This week, over on the PCGF I was invited to participate in the Virtual Desert Island Discs thread. The concept is basically the same as the “real” DID, only we get to pick six musical discs, one DVD and one game. I took a few liberties with the format, but anyway I made my post, and thought I’d share it here for your general viewing pleasure.

Thank you Miss Lawley, although my name has nothing to do with the insect! *Shakes fist*

Well, it appears I am the diamond participant of Virtual Desert Island Discs, and I think I’ve chosen some pretty good gems from my music catalogue. I’ve been fairly cheeky with a few of my selctions, and there may be some controversy regarding my rather “mainstream” choices for the most part – but I will admit, I probably haven’t exposed myself to as much music as I perhaps should have, but to be honest, I’ve picked stuff that I like. Saying that, I have rather a diverse taste in music and don’t mind a bit of anything, no idea if my list reflects this, but we shall see…

Scrubs – The Official Soundtrack Straight in with the cheeky choice – it’s a soundtrack! And indeed the reason for the cheekiness is that I’d actually like to smuggle onto the island three extra CD’s with it, but they’re so closely related I thought I’d group them together under this. So anyway yes. Scrubs – a fanastic sitcom, quite possibly one of the best post 2000 comedies ever, and certainly the best to come out of America in a while. But it’s not just the funny humor or indeed, the serious bits that are the only reason for the show’s greatness. The show’s producer Bill Lawrence often spoke with Zach Braff (JD) about the shows soundtrack. And indeed, Braff has quite the talent for picking some fantastic songs and as a result, makes it what I believe to be one of the best contempory soundtracks to ever grace a CD. From the laid back “Hooch” by Everything, to the almost haunting “Hold on Hope” by Guided By Voices, every track just reeks of quality, and indeed are used to great effect in the series itself. However, the mark of a good soundtrack – which this one certainly has- it’s that the songs can stand alone from the show itself. And songs like the interestingly titles “Dracula from Huston” by the even more weirdly named “Butthole Surfers” are the sort of songs that just make me glad for the invention of music. And my two favourite tracks happen to bookend the album. The main theme by Lazlo Bane entitled “Superman” is just so infectious, it’s probably one of the hew songs I can find myself humming everywhere, while Colin Hay’s “Overkill” acoustic version is just a must listen to song, even if you don’t have the memory of Dr Cox smashing Hay’s guitar at the end of the televised version. Now, I’ve already said a lot about this album, so I won’t go on too much about the next bit, but obviously I haven’t explained the cheeky part yet. See, the three other discs happen to also be Zach Braff related, and they are the Season 2 soundtrack, purely as it features some more powerful songs and holds a torch to the first one well – it’s a must if you have the first, while the other two are the Garden State oundtrack and most recently, The Last Kiss soundtrack, as they feature a range of similar songs that are absolutely must listen tos, and indeed assuming I can fit them into the case, I’d smuggle them along as well. Can music be beautiful? Yes.

Radiohead – The Bends It may not have recieved the commercial success of OK Computer, or have the freshness of Pablo Honey, but this to me is my favourite Radiohead album. I only realtively recently got into Radiohead a couple of years ago, when I finally left the farmyard of social sheep that was High School – heck, I started opening my ears to music other than the charts a fair while prior to that, but it was hearing No Suprises at a friends house that first got me interested in Yorke’s lyrics and indeed the creative things the band do with sound. “Just” and “My Iron Lung” I feel are great examples of Radiohead at one end of the spectrum, and “Fake Plastic Trees” – probably my favourite Radiohead song – shows the other, and from start to finish The Bends is just an album worth listening to. It’s as simple as that.

In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003 Again, a bit of a cheeky choice, as I’ve gone for an album that incorporates a fair few of their best singles. But heck, although I do like some of the album stuff that was never released as a single, I think the ones that were define REM as one of the best bands of modern times. Hearing Stipe sing the lyrics “No, no no/You’re not alone” on “Everybody Hurts” I think is one of those moments when you just know that anyoen in the room, with it’s three people or three hundred people are all with you right there. It’s cheesy yeah, but it’s probably one of the defining songs of the early 90’s era, and a timeless classic that will always be remembered. “Daysleeper” and “Night Swimming” are also serene yet strangely calm, and it’s probably the album that would get me through the hardest times on the island, hence the reason for bringing the album. And if you’ve had a long week, “Bad Day” is the perfect compliment to the end of the week.

Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? Yep, a rather populist choice, but it truly embodies the height of the Britpop Era for me. Growing up in Hull all my life, the ninties are probably going to be the defining period for me musically. Sure, I was too young to go to pubs or clubs, and I wasn’t touching the dance scene with a large bargepole, but whereas the sickly sweetness of the Spice Girls have faded almost from memory (thank God) – this album remains timeless. It just features great sing after great song in a non stop relentless march of quality, “Roll With It”, “Wonderwall” “Don’t Look Back in Anger” are all on here, and all seven minutes and twenty seven seconds of “Champagne Supernova” – featuring what I think is possibly one of the best lyrics ever – “Slowly walking down the hall/faster than a cannonball” – I’m not sure why, but I simply love it.

