, COVID-19, Desert Island Discs, Donald Trump, gender pay gap, global pandemic, Google Hangouts, job satisfaction, microaggression, period drama, remote working, side project, Skype, women in the workforce

It’s important to remember that, even when you put in the work, even when you show up and you feel like you’re meeting the universe halfway, there is actually only so much that we are in control of. We actually control very few things in our overall lives, and we have to accept that chance and luck play a big part in our achievements. As Daniel Radcliffe told Lauren Laverne in his appearance on Desert Island Discs, ‘You can be the most hard-working and the most talented, and you still need a huge amount of luck.’3 There will be times when we go for something we want and do not get it. If you’re new to this whole listening-to-your-own-desire thing, the first few times you miss out on something you truly craved, it will be a blow.

Ibid. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 7 Desire + Planning 1. 2. 3. 8 Parenthood + Patriarchy 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

pages: 300 words: 91,294

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

Desert Island Discs, Joan Didion

Patrick planned it because I had told him that I wasn’t in the right place, re celebrating. He said, ‘We have to attack the day.’ ‘Do we.’ We listened to a podcast on the train once, sharing the same headphones. Patrick had folded his jumper into a pillow so I could put my head on his shoulder. It was the Archbishop of Canterbury on Desert Island Discs. He told a story about losing his first child in car crash a long time ago. The presenter asked him how he coped with it now. He said that when it comes to the anniversary, Christmas, her birthday, he had learned that you have to attack the day, ‘so it doesn’t attack you.’ Patrick seized on the principle.

Instead, there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark; here was one To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf What people are most ashamed of usually makes a good story The Love of the Last Tycoon, by F. Scott Fitzgerald The cremation was no worse than a family Christmas The Only Story, by Julian Barnes You were done being hopeless Grief is the Thing with Feathers, by Max Porter Forgotten is forgiven The Crack Up, F. Scott Fitzgerald ‘Attack the day’ Archbishop Justin Welby, BBC Desert Island Discs, 21 December 2014 ‘a woman who lies in a darkened studio thinking about her divorce for 192 pages’ Good Morning, Midnight, by Jean Rhys A Note on the Text The medical symptoms described in the novel are not consistent with a genuine mental illness. The portrayal of treatment, medication and doctors’ advice is wholly fictional.

pages: 1,013 words: 302,015

A Classless Society: Britain in the 1990s by Alwyn W. Turner

Berlin Wall, Bob Geldof, Boris Johnson, British Empire, call centre, centre right, deindustrialization, demand response, Desert Island Discs, endogenous growth, Etonian, eurozone crisis, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, first-past-the-post, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, friendly fire, full employment, global village, greed is good, inflation targeting, lateral thinking, means of production, millennium bug, minimum wage unemployment, moral panic, negative equity, Neil Kinnock, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, period drama, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, Stephen Hawking, upwardly mobile, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce

In 1996, while still shadow chancellor, Brown had appeared on the Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs, where he was questioned by presenter Sue Lawley about his private life and why he was neither married nor known to have a steady partner: ‘People want to know whether you’re gay or whether there’s some flaw in your personality.’ Brown was understandably tetchy in his reply: ‘Look, I don’t have to answer these questions.’ But he did go on to say: ‘I’m not married. It just hasn’t happened. I hope it does. It may yet. It probably will do.’ The incident caused a minor controversy. Diana Wong, whose late husband Roy Plomley had created Desert Island Discs, and who owned the rights to the show’s format, expressed her displeasure at the intrusive line of questioning, while the actor Michael Cashman, a gay rights activist and future Labour MEP, also objected, on the grounds that there was no issue of ‘hypocrisy’ here: ‘If Gordon Brown had sought to discriminate against homosexuals in his economic policies, then issues pertaining to his sexuality would be pertinent.’

For a man who had fought so hard all his life to overcome the limitations of his education, there was something entirely appropriate that the county club he had supported since childhood (and of which, in 2000, he was to become president) should triumph over the combined universities by six wickets, with nearly twenty-five overs to spare. It was even more pleasing that they should do so at the ground so close to his heart that he had chosen it as his luxury item when appearing on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. Again Major encountered the warmth that he so often brought out in people he met in person. ‘You had a rough decision, mate,’ one of the spectators called out to him, and the simple dignity of his response encapsulated some of the character that had helped him win that extraordinary victory, five long years ago: ‘Perhaps.

‘And Scottish hell consists of a portrait of Ally McLeod, a frightening tartan drummer girl and a giant computer scoreboard flashing up what Scotland’s goal difference is and why it means we’ll go out after the first round.’ ‘I don’t want Scotland to be presented as simply a nation living in the past,’ observed Gordon Brown on Desert Island Discs.‘We want to be a modern country with a vibrant, dynamic economy and culture.’ He went on to introduce Runrig’s version of ‘Loch Lomond’. The demand for political separation was much less striking in Wales than in Scotland, as witnessed by the results of the 1979 referendum, though it was on occasion more aggressive.

pages: 114 words: 30,715

The Four Horsemen by Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett

3D printing, Andrew Wiles, cognitive dissonance, cosmological constant, dark matter, Desert Island Discs,, phenotype, Richard Feynman, stem cell, Steven Pinker

