Hear stories & track choices from castaways including Len Goodman, Maya Angelou and Stephen Hawking.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Pvc sounds music radio broadcasts, Hi, I'm lower than welcome to an extra special edition of the desert. Ala discs podcast, where guests were invited to choose the eight tracks book and luxury item that they want to take with them. If they were cast away to a desert island. There are over two thousand, archive episodes on BBC science. That's a lot and whether you are regularly listener new to the programme. You might not know where to start with, the good news is I'm here to help. I'm gonna show
You some of my favorite additions from our incredible back. Look out doping use much joy. Is they bring me I'll, bring you a world renowned, pianist, an award winning african american writer poet, a best selling crime author, a star judge from strictly and one of the most inspiring personal stories? You will ever hear anywhere, of course, some fantastic music. Let's start with a dancer lehne, goodman former head judge of strictly was born in london's east end Andy's old voyage for his grandfather, stool and became a welder in the docks, but every saturday it done is glad rags and go off dancing stay casting the wayne twenty eleven and she asked him that growing up in london spat no green. While it was no great, we actually moved when I was quite young out into king went out for five. However, my mom used to take me all the time back up the bathroom green and are used to play with all the kids in a street and
and so my early memories. I've been a member for green in our little house there. My grandparents house said did he nights menage in and one one cause with great on the piano yourself toll in evidence, sing sullen, my mom used to teach me You kimono stable the dollar down upon the ground and not be sitting there, one of five five, Given my little, they was just wonderful memories and you did you like a bit of an audience where you a bit of a show off and always idea, was quite good, areas, an outgoing and uganda this business then was a fruit and vegetables and then once I became about eleven ain't got a shop before that yet stole and on a saturday and enjoying the school holidays, I'd be in charge of the salad stole, and that would be my job now. Nothing that help me
well to get to chat with people and not to be shy and outgoing. And what about was your grandfather? A bit of a I mean the image we have? Maybe a cliched one of those people who run those businesses, certainly back in the day, is that you know, but a bit of adele boy but of a movement shaking ass. I remember one of the earliest memories I have of him in his shop a huge effort to that goal. Bins where they used to put the groceries and stuff, and he had a big hundred white sack of potatoes and east chuck. One half into this one been and the other half into the other been and on one he put a penny a pound and, on the other it said selected, penny hyper unless it but grander than the sun. The title a subject, but you so one another penny, hopefully ones who always go first and then that's easy and others are. They were like that lesson in life yeah, and what about the beetroot boiler? Did you have a bath in libya
Well, you have my man's job was to get the ball beetroots, and I had this like cauldron that I'd like six gas rings things when underneath and now used to both it up and then debate routes are going more when it was tepid. My name used is put me and scrubbed and of course I was always filthy, dirty mused comply on the dead. from the board and, of course outcome and it would be covered in scum and then in would go debate. Is that truly and everybody is desired. delicious? I want a loving it with especial stop Yeah. That's a little little lends, nor does life unquiet not have appeared as well. Of course, as you do, and I wasn't gonna run out of an incident- let's have some music lincoln what's next one of my early s, memories, my dead taken me into the front room. We had a most marvelous record player grundig one side there was a cocktail cabinet was very partial and the other side was the requisite.
