What eight novels would a creative writing group member take to their own
desert island lighthouse!?
“[The] first Desert Island Discs was recorded in the BBC’s bomb-damaged Maida Vale studio on 27th January 1942 and aired in the Forces Programme at 8pm two days later. It was introduced to the listening public as ‘a programme in which a well-known person is asked the question, if you were to be cast away alone on a desert island, which eight gramophone records would you choose to have with you, assuming of course, that you had a gramophone and an inexhaustible supply of needles’. Roy Plomley’s first castaway was the popular Viennese comedian, actor and musician, Vic Oliver.” 1
In the days when the radio programme Desert Island Discs began, the listener had to suspend their disbelief, just as we’re all supposed to do at the theatre, looking through that invisible fourth wall. After all, the celebrity being interviewed is not really being cast away, perhaps to die before he or she can be rescued. We all had to assume that, somehow, they would survive long enough to listen several times to the eight ‘gramophone records’ they had chosen to help them pass the time. In those days, you were supposed to change the needle before every playing. No one was churlish enough to ask where these needles would be stored beforehand and what was to be done with them afterwards.
What are the ‘lighthouse books’ of a mind focused on creative writing?
Time and technology have robbed us of both Plomley and his pre-supposition. The whole point is the fictional frame of reference for what an interesting person has chosen in the way of music. More on that topic another time, perhaps? For the moment, as one engaged in creative writing I aim to blog over the next few weeks on my own theme of books to avoid boredom, let’s say, while stuck on a lighthouse, assuming of course you had an inexhaustible supply of electricity, food and shelter; so spread the word and pile in there with your own comments.
1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/desert-island-discs/about/history-of-desert-island-discs accessed 1 April 2013.