That is, we can’t condone the beliefs and practices of the Aztecs, but we can stand in awe of, and want to preserve, their architecture and many other features of their culture. But not their practices [laughs] and not their beliefs. DAWKINS: I was once a guest on a British radio programme called Desert Island Discs, where you have to choose the eight records which you’d take to a desert island and talk about them. And one of the ones I chose was Bach’s Mache dich, mein Herze, rein. Wonderful, wonderful sacred music. DENNETT: Beautiful. DAWKINS: And the woman questioning me couldn’t understand why I would wish to have this piece of music.

pages: 335 words: 114,039

David Mitchell: Back Story by David Mitchell

British Empire, call centre, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, Desert Island Discs, Downton Abbey, energy security, Kickstarter, lateral thinking

I think Ben had kindly suggested us for the gig but he wasn’t actually there and we were left to the tender mercies of some development producers. It was a panel show thing – I can’t remember the actual premise but it was aspiring to be part of that spate of Room 101 knock-offs, all essentially TV versions of Desert Island Discs, which were popular at the time. Popular with commissioners, that is. I don’t think viewers ever expressed many feelings in their favour. So it was some sort of format in which Ben would talk to one guest for a whole half-hour show but the chat would be structured according to things they loved/hated, or movies, or bands, or historical characters, or types of cheese – that sort of thing.

Maybe he’s gay and can’t admit it, they may have thought. Or spends all his money on morphine. Or, as the Heat photo might have suggested, he’s as promiscuous as Russell Brand but is somehow managing to do it on the quiet. What is his secret? was the implied question I feared. So I tried to be honest, when I went on Desert Island Discs at least, about the bare facts of my life and how I felt – that I was single and unhappy. I resented the interest. I didn’t think – I don’t think – that the specifics of my private life were anyone’s business. I was just a purveyor of comedy. If people liked it, they could keep watching. If not, they should stop.

pages: 434 words: 128,151

After the Flood: What the Dambusters Did Next by John Nichol

British Empire, Desert Island Discs, Etonian, friendly fire, IFF: identification friend or foe, the market place

The next morning, to the junior officers’ delight, they discovered six untouched twelve-gallon barrels of beer still sitting in the marquee. ‘As we were not on ops for the next two nights,’ one of them recalled with a smile, ‘you can imagine the result!’15 Guy Gibson, the celebrated leader of the Dams raid, who had now returned from his lengthy flag-waving tour of the United States, appeared on Desert Island Discs and completed a spell at Staff College, had been unable to attend the party, or the impromptu junior officers’ booze-up in the marquee that followed it. But he did attend the all-ranks Squadron Dance held later that week, on 19 May. There was a large trestle table at the front holding a huge cake, with icing-sugar replicas of the infamous dams decorating the top.