and he used to apply all his favorite from the war before the war and to love the mills brothers, their money back in his guitar, and everything else you here is just them. Making the noise with their mouths, and it's just happy happy music or nothing I'm stuck on a desert island, I'm gonna get glum and I want to be cleared up, and I think this is the sort of using the gestures shoe. A dying man died, die dying where's the tag them die,
that guy. I dive moodily lady. Let any little ready to berlin relate only to that in a minute. I know many that have not been amended and under any good at that. That was the mills, brothers and tiger rack sue. You will only childless was those outline S, spongy totally doubted upon sport, latin, where you how lovely wonderful, is three digit number. You have very fancy car. When you run over seventeen years you're with mighty by then we had seven greengrocers shops, and this in that and plenty of money come when I was seventeen? My mum was worried that I'd learn to drive and have a crash, so she said I'm not having that you're gonna have a nice sturdy vehicles that, for my seventeenth birthday brand new jack, you mark two thing like most a genoese have proper thing. None either little accident, not a big one in a car park. A call back into me and just knocked slow:
they got almost man. Look a car back. She said, do not drive in that it might not the wheels out of line or something but me another one, look at they say so they, while, like you, can't body but of turned absolutely fantastic clearly before he was seventeen europeans had divorced when you were held. When I was about ten, my parents divorce, those. Split out, but in and not in a horrible why they split up and still saw me dad and I live with my mom and, and it was fine nonetheless, quite usual in that that would mean the early fifties who says when the law it was a big shot color. It was an area everyday middle, fifty zog s summer that, but you know too little anecdote regarding onus, my dad my stepmother who still alive ninety five now, hopefully listening but my mom was on alone and I went to dance and parts women poem captain lake quite badly on a stone step. I went to the first. I met
so he went on the ten away in his opening poland's at anyone. Leaving could take a little boy to the hospital. A man came along and said I m just leaving out take him and he took me to the hospital and eventually son and I told him- you sit on your home, so you took me back to my house and by then it was swelling up and throbbing and I was crying a bit. So we pick me up and carried me to the front door of my house knocked on the door. My mom said aloud. He said your sons injured himself. Socially, come in and six months later, she married him really there that's how they met. Example: one education, That is true. It is a great story, land and that is less goodman speaking to cast a young in twenty eleven out next maya, undulate, the american writer and poets, allow everything that you did was poetic. As you will hear, she was brought up by her grandmother in arkansas and the south of america during the depression and was interviewed. The desert island discs by Michael Paine,
consent in nineteen. Eighty eight pages- I remember my grandmother own the store. It was the only black on stolen the town. And so we had goods on the shelves. Mama, however, was a typical west africa. I never knew that until antelope moved west africa, but she sold things so the people have no mammy, but the poor people would go down and get the handouts, powdered, eggs, powdered, milk, large and am margarine, which was why just like lie, but with yellow stuff. You could mixed with it, make it better coloured and they would bring that stuff back to the store and swap with man grandmother she would give them tens. So many tens of mackerel and exchange
For so many buckets of powdered eggs will return my brother and I were the only kids in the school were eating powdered egg fanny as we wanted a peanut butter. We'd have to go round to somebody's back door because mamma would have traded our peanut butter for some powdered milk quotas, a boy was it at any rate, rigidly segregated? Absolutely what did when did you first come across directly racial prejudice? Well, I guess I was about eight. We went to the movies my brethren and there was a girl, a white girl behind the end in the box office, who will take the times of all the light. Kids take them by hand, but when my brain,
put a dime said she had a cigar box and she would tell him break them into the cigar backs my mind you she was from a family, so poor, lived on my grandmother's land and I couldn't be leave this meanness and then all the white kids would go right in through the front door, and the black kids would have to go up a very rickety outside staircase. It was very dangerous. I thought I mean it was so shaky and then sort of almost crawl into a roof which hadn't been swept. I guess since then the place had been built, so there were peanut shells and paper and all that stuff on the floor, but it was pitched so I mean there was at such a rake at such an angle, this balcony, which they called the buzzard's roost. It was picked so that you had the feeling you might.
couple days on top of all those white folks, terrible- and I cried- I couldn't believe it. I was such a nice girl. You know by their time I'd stop talking to us. I was really nice. I didn't lie because I couldn't speak, you know and there I was being forced to live like that. Let's talk about the reason: why became mute in a moment must now have another choice of recoveries might well. I would choose roberta flags killing myself saying
Roberta flack coming me softly. my eyes, you do you mention that before we say that record or to the age of eight, your mute. What were the circumstances that thirty dreadful when I was seven and a half I was raped by my mother's boyfriend and the rapist was killed.
