and the luxury item they take is also fascinating (Kathy Burke's was a life sized laminated photo of James Caan from Dragons Den) so in the spirit of this amazing series here are my eight desert island discs.
The Shanghai-La's-Leader Of The Pack.
A slice of girl band perfection. From the petulant voice over at the beginning "Betty is that Jimmy's Ring your wearing?" to the "no,no,no" when poor Jimmy's motorcycle leaves the road. Drama, beehives, the lure of the bad boy. This song has it all.
The Specials Nite Klub
I love the Specials so much its almost impossible to choose one of their songs but this one transports me right back to my childhood. Ska was massive in the midlands where I come from. I remember every kid on the council estate I lived on wearing green parkas with mod badges on. The Specials seemed to sum up the utter frustration everyone felt at living in Thatchers Britain. Terry hall sneering " I don't work,Cos I don't have to,I don't have to work,There's no work to do"was a war cry to all the unemployed kids knocking around with nothing to do. I also think its line "I won't dance in a club like this,All the girls are slags and the beer tastes just like piss" is genius-we have all been to that nightclub at some point.
Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel Don't Give Up
My love for Kate Bush fan knows no bounds and really any one of her songs could have featured here but this collaboration with Peter Gabriel became very special to me earlier this year when my dad was dying from lung cancer. During some very dark times I would return to this song again and again and it would always give me hope. Illustrating the power of music to make even the darkest time somehow bearable.
My love of Divas is well documented on this blog and Barbra is simply the queen. Don't rain on my parade is the ultimate "fuck you" song and whenever somebody tells me I can't do something or makes me feel I'm not up to a task I just chuck this track on and I'm instantly back on the top of the mountain.
The Smiths were a hugely important band for me. As a glasses wearing geek with braces who was a bit of a bully magnet at school they offered salvation. To suddenly discover this group of misfits making beautiful music whilst wearing NHS glasses and a hearing aid was a revelation. I still love Morrissey and adore his solo work but The Smiths-ah there was a band."There is a light and it never goes out" the defiance of that statement-very hard to beat.
Some albums only really work in certain places. I had been largely underwhelmed by the first Fleet Foxes offering until on holiday in a villa in Spain. Suddenly with the long hot lazy days and the still evenings buzzing with crickets this album was the perfect soundtrack. Whenever I listen to it and especially this track I am transported to a perfect holiday.
I have been slightly obsessed with Stevie Nicks for years. The coke ravaged voice, the floaty dresses, the insistence that candles and incense be lit at all times. This song from the amazing Rumours album is spooky and atmospheric and always makes the hairs on the back of my neck go up.
My husband is a huge Straycats fan and this song always reminds me of him.If I was on a desert island I would like to think he would be with me and this would balance out the show tunes and introspection quite nicely.
For a book I think I would have to take The Rainbow by D H Lawrence. This tale of sexual repression and coalmines set in my hometown Nottingham has always been one of my favourites and I must have read it at least ten times.I love the character of Ursula "The one thing she believed in was in the love she had held for him. It remained shining and complete, a thing to hark back to. And she said to herself, when present things seemed a failure" delicious.
My Luxury Item would probably be paper and a pen. Quite tame I know but Debbie Harry chose the same so I'm in good company.As a writer I need to scribble and if what I write is rubbish I can at least wipe my bum on the discarded notes.