demonstrates sense of humour at briefing 308 drops Grand Slam bomb on Arnsberg 300 replaces Tait 273 reputation of 273–4 takes part in Bielefeld op 296–7 takes part in Politz op 286 Fawke, Squadron Leader Gerry 107 comment on his part in Munich op 110 falls asleep in his plane 111 promoted Flight Commander 144 takes part in destruction of V-weapons sites 157 takes part in Kembs barrage op 224–5, 226 takes part in Tirpitz op 210 Fighter Command 115, 146, 316 film shows 25, 29, 69, 138, 194, 207–8 First World War 78, 87, 142, 144, 276 Firth of Forth 115 Fish, Basil comment on Bill Carey 247 drags Joplin from crashed plane 280–1 manages to arrange rescue for his crew 281–2 memories of VE Day 314 reprimanded and given red endorsement 284 survives plane crash in thick fog 279–80 takes part in Politz op 276–7 takes part in Tirpitz op 198 Flamborough Head 115 Fleet Air Arm 113, 195 Flixecourt 63 Florence 171 Fog Investigation and Dispersal Operation (FIDO) 278 Folkestone 134 Foxlee, Toby 24, 86 Franco, Francisco 53 French Resistance 52–3, 62–3, 100, 154, 173, 183–4, 186, 188–91 Gee navigation 113, 117, 176 Geller, Harry 176 Gellhorn, Martha 70 George VI 23 German Panzer divisions 115–16, 127, 130 Gestapo 51, 53, 83, 100, 119 Gibraltar 54 Gibson, Wing Commander Guy Penrose 317 appears on Desert Island Discs 121 attends parties at Petwood 121 awards 3, 21 character and reputation 3, 19–20 death of 216–17 forms 617 Squadron 3–4, 6, 91 introduces the expression ‘pissed on from a great height’ 80 leads first wave in Dams raid 8–12 relationship with the men 19–20 sent on flag-waving tour 25 tries to reassure Wallis 22 Enemy Coast Ahead 25 Gill, Derek 324–5 Gill, Ken 284, 301–2, 306, 324 Gill, Vera 301–2, 306, 325 Glane River 36 Gliderdrome (Boston) 219 Gneisenau 27 Gnome-Rhône aero engine factory (Limoges) 74–5, 76–8 Goebbels, Joseph 291–2 Goodman, Lawrence ‘Benny’ apprehensiveness of 173 aware of human cost of bombing 321 comment on vandalism to Memorial and Harris’s statue 320 difficulty taking off with Grand Slam bombs 296 forced to abort Bremen op 309–10, 311 memories of VE Day 315 safely lands his plane in thick fog 278 takes part in Berghof op 313 takes part in Hamburg op 311–12 takes part in Tirpitz op 235 under fire 175 visits Arnberg after the War 301 volunteers for the RAF 174 Göring, Hermann 83 Grand Slam bomb (‘Ten-Ton Tess’) 61, 294–300, 307–11, 316 Grantham 10, 20 Great War see First World War Grimes, Iris 238–40, 305, 306 Grimes, Sydney aware of human cost of bombing and war 320–1 background 236–7 becomes an instructor 244 believed to be dead by his mother 305 celebrates sinking of the Tirpitz 273 deals with death of crew 237–8, 240 joins 617 Squadron 244, 246 joins RAF 237 meets and marries Iris 238–9 relives wartime experiences 239–40 saddened at death of his crew 305–6 stands down reluctantly after Bielefeld 301 takes part in Bielefeld op 297 takes part in Politz op 277 takes part in Tirpitz op 236, 246 Group Headquarters (Swinderby) 99 Grüner (executioner of Wyness’s crew) 231 Gueydon (French cruiser) 185 Gumbley, Bernard ‘Barney’ background 244–5 comment on Fauquier 274 death of 304 discusses future plans with Grimes 302–3 joins RNZAF 245 receives award at Buckingham Palace 245–6 takes part in Politz op 284 Haakøy Island 214, 260, 265, 267 Hamburg, 35, 65, 81–2, 115, 311, 316 Hamilton, Malcolm ‘Mac’ comment on bombing technique 77 deals with death of crewmen 238 joins 617 Squadron 67, 88 survives Le Havre op 133–6 takes part in Saumur tunnel op 130 takes part in Tirpitz op 198, 200, 250 told to increase his accuracy by Leonard Cheshire 57–8 Hanover 316 Harris, Air Chief Marshal Arthur ‘Bomber’ 3, 11, 223 argues against the Dams raid 20 assured of Tallboy’s penetrative abilities 129 astonished that Bomber Command not acknowledged by Churchill 319 comment on flying bombs 143 doubts concerning low-level marking technique 104 euphoria and pessimism 21 recommends 617 Squadron to solve simulation problem 114 reluctantly agrees to Operation Argument 87 statue defaced 319 suggests using 617 Squadron to assassinate Mussolini 33 writes note of commendation to 617 Squadron 326–7 Hawks, Howard 25 Hay, Squadron Bombing Leader Bob charged with ensuring high degree of accuracy 26 death of 85, 86, 92 grave visited by Larry Curtis 326 Hayward, Tony 252 Heavy Conversion Unit 80 Hebbard, Loftus ‘Lofty’ 258, 276 High Capacity (HC) bombs 36 Hill, Nelson 253 Hitler, Adolf 20, 62, 171, 186, 195, 267, 275, 312, 313, 314, 321 HMS London 246 HMS Seanymph 55 Hobbs, Gerry 151–6 Hobday, Sydney bales out of stricken aircraft 43, 44 marathon escape back to UK 48–54 Holden, Squadron Leader George appointed CO 26 character and description 26 death of 40–1, 56 takes part in Dortmund–Ems Canal op 40, 46 Home Guard 78, 245, 275 Hopgood, John ‘Hoppy’ 8–9 Hosie, Bruce character and description 224–5 executed by Grüner 230–1 presumed to have perished 230 takes part in Kembs op 224 Howard, Christopher ‘Kit’ 228, 232 Humphries, Squadron Adjutant Harry ‘Humph’ 22–3, 86 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system 123 Ijmuiden 316 Ingelby, Flying Officer Phil 147–8, 184–5 Intelligence Section, Woodhall Spa 100, 109, 112, 158 Isherwood, Flight Sergeant Samuel 155 Isle of Sylt 241 Iveson, Squadron Leader Tony at forefront of Memorial campaign 321 background 144 comment on Berghof op 313–14 comment on necessity of bombing campaigns 321 death of 321 joins 616 Squadron and survives ditching in the sea 145 joins 617 Squadron 146–8 joins RAF Volunteer Reserve 144 meets German fighter pilot many years later 269 off-duty informality 147 promoted Flight Commander 144 returns safely from long operation 269 sadness at death of Wyness 232 safely lands his crippled plane 290–1 takes part in Politz op 286, 288 takes part in Tirpitz op 197–8, 199–200, 202, 204, 209, 210, 235, 255 visits grave of fallen crew at Nesbyen 212 watches newsreels on Ardennes op 284–5 Jimmy (Scottish mechanic) 89–90 ‘Johnny Walker’ magnetic mines 108 Johns, W.E. 144 Johnson, Edward ‘Johnny’ 42, 43 Johnson, George ‘Johnny’ agrees to join special squadron 6 award and celebrations 23–4 becomes a bomb-aimer 32–3 character and description 5, 33 comment on Dortmund–Ems Canal op 39, 45, 46 comment on dropping bombs wide or aborting missions 243 comment on Gibson 19 comment on squadron relationships 18–19 comment on the thrill of low-flying 28 comment on V-weapons 137 (Johnson, George ‘Johnny’ cont.)

pages: 200 words: 64,329

Heroic Failure: Brexit and the Politics of Pain by Fintan O'Toole

Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, British Empire, colonial rule, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, Desert Island Discs, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, full employment, Khartoum Gordon, Peter Thiel, Potemkin village, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stanford marshmallow experiment