the policeman told my grandmother, my mother's mother, with whom I was staying, that damn the man had been kicked death data and I heard that and somehow I, with my seven and a half year logic, I decided that my voice had killed him that, because I told who did it, That my voice was the culprit, and so I decided that damn I'd better, not talk, because anybody whose name I called who heard me, might die. So I stopped now that last five years and what rescued you from that silence, poetry,
I loved poetry and the woman in my town, black lady, started me at about eight to reading the books in the library. I kept a tablet and abbot right on the tablet whenever anybody ask me anything and in the schools because mama my grandmother owned most of the land and there are lots of their land, rather bad people, sort of couldn't be too unkind. You know that was her california, grand baby
although out of her hearing, they would say things to me about me like this is a shame, since the hendersons california granddaughter done gone mental, the brutes that family, mrs flowers, this lovely lady had me over to her house. That was about almost twelve and she would ask me about things. I'd read and what did I like and that right and she said you think,
you, like poetry, you dont, like poetry, when I couldn't believe that she knew I loved it. Doesn't know you dont, like put, I was writing variously. I love it. Does it you'll, never like it until you speak it until you feel it come across your time. Through your teeth over your lips, you will never love poetry. I ran out of the house. I ran to the store, she came to the store and she pointed a finger at me, which is a very serious thing, lack of a black americans we have a saying that goes from Jesse jackson to the Y know on the street corner. Don't put your finger on my face? That is very serious. She pointed a thing you're at me, which is I mean she knew better, but just really shocked me. Did you dont, like poetry,
she continued arresting me four months until family I went into the house and I tried to speak poetry, and I had a wise man say mrs flowers and poetry returned, voice to me and what a voice it was can't get enough of. It is stunning: listen recorded back in nineteen, eighty eight, when some Michael parkinson was presenting the programme. Next, we have another very talented artists, for you too, in a completely different discipline and with a very different story, the pianist lying, I was a child prodigy and classical music for when an ant, his talent and showmanship of end in worldwide renown is paid the president's loyalty and a global audience of four and a half billion at the opening of the two thousand and eight beijing olympics. But when he was interviewed bike,
it's the young in twenty ten. He very movingly talked about the cost of all that and the price that he had to pay for his success and gave an insight into the dedication that his father would demand from his only child children's wolves, indecent nature and, of course, is the minute must play their part. A rubinstein using lang language. That memorably was sir, your first recital that was one of the pieces that you played an, and you said see you in your father talked about this idea of being the number one pianist in China? It was. It was an intense relationship from the beginning. Was it
in the very beginning, was ok. Ashley relationship became pretty tough one. My mom sailor home on my father quit his job to be with me in beijing to prepare to take our decision to the best possible three in china. At that time we became very intensive. Your parents would artistic people themselves your father being deleted the local orchestra. What about your mother? My mama should love music, but she was very yeah yeah. She wanted to be a musician, better foreseen in the end she turned to her to have a decent job, but it's nothing exciting and nothing musical. Did you get a sense that sat in a way you were set of expressing their artistic passions that these were to people who very much had had to more than knuckle down? You know they absolutely had their parts worked out for them by the community in the time that they lived in, but you could express yourself, musically, anne and artistically yeah. I mean my parents had
You dream, but that generation of people I think many of them just chief their dream in half way, because the revolution that does disturbed, I asked after reforms time, which is after some, now. We are actually only amount. I one kid. The only child generation. So so, therefore, any I found Are you my generation that third, the parents put a lot of pressure on a kid because first off Many of them did and achieve their dream. Now they have a chance, but only one chance learn kid. Only civil so you can imagine. The term is a very unusual time, in the other hands. If I have a like, let's say four siblings, like my mom or like five siblings, like my father, then I don't think I will have the chance to study piano, because I see him off with a lot of money and effort.
It's an education and focus. So in a way it worked for me. I want you certainly did. I want to ask you a little bit more later about your journey to beijing and leaving your mother. That happened when you were a roundabout night. there's something known, china. I understand called the lange lang effect, which is that, estimated to be more than thirty five million young chinese piano players at how are you treated by those young piano blurs when you go home? Are you able to two too Then the streets I mean is certainly a piano become some real phenomena in china. I don't. By those to do with me or not, but piano beak, because im. The number one instruments. Of course I can. I can water the street with our security, but I mean I got a lot of picture taken with the tenth actually nice when I go out for a coffee or something people stop and then taking picture are asking for autograph, and sometimes I got mobbed
but so few good, because seif classroom musicians and also be loved by the general public is everything. Ok, let's have some music, then we're undiscovered three. What are we gonna hear now we're going to listen to my fear, singer, channel, polarity and his most famous sounds olympia. This one really use, army to start listening to classical prize on power. Body with is the first classical tenor to reach out to millions of people. are you nah.
