Desert Island Discs – Mr Coleman

As a lover of the radio programme, I often wondered how to approach the choice of songs for Desert Island Discs. Is it the best songs, or the ones that evoke memories? If it’s just the best songs, then all you have to do is play a Muddy Waters album (ask your parents). However, that doesn’t make for much of an article, so in the spirit of plagiarism, I looked at the teachers who have trodden this path before in the Bubble and copied their structure.

Childhood: The Battle of Hastings – Fivepenny Piece.

Fivepenny Piece were a folk group that I had very little time for. My parents drove us around in a battered old mini clubman that was pretty much just rust held together with gaffer tape and prayers. It had a cassette deck and I can only remember my parents owning one cassette. So we were subjected to the kind of music you’d expect to hear at a naff village fete. On a loop. The only music worse than this is the stuff that plays during a kahoot quiz. However, there was one blissful respite from this bilge, when one of the band members recited a Stanley Holloway poem about the Battle of Hastings. It was superbly delivered, and, no matter how many times I heard it, it always made me chuckle.

Fivepenny Piece-The Battle Of Hastings – YouTube

Teenager: Cold as Ice – Foreigner.

This was the music my uncle used to walk out to before his kickboxing bouts. They were intoxicating nights; really exciting sport, made terrifying by the fact you were watching someone you love and admire in a potentially dangerous situation. Luckily, he was pretty good – in fact in some bouts, I got more bruised than him, being on the receiving end of anxious jabs on the arm from my very excited and nervous grandfather.

Foreigner – Cold As Ice (Official Music Video) – YouTube

University: Things can only get better – D:Ream

When I was at university, this song rounded out a Wednesday evening after a rugby match, when, perhaps quite not at our best, we used to belt this out, changing things to Simms, the nickname of our college. In our culture as a whole, there is not enough communal singing anymore, and this song embodies togetherness, friendship and camaraderie to me. I was lucky enough to have a wonderful group of teammates and friends and long after I’ve forgotten all the History and English I learnt there (won’t be long now) I will remember those individuals and the time we spent together.

D:Ream – Things Can Only Get Better (1993) (Official Video) – YouTube

Early teaching career: Kočka – Elán

This is not a great song, but it is annoyingly catchy and, when I moved to Slovakia it seemed to be the nation’s soundtrack. It really helped me learn a bit of Slovak vocabulary, some of it not very useful, and some a bit risqué, but twenty years later the damn chorus is still running around my head, and it brings back memories of a smashing country with awesome people.

Proper grown-up: Strangers in the Night – Frank Sinatra

My grandfather used to sing this all the time. Well, I say he used to sing it. He sang the first two lines and then tra-la-la’d the rest of it as he had no idea what the remaining words were. To be honest, I don’t know them either, maybe I should. This song means so much to me it was played at my wedding as my new wife and I were leaving the church. It raised a few eyebrows, but as my grandfather was no longer with us, it seemed the next best thing to having him there.

Strangers In The Night (Remastered 2008) – YouTube

Present day: Welcome to the Jungle – Guns and Roses

Yes, I know. It’s not exactly the anthem of the 2020s, is it? Somehow this has become my kids’ favourite song and no matter how many times it gets played and sung in our house, I can’t imagine tiring of it. Luckily no one else has to hear our tuneless renditions, but it makes us happy. Hopefully, my kids won’t berate me for having this on a loop in the same way I just berated my own parents for their Fivepenny Piece horrors that scarred my own childhood.

Guns’n Roses – Welcome to the Jungle ( Studio Version ) High Quality. – YouTube

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