Brexit depended on an ostensibly improbable alliance between Sunderland and Gloucestershire, between hard old steel towns and rolling Cotswold hills, between people with tattooed arms and golf club buffers. One great binding agent was ‘Anarchy in the UK’, the sheer joy of being able to fuck everything up. Boris Johnson, who used The Clash’s ‘London Calling’ as the theme song for his successful campaign to be mayor of London, also chose the same band’s version of ‘Pressure Drop’ on Desert Island Discs in October 2005. On that programme, in a rare moment of self-reflection, Johnson spoke of the pleasure of making trouble that motivated his mendacity: ‘so everything I wrote from Brussels, I found was sort of chucking these rocks over the garden wall and I listened to this amazing crash from the greenhouse next door over in England as everything I wrote from Brussels was having this amazing, explosive effect on the Tory party, and it really gave me this I suppose rather weird sense of power’.2 Essentially, this differs not at all – either as a psychological satisfaction or as a career move – from the way Johnny Rotten made himself famous: ‘Johnny Rotten, a member of the group,’ the Guardian reported in 1976 after the Sex Pistols had exploded into wider British consciousness in an outrageously offensive TV interview, ‘said in a BBC interview that he had launched himself to stardom by walking up and down the King’s Road in Chelsea, spitting at people.

The Politics of Pain by Fintan O'Toole

banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, British Empire, colonial rule, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, Desert Island Discs, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, full employment, Khartoum Gordon, Peter Thiel, Potemkin village, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stanford marshmallow experiment

Brexit depended on an ostensibly improbable alliance between Sunderland and Gloucestershire, between hard old steel towns and rolling Cotswold hills, between people with tattooed arms and golf club buffers. One great binding agent was ‘Anarchy in the UK’, the sheer joy of being able to fuck everything up. Boris Johnson, who used The Clash’s ‘London Calling’ as the theme song for his successful campaign to be mayor of London, also chose the same band’s version of ‘Pressure Drop’ on Desert Island Discs in October 2005. On that programme, in a rare moment of self-reflection, Johnson spoke of the pleasure of making trouble that motivated his mendacity: ‘so everything I wrote from Brussels, I found was sort of chucking these rocks over the garden wall and I listened to this amazing crash from the greenhouse next door over in England as everything I wrote from Brussels was having this amazing, explosive effect on the Tory party, and it really gave me this I suppose rather weird sense of power’.2 Essentially, this differs not at all – either as a psychological satisfaction or as a career move – from the way Johnny Rotten made himself famous: ‘Johnny Rotten, a member of the group,’ the Guardian reported in 1976 after the Sex Pistols had exploded into wider British consciousness in an outrageously offensive TV interview, ‘said in a BBC interview that he had launched himself to stardom by walking up and down the King’s Road in Chelsea, spitting at people.

pages: 267 words: 81,144

Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton

butterfly effect, Desert Island Discs, Donald Trump, rolodex, sharing economy, Skype

The end of the column could easily have marked the beginning of a new phase in my life; one that wasn’t governed by late-night calls from old boyfriends and right-swiping and left-swiping and cornering men at dinner parties and coordinating cigarette breaks in the pub when there was an attractive man outside. The truth is, the column had been an enabler, but I was an addict. I always had been, long before I was even sexually active. There’s this thing that Jilly Cooper says in her episode of Desert Island Discs – that when she was at an all-girls school, she was so obsessed with boys that she would even fantasize about the eighty-year-old male gardener who would sometimes work in the grounds. I was that girl growing up and, in a way, I never stopped being that girl. Boys fascinated me and frightened me in equal measure; I didn’t understand them and neither did I want to.

pages: 395 words: 94,764

I Never Knew That About London by Christopher Winn

Alfred Russel Wallace, British Empire, Clapham omnibus, Desert Island Discs, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, God and Mammon, Isaac Newton, John Snow's cholera map, joint-stock company, Khartoum Gordon, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Nick Leeson, old-boy network, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble

BRUCE ISMAY (1862–1937), Chairman of the White Star Line, who survived the 1912 sinking of the Titanic. Archeologist HOWARD CARTER (1874–1939), who discovered the Tomb of Tutankhamen in 1922. Sculptor SIR JACOB EPSTEIN (1880–1959), creator of St Michael and the Devil in the new Coventry Cathedral. Comedian ARTHUR ASKEY (1900–82). Desert Island Discs presenter ROY PLOMLEY (1914–85). Carry On actresses HATTIE JACQUES (1924–80) and JOAN SIMS (1930–2001). Actor JAMES BECK (1929–73), best known for playing the spiv Private Walker in BBC TV’s Dad’s Army. James Beck Wandsworth Oldest Industrial Site WANDSWORTH, LONDON’S OLDEST industrial area, grew up around the mouth of the RIVER WANDLE.

pages: 284 words: 95,029

How to Fail: Everything I’ve Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day

Airbnb, Desert Island Discs, disintermediation, fear of failure, financial independence, gender pay gap, microaggression, Mikhail Gorbachev, pre–internet, Rosa Parks, San Francisco homelessness, stem cell, unpaid internship

I would record as live, for about forty-five minutes to an hour, and I would let the interview stand on its own: as an honest conversation about subjects that don’t often get a lot of airplay. When the first episode of the podcast went live, it attracted thousands of listeners overnight. The second saw it catapult to number three in the iTunes chart – above My Dad Wrote a Porno, Serial and Desert Island Discs. By the end of eight episodes, I had somehow accumulated 200,000 downloads and a book deal. I was receiving dozens of messages every day from extraordinary people going through difficult things, saying how much the podcast had helped them. The woman who had been told at fifteen she would never be able to have children.