this. this, I know, world fine, lieutenant variety and suddenly o my son. So
Lange lang. You say you were nine, then, when you moved from the family home in january, that is north east of basing his to beijing itself, you moved with your father and the purpose there was to get you into the conservatory. Yes, I remember the first day I got so depressed people. we moved into a real small and very poor, and Did she neighbourhood, I think six family sheer one toilet. Is it true that your father would get up at five in the morning and go to this common or toys that area and locked himself in, in order that when you woke a couple of hours later, didn't have to queue to use. The bathroom is that you're, not every morning, was sometimes yes, it is most neighbours, understood by some neighbours, hate it. This was to do than about the management of your time that you could not spend an hour queuing, because that was time that you could be practising was
right and other things that I've read that sometimes seem difficult to believe. Did he also when you are practising because the flat that you lived in with so called? Is it true that he got into bed to warm your bed in us? Yes, that's true. What do you make of that? That's fathers love. I think that some that's really shows his love for me and he supporting eyes father I got very emotional alarm. I remember those things, but in the same time my father was very tough. Also, it was like you love and hate religion there. couple Lang, lang in conversation with Kirsty in twenty ten now to scotland and Va Mcdermott, a fantastic writer? I just loved her program. It was such a vivid depiction of a young woman, finding her voice and finding a path in a world that didn't necessarily seem like it was going to provide one for her
as a crime fiction. Writer, historic, certainly don't spare the reader domestic violence, murder, abduction, it all features. She was the first state school educated scott to win a place and held his college in oxford when she was just sixteen and when Kirsty young castro wayne twenty thirteen, she talked about her childhood grown up in cocoa, five fell: Mcdermott, you were a clever girl and at one point your family moved opposite the library- and I understand that you are in a nice of that place on a daily basis. What we reading crime fiction
running when we know there was no claim fiction unless you cut in the blight and really in the hardy boys nancy. Do I just work my within the fiction shells, unbelievable. You could take for books at a time to them to be nonfiction. Heaven for offend. You should just have unmitigated pleasure, so I was reading really anything I get my hands on in the library did become my my second home and growing up in five. You said that you felt different from other people. Can you articulate that feeling I felt like an outsider? I didn't feel look my concerns. With the same as the concerns of my contemporaries, I grew up and coordinate our went to school. That was very strongly academic, but faith was in many ways a queer, parochial queer closed world and, generally speaking in five, if you a bright
he went to edinburgh, sometimes university. If you and quite so bright, you went to Dundee or sterling, and then he came back to five, probably eighty five. Ninety percent of the people who taught me or from five- and I want
it's something beyond those horizons, but I just assumed that was because the one thing I really wanted was to be a writer, because in the nineteen sixties and five there were no lesbians that didn't exist. It wasn't even a word that crossed people's horizon really saw. I had no way of of realizing what my sexuality was on. What that that meant for me, did you spend a lot of time alone? Yes, I had a big labrador retriever and the two of us used often just go off for the day by ourselves me and the dog and a book now here's something from your younger years that might help us figure out a bit more about you and you'd been to england. Just once he went on a week's holiday to blackpool and you decided that you are going to go to oxford university based on Platteville yeah yeah that that, obviously that's quite a leap at the age of well. You went for the interview at sixteen. You were offered a place. You attended oxford university for need,
seventeen. How did you find it? There was complete culture. Shock was, unlike anything, I'd ever experienced, I'm an end up going there because of the books are derived from the library you I've had the challis schoolbooks and when people left the challis schoolbooks, Zelda went to the sorbonne or oxford or the kensington school of needlework money was neglect kensington school of needlework, I'm a friend's wasn't good enough for the sorbonne so that we left oxford it was everything was different. Even the vegetables were different. The accent must have not understood what I said. You not come for five kenworth photoplay respects Lebowski the student therein. I lived understood what I was thinking about. The vexed, above all things, I've never seen before men mushrooms came of attended the machine, a mushroom as a mushroom. never seen red papers of green peddling, never seen water class or salary faster movement in italian restaurant allude to that had passed over the hills? This A new pizza was, though so, ordered a pizza, and this rhone flopping came in on my last, not pizza, and obviously
Let me like I'm completely mad copies pieces horsemanship uncovered in butter on everybody's I'd. She is just seriously from another planet. There will be a few people. Listen you actually know what we're talking about divide pizza, delicious. Let's have some music than vomit term has we're all night were on your fourth choice. This is the allegro from in bunbury number six and it's a wonderful piece of music, but this was one of my first experiences of of classical music Ivan when I went to Oxford one of the things that people tend to do as after dinner, nothing good, bye, somebody's women that put on some music generally on this over the first pieces of classical music that I had actually something went ping inside my head now thought that is amazing. There was something about the way that the the music was constructed. That really seem to feeding to my brain. In a way that made everything's sharp autumn brighter and this so I have to say I associate with with my first love because my mother, my finally in oxford, I fight,
We actually managed to fall in love with someone who fell in love with me, and when I hear this music someday, I can still pictures of an autumn after noon with the sun fading from the sky sitting by a gas fire toasting crumpets an undue and and andand. So it takes me back in a good way as well to those years,
poverty allegro from parks and in both concerto number six played by the english baroque soloists conducted by John elliot gardner chosen by crime writer vomit dammit, whose cultural meteor includes both bark and deep cried peter, my kind of woman.
