Skip to main content

Desert Island Disks II

A while ago I posted the titles of my Desert Island Disks. Here is my list of the tracks/albums that have a significance in my past. I'm not looking at that old post so I may have picked different things. 

London Calling

This isn't really my record, but my brother's. He was the first of us to buy a single, and he chose London Calling. What do you do when you've only got one single and it finishes? You put it on again and again. This is why it must really stick in my mind. I love the opening bass slide. I didn't really understand all the words, and I still don't even today.

The ice age is coming, the sun's souvenir.
Meltdown expected, the weekend is near.

Wild West Hero

When I was a child we had a stereogram - a record player in the middle of a cabinet with a large speaker at either side. It lived in what the estate agents would call a second reception room, which to me was the music room, as it also had our out of tune piano. As it wasn't used much it was cold. A friend of mine introduced me to ELO and I bought Wild West Hero. I would sit in front of the speakers and drink in the rich sounds. The a capella section was particularly yummy. 

Tubular Bells

Wild West Hero was my favourite single as a child and Tubular Bells was my favourite album. I would play it at least once or twice a week, if not more. Two sides of intricate varying music I could get lost in.

Time - ELO

Thanks to the friend who interested me in ELO I also caught up with the back catalogue, way back into the ancient days of 10538 Overture. Then they worked on a new album and there is nothing quite like the excitement of a new record from a band where you've heard so much old stuff. I got Time from our local record shop, with its panelled wood frontage and Profil font lettering. I wrote about the track Rain is Falling in my post about five songs I listen to for one line. I love every track though. It was not a disappointment. In 1981 it sounded so futuristic with all its vocoders and synths. I've just got it for Christmas, and even now, it still sounds great.

I've written on Medium about how I tried to convince my sixth form that ELO are cool.

Genesis by Genesis

In the same way that I delved into the ELO back catalogue through a friend who bought their records I also caught up with Genesis - my favourite childhood band. Then the Genesis album came out. I listened to it on a portable tape player as my mum drove me to a university open day along a rainy, dark M1. You can't get much more atmospheric than that. 

Lark Ascending

During my University years I visited the abbey at Iona for a week. A friend of mine regularly visited and invited me along. One morning we had a service in a small chapel with modern pews made out of light wood. The sun was shining bright through the windows and a piece of classical music was playing. I found out afterwards that it was Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams. Sitting in that chapel, on that morning, in that abbey, on that island set in the bluest sea was the closest I've been to heaven on earth. Lark Ascending will always remind me of that.

Don't give up

This was a duet with Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush. After hearing the album So, through the wall in my third year at York Uni I asked my neighbour if I could tape it. This particular track was one I played when I needed encouragement during my final exams.

Boys of summer

Again this reminds me of University. That same neighbour gave me a mixtape that she and her friends liked, and this was my favourite song on it. It reminds me of that summer, particularly the four weeks after my exams and before the end of term when I had nothing I had to do, so could do what I liked. I read Bleak House, which isn't the wildest thing to do, but each to his own.

I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac
A voice inside my head said, "don't look back, you can never look back".


Sing by Travis is on the album The Invisible Band, which is a favourite for car journeys. It has such a carry-you-along groove, that if I had to listen to one song on loop for ever, I'd choose this one.


This is a track from Elbow's album, Seldom Seen Kid. It doesn't represent a particular time or place, but was my favourite track on my favourite album from what became new favourite band from my middle-aged years. Guy Garvey's lyrics are brilliant, and he can sing pretty well too, and (and this becomes important) you can hear the words. Not that I'm against songs where you can't hear the words. I've got Kingdom of Rust by Doves and I can't hear most of the words on that, apart from the chorus, but it makes great driving music. Anyway, we're here to discuss Elbow. 

Wichita Lineman

This is a bit of a ringer. I wouldn't say I'm a particular fan of Glen Campbell, but I've included this track for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the bridge is something that Steve Wright used to play at the end of his afternoon show on Radio 1, which I'd listen to in school holidays, so it reminds me of those days. The second reason is that it's just a great song.

Here's a video where you can hear the bit I mean playing in the background.


This is my new favourite track by Elbow. The rest of the album isn't the best, but this track is, well, magnificent. I heard a great story about it from Guy (on his radio show, not down the pub) and looking for to get the facts straight I found the story on

  • Paul McCartney wrote Elbow an email after hearing "Magnificent." Guy Garvey explained to The Guardian the former Beatle had been dropping off his grandkids at school and had to sit in the car until the song finished to find out who it was. Garvey added that getting such praise from McCartney means "my work here is done."

    Update 30 March 2023:

London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony

The London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony is the best thing I've ever seen on TV. The whole thing was just wonderful. When the last Olympic ring was hauled up into place with the others I almost cried. The original music for it reminds me so much of that. We bought the 2CD set of the music and played it on our summer holiday. (There's an idea for another post - summer holiday soundtracks). The second CD is actually quite missable, with an eclectic mix of tracks. The first one is great though.


Popular posts from this blog

Follow up to Matt's "Three feelings" post

This is in response to Matt 's post Three feelings I don't have a word for .  (A blog post in response to a blog post. How quaint.) "Imagined vastness" sounds like a very specific instance of the more general "sense of wonder" or sensawunda . For me I get that feeling of imagined vastness when reading Iain M Banks' Culture series. I don't get the Stack Overflow vertigo he talks about, but I do have a feeling of holding something almost physical when I've got something on the clipboard and I haven't pasted it yet. It's similar to the feeling that I (maybe it is just me) get when I know there's a bit of coffee left at the bottom of the cup. Atemporal hotel lobbies is something I can't really relate to. I do have my own unnamed feeling though: Cycling to work It's that moment when I whizz down our sloped drive and start pedalling up to the road. Because I WFH I go out at lunchtime these days, and the feeling just isn't the sa

20 years of blogging: fourth post

4/1/2000 Things are moving   We've had the letter from Wycliffe about "raising support".  They want us to aim that 25% of our income comes from other people by the end of a year, and 50% by the end of two years.  Other news: I've officially asked for voluntary redundancy Spoiler: after 4 years of trying I didn't even get to 20%, so I was paid a salary after all.

20 years of blogging: First post

Back in 1999 it mostly cost money to run a blog (from what I can remember). You had to sort out your own hosting. Then Dave Winer  made on offer on his blogging platform  for a 60 day free trial , so I was away. So what was my very first post? What words did I choose to post for all on the internet to see?  23 December 1999 I'm stil trying to decide what to do with this. Click on the skull to add your suggestion. Oh, that's not very good is it. A typo in the second word too. The URL was (I think. Everything I say could be unreliable, because it was a while ago.) I also created an FAQ page that day: Who are the Morriss family? We are just a normal family with a dad who likes exploring the internet. Why don't you have more information? Because I'm not sure want I want to do with this site. I think there are no typos there. The idea was that I would share family news. Come back in January to see what my next