pages: 319 words: 103,707

Against Everything: Essays by Mark Greif

1960s counterculture, back-to-the-land, Bernie Madoff, citizen journalism, collateralized debt obligation, crack epidemic, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, deindustrialization, Desert Island Discs, Donald Trump, income inequality, informal economy, Joan Didion, Norman Mailer, Ponzi scheme, postindustrial economy, Ronald Reagan, technoutopianism, telemarketer, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, white flight

Does it really influence my beliefs or actions in my deep life, where I think I feel it most, or does it just insinuate a certain fluctuation of mood, or evanescent pleasure, or impulse to move? The answers are difficult not because thinking is hard on the subject of pop, but because of an acute sense of embarrassment. Popular music is the most living art form today. Condemned to a desert island, contemporary people would grab their records first; we have the concept of desert-island discs because we could do without most other art forms before we would give up songs. Songs are what we consume in greatest quantity; they’re what we store most of in our heads. But even as we can insist on the seriousness of value of pop music, we don’t believe enough in its seriousness of meaning outside the realm of music, or most of us don’t, or we can’t talk about it, or sound idiotic when we do.

pages: 572 words: 94,002

Reset: How to Restart Your Life and Get F.U. Money: The Unconventional Early Retirement Plan for Midlife Careerists Who Want to Be Happy by David Sawyer

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, beat the dealer, bitcoin, Cal Newport, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Attenborough, David Heinemeier Hansson, Desert Island Discs, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Thorp, Elon Musk, financial independence, follow your passion, gig economy, hiring and firing, index card, index fund, invention of the wheel, knowledge worker, loadsamoney, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta-analysis, mortgage debt, passive income, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart meter, Snapchat, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, sunk-cost fallacy, Tim Cook: Apple, Vanguard fund, Y Combinator

[166] Birdsong: “Birdsong (novel) – Wikipedia.” [167] reciprocity: “Dr. Robert Cialdini on the Principle of Reciprocity – Influence at Work.” [168] “we compare notes”: “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life: Anne...”, p. 198. [169] sabbaticals in war zones: “BBC Radio 4 – Desert Island Discs, David Nott.” 5 Jun. 2016, [170] “Selling you Bullshit”: “The Success Bloggers Are Selling You Bullshit. – THE WESTENBERG...” 30 Aug. 2017, Part III: Declutter Your Life [171] life-changing magic in tidying: “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish...”

pages: 351 words: 107,966

The Secret Life of Bletchley Park: The WWII Codebreaking Centre and the Men and Women Who Worked There by Sinclair McKay

Beeching cuts, British Empire, computer age, Desert Island Discs, Etonian, Turing machine

One codebreaker recalled being so keen to get to a dance that he managed, by dint of getting the date wrong, to turn up an entire week early. It also broke out in amusingly informal ways. One Wren recalled: ‘The kitchen at BP House was so large that one could dance. During supper break I taught one of the men to waltz. We only had one record – “Sleepy Lagoon” [now better known as the theme tune of Radio Four’s Desert Island Discs].’ Even Bletchley’s fiercest figures could not resist the call of the hop. Mimi Gallilee recalls that her boss Miss Reed – so severe and so unyielding – was nevertheless transformed completely when it came to her leisure hours: ‘Doris Reed used to go to the dancing. The Highland reels. And she would always go during her lunch hour.’

pages: 460 words: 107,712

A Devil's Chaplain: Selected Writings by Richard Dawkins

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, butterfly effect, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, Desert Island Discs, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, epigenetics, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, gravity well, Necker cube, out of africa, phenotype, placebo effect, random walk, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method

Iain flies his tiny plane home every weekend from Nairobi, where he runs his newly formed charity, ‘Save the Elephants’. The family were all at Sirocco for Christmas and we were to join them for New Year. Our arrival was unforgettable. Music thumped through the open doors (Vangelis’s score for the film 1492 – I later chose it for Desert Island Discs). After a characteristic Italian and African lunch for 20 guests, we looked out over the terrace at the small paddock where, 25 years before, uninvited and unexpected, Iain had landed his plane to the terrified incredulity of Oria’s parents and their guests at a similarly grand luncheon party.

pages: 367 words: 108,689

Broke: How to Survive the Middle Class Crisis by David Boyle

anti-communist, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, call centre, collateralized debt obligation, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, Desert Island Discs, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial independence, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frederick Winslow Taylor, housing crisis, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mega-rich, Money creation, mortgage debt, Neil Kinnock, Nelson Mandela, new economy, Nick Leeson, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, off grid, offshore financial centre, pension reform, pensions crisis, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Ponzi scheme, positional goods, precariat, quantitative easing, school choice, Slavoj Žižek, social intelligence, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Vanguard fund, Walter Mischel, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent, working poor

[20] Jonathan Guthrie, ‘Rhyme of the credit hungry entrepreneurs’, Financial Times, 8 Jul. 2009. [21] Will Chen (2006), ‘FBI considered It’s a Wonderful Life communist propaganda’,, 24 Dec. [22] Federation of Small Business figures, see BBC website (2012), 17 Sept. 4 The third clue: the corrosive explosion of finance [1] Quoted in Desert Island Discs, BBC Radio 4, 6 Mar. 1987. [2] The Times, 20 Jan. 1980. [3] David Kynaston, A Club No More 1945–2000 (London, Chatto & Windus, 2000), 624. [4] Hugo Young, One of Us: A Biography of Margaret Thatcher (London, Pan Books, 1989), 269. [5] Kynaston, 625. [6] Kynaston, 625. [7] Kynaston, 629

Dear Fatty by Dawn French

affirmative action, British Empire, carbon footprint, clockwatching, Desert Island Discs, upwardly mobile