Manic Street Preachers – Everything Must Go Again, I didn’t get into the Manic’s until fairly recently, although I’ve still yet to hear their latest release. However, I prefer this album to the later ones for one simple reason: “A Design For Life” – I think it’s a fantastic song, and indeed, really really good lyrics, blended together to form another 90’s masterpiece. “Kevin Carter” and “Austrailia” are also really good tracks on the album, and indeed are probably another two songs that do remind me of the nineties era. I think the main thing about any Manics song is the guitar, and the opening riff of “A Design for Life” is just so recognisable, even before the “Libraries give us power” lyric even kicks in. It just seems one of the most perfect examples of great songwriting coupled with great delivery.

Stereophonics – Performance & Cocktails OK, so it’s not as rocky as SVLO nor does it have the more laid back style of JEEP, but what it does have is a collection of fantastic tracks from the best thing to come out of Wales since sheep. And that’s probably a lot of things. Defining moments on this track for me are of course the singles, again remidners of the nineties – although this is a lot more later nineties/early noughties than the others, but indeed it’s a fantastic piece of work. The sublime “Just Looking” is a superb example of how a rather relaxed verse should transition into a fantastic chorus, and that, and indeed the rest of the album has what I call an element of “hummabilty” – as nearly every song you can find yourself idling away a few moments humming along to “I Wouldn’t Believe Your Radio” and “Hurry Up And Wait” and Jones’ gravelly tones elevate this album to something above the rest of many of the other releases at the time. It’s an album to literally just kick back at the end of a long week, and enjoy, and that’s why it would have to come along with me to the island.

So, time for the DVD. And I’m going to be very cheeky once again. Scrubs Series 1-3 Boxset Because quite simply, I couldn’t pick out one sason alone. I’d pick out all the seasons, but one isn’t avilable yet and another is still being filmed. Perhaps if a box set with all siz appears, I would bring that with me. Anyway, as I said earlier, Scrubs is just a fantastic comedy series, and not only that but a fine piece of television. All the caharcters have their own quirks – but unlike other comedies were you tend to have charcters that have either/or stereotypes, Scrubs manages to give each charcter slightly different faults and indeed strengths, making a melting pot of ideas and throwing a heap of surrealism and slapstick to produce a show that not only makes you laugh, but can actually make you cry with some of the most moving stuff seen on TV. Heck, I challenge you not to watch possibly the best episode ever in Season 3: My Screwup. Fans will know it already, but it features Brendan Frasier and prehaps one of the most cleverest suprise twists ever, and is probably the best example of how skillful Scrubs is at mixing the downright hilarious, before punching you in the face and stamping on your groin by the ending for an extremely powerful and emotional scene. A special mention goes to John C. McGinley and of course Zach Braff, who together manage to punctuate a fanastic episode brilliantly in the last scene.

Now this is honestly my hardest choice, that of the game. I’ve played a lot of games in my time, some good, some bad and some downright fantastic, but picking one alone is a challenge I’m not sure I’m upto, and even as I make this selection, I can’t help but feel more than a little disspaointed that others can’t make it. However, for the third time, I’m going to be especially cheeky and say: The Broken Sword Series You see, when Broken Sword was first released, back in 1996, I was but a wee nipper of only eight years old. I had about as much experience of what a “Point and Click” was as my twin brother probably had of Advanced Genetics – that’s “Not a lot, if at all”, by the way – and indeed, I didn’t own my first PC at home until 2002. However, back in 1999 I was first introduced to the world of George Stobbart and friends via, of all things, a PlayStation and a demo of Broken Sword 2. Yes, it was that demo, featuring the puzzle with the bean loving watchman. The first thing that obviously struck me was the artwork – surely this couldn’t be a game? This was a cartoon, but one that was a work of art at the same time time. Of course, back then my mind laughed the hardest at the watchman farting incidents, and more often that not I would try and sneak George in just to watch the part where he nearly gets in the hut, only to be repelled by the smell of methane. Admittedly, nearly 7 years later, and I still laugh at that section, but now I can see even more the skill of the writers for the game. They knew they weren’t just spinning a yarn, they were telling an interactive story. Sure, all the crap about the Knights Templar and Native Americans and Aztec goddess was all historical myth, but what a myth. Stobbart pretty much embodied everything I wanted in a game hero – he wasn’t a gung-ho solider, he didn’t have a super secret sixth sense, heck he barely had the ability to keep his woman longer than a few weeks before she was recaptured or fell into some other trap. But it was his normailty, heck, his humanity that made me warm to him,and it was Charles Cecil’s team that made for me, and Adventure game feel like an Adventure. From the cast, to the gorgeus score, the unmistakeable voice of Rolf Saxon, the puzzles and indeed playing the Broken Sword series are just the perfect example of a really good story, turned into almost an interactive novel. And they even kept up the quality so far in the move to 3D. I’ve yet to play number four other than the demo, but from the last three games, I know I’m in safe hands. If you need any more reason why I think the Broken Sword series is one of the best video game series in exsistence, go to the website, download the MP3 of the song entitled: Bruno’s Death and remember: Broken Sword isn’t just a game. It’s not just an interatcive story. It’s an experience. And it’s an experience that should never be neglected. And you know the best bit? It was Made in Britain.

So, those were my choices. Thank you Miss Lawley for inviting me onto your show, and now I must go and spend my loan on Broken Sword 4. Then probably some food, Priorties people!

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