Thursday, 16 February 2012

Why I like Desert Islands Discs.

I am newly addicted to listening to Desert Island Discs podcasts via the Radio 4 website. And I have been pondering why this might be. Some interviews catch my attention more than others. Some strike more of a chord. So many stories and different takes on life. Music choices- meaning that I find a new kind of music or a new composer.

Frank Gardner; BBC Journalist shot 6 times in Riyadh. Now paraplegic but still reporting. Dame Cecily Saunders, founder of the Hospice movement saying of singleness "All in the end is Harvest". Nigella Lawson, and her love of cooking. But you also discover that she has lost her mother, sister and her first husband to cancer. Emma Thompson describing the how and why of the Sense and Sensibility screenplay. Baronness Ryder working as a SOE during World War II and then the years after, driving across Europe with supplies for the wreck that Poland was after the end of the war. Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, imprisoned at Auschwitz and Belsen, a member of the Auschwitz orchestra, who survived the Holocaust and later moved to England and played in the English Chamber Orchestra for many years. And there are so many others.

So why do I like it so much? Is it discovering Emile Waldteufel's music? Is it just the details of people's lives that are so fascinating? No- I think it is bigger than this - for beauty, bravery, courage, creativity and people's (albeit imperfect) goodness or kindness point me to the provider and source of it all.

“The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited” (C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory).

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