Yep, that would really clog up the remaining, unused wish-availability numbers, and would likely also encroach upon other people’s wish quota, never mind the amount of genies who would be out of work. No, it would be chaos. it would never do. Anyway, anyway, anyway, the man very quickly decided what his three wishes would be. Maybe he was so ready with his choices because he’d always fantasised about it. The way people fantasise about being asked on Desert Island Discs. They plan it ahead so’s not to be caught out. I haven’t personally done that because I have a genuine allergic reaction to Sue Lawley, she actually brings me out in a raised, itchy, angry rash, and I’m not the only one. Of course it’s not her any more, is it? Mmm, might be more interesting to consider doing it now it’s Kirsty Young who’s much cleverer, and frankly, not a twot, but I still don’t walk around with a ready list of discs in my head … Except … Who would I choose?

pages: 300 words: 106,520

The Nanny State Made Me: A Story of Britain and How to Save It by Stuart Maconie

banking crisis, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Boris Johnson, British Empire, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, David Attenborough, Desert Island Discs, don't be evil, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, Etonian, failed state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, G4S, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, helicopter parent, hiring and firing, housing crisis, job automation, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, North Sea oil, Own Your Own Home, Plutocrats, plutocrats, rent control, Right to Buy, road to serfdom, Silicon Valley, surveillance capitalism, The Chicago School, universal basic income, Winter of Discontent

And they found they could predict it very easily, using a pretty simple algorithm, based on asking what percentage of ten- and eleven-year-olds couldn’t read. And certainly couldn’t read for pleasure.’ I started to bring up libraries whenever I spoke to people I met for other reasons if I could steer the conversation toward the public good and the public realm. Interviewing Ian McEwan for my radio show, he pointed me towards his Desert Island Discs appearance where he said, ‘Although we were too poor for books, we had a weekly trip to the library. So there were always six books in the house, two each.’ Chatting to Frank Cottrell-Boyce in the café at Whiston Hospital for the conversation that appears in the NHS chapter, we strayed happily onto libraries.

pages: 467 words: 116,094

I Think You'll Find It's a Bit More Complicated Than That by Ben Goldacre

call centre, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, Desert Island Discs,, experimental subject, Firefox, Flynn Effect, jimmy wales, John Snow's cholera map, Loebner Prize, meta-analysis, moral panic, placebo effect, publication bias, selection bias, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Simon Singh, statistical model, stem cell, the scientific method, Turing test, two and twenty, WikiLeaks

Now, it seems to me that alternative explanations may possibly play a contributory role here: cases where lots of people were harmed may involve larger companies, with more expensive and competent lawyers, for example. But in the light of the earlier experiment, it’s hard to discount a contribution from empathy, and this is a phenomenon we all recognise. When he appeared on Desert Island Discs, Rolf Harris chose to take his own song ‘Two Little Boys’ with him. When the First World War broke out, Rolf explained, his father and uncle had both joined up, his father lying about his younger brother’s age so they could both join the fight. But their mother found out and dobbed them in, because she couldn’t bear the thought of losing both her sons so young.

pages: 478 words: 142,608

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Ayatollah Khomeini, Brownian motion, cosmological principle, David Attenborough, Desert Island Discs, double helix,, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, gravity well, invisible hand, John von Neumann, luminiferous ether, Menlo Park, meta-analysis, Murray Gell-Mann, Necker cube, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, placebo effect, planetary scale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, scientific worldview, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, trickle-down economics, unbiased observer

They are sublime if God is there and they are sublime if he isn’t. They do not prove the existence of God; they prove the existence of Beethoven and of Shakespeare. A great conductor is credited with saying: ‘If you have Mozart to listen to, why would you need God?’ I once was the guest of the week on a British radio show called Desert Island Discs. You have to choose the eight records you would take with you if marooned on a desert island. Among my choices was ‘Mache dich mein Herze rein’ from Bach’s St Matthew Passion. The interviewer was unable to understand how I could choose religious music without being religious. You might as well say, how can you enjoy Wuthering Heights when you know perfectly well that Cathy and Heathcliff never really existed?

pages: 487 words: 132,252

The Fry Chronicles: An Autobiography by Stephen Fry

Alistair Cooke, back-to-the-land, Desert Island Discs, Etonian, Isaac Newton, Live Aid, loadsamoney, pre–internet, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Sloane Ranger, South China Sea, The Wisdom of Crowds, University of East Anglia, Winter of Discontent

, Brain of Britain, From Our Own Correspondent, The Petticoat Line, File on Four, Down Your Way, The World at One, Today, PM, You and Yours, Woman’s Hour, Letter from America, Jack de Manio Precisely, The Men from the Ministry, Gardener’s Question Time, The Burkiss Way, The Jason Explanation, Round Britain Quiz, Just a Minute, I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, Desert Island Discs and a hundred other dramas, comedies, quizzes and features have amused, amazed, enriched, enraged, informed and inflamed me from the earliest age. My voice, I think, owes more to the BBC microphone and the dusty, slow-to-warm-up Mullard valve than to the accents and tones of my family, friends and school fellows.

