Another Radio 4 proposition that they probably wouldn’t like – “Desert Island Noise”

Posted July 30, 2011 in ideas  |  3 Comments so far

When you think about it, the pretext of Desert Island Discs is pretty strange. I’ve never been able to figure out how it works.

Is the idea that you’re on a ship that’s sunk and you’ve escaped with six records, a book, and some random luxury item? Or are you victim of a harsh but bizarrely genteel pogrom, summoned to Broadcasting House and processed by Kirsty Young before being handed your requested records and then forcibly, irreversibly deported from civilisation?

Neither scenario strikes me as particularly credible, and this is probably why I often wonder about changes to the Desert Island Discs setup. Except the changes that come to mind always make it less feasible and more ridiculous.

People that know me in real life have probably heard me pitching the idea of Desert Island Desert Island Discs, a show in which the budding castaway has to choose six episodes of Desert Island Discs to preserve their sanity in future exile. I don’t know which six I’d choose but among them would be Sir Digby Jones and his selection of motivational power ballads.

Digby Jones

Fun fact: this man, Gordon Ramsay, Michael Howard and Tessa Sanderson all chose Bryan Adams' "Everything I Do (I Do It For You)" on Desert Island Discs

But Desert Island Desert Island Discs has a flaw. A few years into its life a new controller would inevitably arrive at Radio 4 and say, “we need to go deeper”. Desert Island Desert Island Desert Island Discs would be born. Not long afterwards the audience will demand another layer – Desert Island Desert Island Desert Island Desert Island Discs. And when would the madness end?

No, Desert Island Desert Island Discs is a dangerous path to take. So instead I’ve got another proposition for Radio 4 – Desert Island Noise.

The setup for Desert Island Noise is quite simple. You are being banished to a desert island (shipwreck or pogrom, whichever floats your boat). You have been given a digital music player and some speakers. The music player has a single audio file on it. That audio file is precisely one second long. That is all you have to listen to, for the rest of your life, on this island. Hence the name, Desert Island Noise.

It’s harsh and unfair, like a gameshow designed by a psychopathic computer, but it would be interesting, don’t you think? Maybe Sir Digby Jones would take a 1-second wav of someone saying his name approvingly (“Digby!”). Maybe Andy McNab would have a burst of gunfire or the last shriek of a vanquished adversary. And god only knows what Benny Hill would have chosen. Well, I’d want to find out anyway.

Should Desert Island Noise be made? And if it was, and you were on it, what noise would you choose?

3 comments so far.  Post a comment

  1. Doris
    July 30, 2011 at 2:21 pm [ Permalink

    Napalm Death’s You Suffer (excerpt) or Yoko Ono’s primal scream (excerpt)

  2. July 30, 2011 at 6:02 pm [ Permalink

    I would consider the “Ah yeah!” sample. Always perks me up:

  3. Joe
    August 4, 2011 at 9:34 am [ Permalink

    We’ve just come back from Moscow and over there it’s just called Desert Islands. Each week an oligarch chooses six islands he’d use to form his ideal archipelago.

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