At christmas. Ninety. Ninety two, similarly special guest, was professor stephen hawking. The wilderness scientist was told at the age of twenty one that he had motor noon disease. His best selling book a brief history of time from big bang. Two black holes had been published in nineteen, eighty, nine and ten years later, when he recorded his desert and disk. He was almost completely paralysed and was using a voice synthesizer to speak, so asked him about going up to oxford, to study mass in physics where he admitted to working for only our day. Why couldn t be bothered to work. She wondered what lawyer people were at a solution with what was called the establishment to look forward to, but afterwards on our efforts are concerned.
but it had just wonder third election victory with the slogan. You'd, never had it so good. I am most of my contemporary sat. Oxford were born with life. There didn't see anything were working. Four. Nevertheless, you still managed to solve in a few hours problems that your fellow students couldn't do in as many weeks. They were obvious. lee aware from what they ve said, since that you had an exceptional talent Were you aware using the course at oxford at that time That's ridiculous lady! She one could get through without going to any lectures, but just by going to learn or a tutorial. So each you didn't remember many facts. Just a few regulations
but it was at oxford. Wasn't it the two first notice that your hands and feet were quite doing what you wanted them to do? How did you explain that to yourself at the time of the first order, what our current drawers going about properly and I had a bad fall down stairs from college you're, a common rule college doktor. After the fall with us, I was worried that I might have had brain damage. However, she thought there was nothing wrong and told me to cut down on the beer after my final sat oxford. I went a person for the summer. I was definitely weaker when I came back, but I thought that was called
buy a bad stomach upset that I had had. But at what point did you give in and admit that there was something really wrong and decide to get medical advice? I went home for christmas that was a very cold winter of sixty two to sixty degrees. My mother persuaded me to go and skate on the lake saint Alban's, though I knew I was not really up to it. I fell over and had great difficulty getting up I realise there was something wrong. She took me to the family doctor, and then three weeks in hospital- and they told you the worst I watch and for a truly having chests, but they never actually told me what was wrong
except that it was not a mess and that it was not a typical case. They didn't tell me what prospects were, but I guessed enough to know that they were pretty bad. So I didn't want to ask and finally we were told that you only had a couple of years or so to live. Let's pause at that point, a new story and have your next records thing about. You react one after I was I note with motor neurons decision. Nineteen sixty three I occurring tomorrow, her ass, someone who suited the dark and uphold prolific mood. I what said, unfortunately, mice.
Since I sure it's not very well educated and pronounces wagner, I have to spell him be a r and d are together to sound approximately right, the four opera, some hurrying, psycho verrier of greatest work. I went to see them at bearer in germany, with my sister philippa, the nineteen sixty four, I didn't know your ring. Well at that time, the boy you read the second operand aside- may that remain this impression. On me It's me what we find
not one wounded, shush shutting raw lost a layman and lower its milk. Your singing part of act, one vagueness develop, carry with the vienna philharmonic conducted by bruno voter. Reading about you, Stephen? It almost seems as if that death sentence being
Would you have me a couple of years who seem to leave when queue up? If you like me to concentrate on life, that's first effect was to depress me. I seem to be getting worse early rapidly. There didn't see any point in doing anything or working on my phd because I didn't know I would live long enough to finish it, but and things started to improve a condition develop or slowly. A night began to make progress in my work Morally and showing the universe must have had a beginning, a big bang. Did you even sending money into view that you thought you were happier now than before? You got you. I certainly had before
god motor neurons disease. I was bored with life, but the prospect of an early death made me realize life was really worth living. There is so much one can do so much at anyone can do. I have a real feeling of achievement that I have made a modest but significant contribution to human knowledge, despite my condition, of course, I am very fortunate, but everyone and achieve something, the riot hard enough delete and truly inspiring professor stephen hawking. Do you listen to the whole of that programme is an absolute joy and, as with only extracts have put today, can find it on BBC sounds. I would enjoy this extra podcast from the desk,
island discs, podcast, look that are so many to choose from. If you have favorite dishes that you think other people might enjoy, please do share them on social media using the hashtag desert island discs. That's all for me for now I'll be back with a new edition of the program on sunday at one thousand one hundred and fifteen. I hope you'll join me down
Transcript generated on 2022-06-08.