First Time Ever: A Memoir by Peggy Seeger

Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, David Attenborough, Desert Island Discs, Donald Trump, index card, Kickstarter, Nelson Mandela, place-making, pre–internet, Skype, the market place

One of the tabloids puts us on Page 3, double spread, big header to the effect of ‘The face of First Time Ever I Saw Your Face takes lesbian lover’. Three dreadful photos. Irene and I get the Camilla-and-Charles treatment and Ewan is Diana, downcast and devastated even though he’s dead by now. Jenni Murray has me twice on Woman’s Hour and Sue Lawley invites me onto Desert Island Discs. The BBC’s Jim Lloyd devotes seven half-hours of his Folk on Four radio programme to me. We win the 1995 Sony Silver Radio Award in the Specialist Music Sections. Gosh – maybe Ewan and I should have thought of this earlier as a ‘What If’ theatre exercise … Irene takes it all in her stride.

I You We Them by Dan Gretton

agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, back-to-the-land, British Empire, clean water, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, Desert Island Discs, drone strike, European colonialism, financial independence, friendly fire, ghettoisation, Honoré de Balzac, IBM and the Holocaust, illegal immigration, invisible hand, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, laissez-faire capitalism, liberation theology, Mikhail Gorbachev, Milgram experiment, Neil Kinnock, Nelson Mandela, New Journalism, Pier Paolo Pasolini, place-making, pre–internet, Stanford prison experiment, University of East Anglia, wikimedia commons

It does seem utterly bizarre that a supposedly experimental theatre group like Complicité should have been on such a mainstream programme, but my memory of this event is quite vivid, because of what followed. How People in Organisations Can Kill 3 The interview with Gwen Adshead was Desert Island Discs, BBC Radio 4, 11 July 2010. Although extremely sympathetic to Dr Adshead and her colleagues and what they are attempting to achieve in their work, I also wondered what the relatives of the Broadmoor patients’ victims might have felt listening to this programme, and whether they had received correspondingly world-class therapeutic care to help them in their grieving after their partner, their child, their parent had been killed.

By the end of the project, there were nearly 300 jewel-like images of belonging fluttering on the walls inside the lorry. One woman said it was ‘like seeing people’s souls displayed’. 3 ‘Many of these people never had a chance to be …’ Dennis Potter’s words from his interview with Michael Parkinson for Desert Island Discs, first broadcast on 21 February 1988. Chapter Twelve: The Architect on Trial 1 Speer’s interview comes in the BBC documentary Albert Speer: The Nazi Who Said Sorry, directed by Martin Davidson, first broadcast on BBC2, 2 May 1996. 2 Robert Jackson’s comments on Sauckel and Speer are from the transcripts of the Nuremberg Trial Proceedings, day 187 (Friday, 26 July 1946).

pages: 1,744 words: 458,385

The Defence of the Realm by Christopher Andrew

active measures, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Clive Stafford Smith, collective bargaining, credit crunch, cuban missile crisis, Desert Island Discs, disinformation, Etonian, Fall of the Berlin Wall, G4S, glass ceiling, illegal immigration, job satisfaction, large denomination, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil Kinnock, North Sea oil, post-work, Red Clydeside, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, strikebreaker, Torches of Freedom, traveling salesman, union organizing, uranium enrichment, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, Winter of Discontent

As usual, Rimington’s wardrobe aroused intense media interest: Commentators, including fashion editors, have dwelt at length on her powerdressing – her rather severe primrose yellow jacket – offset by her body language with the use of large, unblinking, eyes reminiscent of Princess Diana as she paused to drive a point home, or completed a well-rehearsed delivery of a light-hearted anecdote.48 Thereafter, there was a perception in Whitehall that ‘Stella enjoyed being in the limelight’ – though she disapproved of all other members of the Service, past or present, making public appearances and vetoed a BBC invitation to her predecessor, Sir Patrick Walker, to appear on Desert Island Discs. Late in 1994, Rimington appeared for the first time before the newly established oversight committee of parliamentarians, the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), for whose creation support had been growing since the final years of the Thatcher government. Michael Howard, who had become home secretary earlier in the year, was initially anxious that the Security Service might prove politically inept in its dealings with the ISC, and asked his PUS, Sir Richard Wilson, to spend some time with the DG explaining what the Committee would expect from her.

H. 547, 552 Walden, George 551, 566, 572 Walker, Sir Patrick: appointment as DG (1987) 56, 561, 563, 682; on Howard Smith 555; background 560; early Security Service career 560, 561; and Northern Irish counterterrorist operations 699, 700, 734, 739, 751, 772; and interational terrorism 702, 734, 736, 745, 773; selection of Stella Rimington as successor 774; retirement 774; appearance on Desert Island Discs vetoed 778; strategic review 779–80 Wallace, Colin 641 War Book, Government 194, 404, 406, 859 War Office: and establishment of Secret Service Bureau 4–6, 21, 23, 25–6, 28; Intelligence Department (ID) 5, 11, 56, 82; MO2 5, 6; MO 35, 6; MO5 6–8, 11–12; and pre-First World War German espionage 10–12, 13, 15, 19–20, 23, 30–31, 41; MO 964; and Double-Cross System 73; MI(B) 125; Security Service ceases to be section of 130; economy measures 217–18; see also MO5(g) Ward, Stephen 495–7, 498–9 Warner, Sir Gerry 773, 785 Washington DC 93, 105, 376–7, 422–4; see also September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks Weimar Republic 186–90, 198, 852–3 Weisband, William 375–6, 377 Weldsmith, Catherine see Morgan-Smith, Catherine West Germany (German Federal Republic) 490, 575, 608, 612, 747; PIRA attacks on British army bases 650, 651, 696, 748 White, Sir Dick: on Liddell 131; background and character 135, 136, 320, 324, 483, 547, 789; recruited by MI5 (1934) 135–6, 508; and Ustinov 196; and Italian invasion of Albania 208; wartime recruitment 219–20, 238, 255; on Petrie 237; and The Hague SIS mission 242, 243, 244; on penetration of Abwehr 249; on screening of refugees 251; on Blunt 269–70; and Churchill 289, 293; on Sillitoe 321, 323; appointed DG 323–4, 325, 447, 779; moved to SIS 325–6, 483, 763–4; and Cuban Missile Crisis 327; on ASIO 370; and VENONA project 378, 433–4; and atom spies 384; and Burgess and Maclean’s defection 426–7; and Philby case 430, 433–4, 436; disbanding of Overseas Service 447; refuses post in Malaya 449; relations with Macmillan and Heath 483, 493, 500, 547; and Blake case 489, 491; and Profumo affair 500; Hollis and Mitchell 505, 509, 511; and Sino-Soviet split deception theory 513; and Wilson government 523 Whitelaw, William ‘Willie’: and appointment of Jones as DG 555; Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 620, 621, 623; Home Secretary 670, 677, 709; and industrial unrest 598 670, 671, 672; and Iranian embassy siege 685, 686, 687 Whitmore, Sir Clive 773, 774 Whytock, Roslyn 74–5, 106 Wigg, George 522–5, 526, 528–31, 532, 534, 536, 633 Wilhelm II, Kaiser 5, 6, 32, 51–2, 162, 861 Williams, Marcia 528, 531, 533, 534, 632–3, 634, 636, 637, 639, 642 Wilson, Harold: early political career 412, 416; Security Service file on 416, 526, 632; contacts with Soviet Union 416–19; and KGB 417, 418–19; becomes PM 419, 522–3; and Aden Emergency 475; policy in British Guiana 480; and Hollis and Mitchell 518, 519, 634; and Wigg 522–4, 536, 633; paranoia about plots and bugging 524, 526, 532, 552, 632–3, 635–6, 637–8, 642, 754; and tapping of MPs’ telephones 526–7, 542; and intelligence on industrial subversion 527, 534, 535, 854; and seamen’s strike 527–31, 588, 598, 854; D-Notice affair 531–2; and Thorpe affair 533, 534, 535–7, 539, 541–2; and Blake escape and defection 538; and Floud case 539; and Owen case 542–3; and Northern Ireland 625, 626, 644, 654; returned to power in 1974 625, 627; disreputable business friends 627–32, 638–9; growing suspicions of Security Service 632–5; alleged conspiracy to overthrow 635–43, 765; mental and physical decline 637; resignation 638–9, 640; Governance of Britain 754 Wilson, Sir Horace 202, 206, 227 Wilson, Sir Richard 608, 778, 789, 790, 792, 793, 809, 810, 815 Wilson, Woodrow 75, 139 WINDSOR, Operation 460–61 Windsor, Roger 677–8 Winn, Sir Rodger 410, 500 Winnick, David 758, 765 Winnifrith, Sir John 387, 391, 393 Winterborn, Hugh 486, 508–9 Wireless Board (W Board) 255, 283 Wiseman, Sir William 105, 106 Wolfenden Committee (1957) 398, 399 Wolkoff, Anna 224–6, 230 women: recruitment of 59–60, 122, 127, 133, 220–21, 336–7, 774; Registry staff 60–62, 336–7; secretaries 61–3; clothing regulations 218; promotion of 220–21, 325, 332, 549–51; advice to women on overseas postings 331; surveillance roles 337–8; guidelines on interrogation of 451; as agent-runners 550–51, 708; women peace protesters 673–4; Stella Rimington as first woman branch director and DG 746, 774 Woollcombe, Malcolm ‘Woolly’ 151, 203 Woolwich Arsenal spy-ring 167, 181–2, 183, 854 World in Action (television programme) 663, 761; ‘Death on the Rock’ documentary 743, 744–5 World Disarmament Campaign 674 Wright, Peter: allegations against Hollis 282, 348, 349, 434–5, 510–12, 518, 519, 760, 761, 763; damage caused by his conspiracy theories 282, 348, 439, 507, 511, 519; interrogation of Blunt 282, 439, 520; on Denman 334; background, recruitment and Security Service career 335–6, 507, 760, 789; on Philby case 432; imagined view of KGB sophistication 434–5, 860–51; and Portland spy-ring 486; collaboration with Martin 504, 507, 510; and Golitsyn 504, 507, 511; and investigation of Mitchell 507, 508–9, 519; chair of FLUENCY working party 510–12, 513; damaged reputation within Security Service 512, 515; and Angleton 513–14; retirement (1976) 518, 520, 760; questioning of Floud 539–40; and alleged plot against Wilson 642–3; collaboration with Pincher 712, 761; pension 760, 761; and Rothschild 760–61; CBE 761–2; conspiracy theory on Operation TRUST 860–51; see also Spycatcher Wünnenberg, Karl 73, 75 Young, Courtenay 270, 370 Young, George 633, 638 Young Communist League 405 Zambia (formerly Northern Rhodesia) 444, 468, 469, 470 Zelle, Margaretha Geertruida (Mata Hari) 79–80, 221 Ziegler, Philip 418, 629, 630, 637 Zilliacus, Konni 411, 412 Zinoviev, Grigori: president of Comintern 139, 147; Zinoviev letter 148–52, 155, 158–9, 319, 847 Zionism 350–63, 600–601, 617