Monthly Archives: October 2012

Desert Island Discs part 2!


Here goes… My tracks and treats if I was stranded on a desert island- with a brief context!

1) Teddy Bear’s picnic

As a child/teenager I spent every Saturday and Sunday evening at a local working men’s social club with my parents. They had a live band every weekend and I would just dance, dance, dance! Tree rue was one particular band on a Sunday evening who would play this one and we would all skip up and down the dance floor!

2) Des Irae from Verdi’s Requiem

I was awarded a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music when I was about 15. Every Saturday morning I would go to Baker Street and have lessons in their Junior Department. I had instrumental lessons and played in ensembles but the most informative experience was joining the choir. I remember being overawed with the sound of people singing together.

This particular track was memorable as for anyone who knows it, it starts with the most enormous bang- I wasn’t expecting it and surprise surprise I nearly jumped out of my skin. The sound was truly magnificent.

3) oh what a night by Frankie Valle

As a teenager I absolutely loved music from the 60’s… And I think this one is one of my faves. Also it is an example of all the special friendships I have. I went to stay with some friend after she had just got married. Her new husband made a compilation disk for me and this was the first track on the disc… Happy times.

4) Schumann Romance in F # minor for piano.

I spent most of my time at music college feeling utterly inadequate- I had only started playing the piano when I was about 13 and at college I was surrounded by people from a totally different social class to my own and most if not all had been playing since they were about 6. I struggled with the tensions of that environment married with going to the pub every weekend and dancing to Frankie Valle. However, this piece was something I played well and I loved it.

5) God save the people from Godspell

I love musicals!!!! Really love them! They combine stories, emotion and beautiful melodies- I love them. I chose this track as Godspell was the first musical I directed and produced. It at my special church in south london- happy memories. I’ve works on other musicals since but that one will always have a special place in my heart.

6) papa can you hear me- Barbara Striesand soundtrack from Yentl

I used to listen to this soundtrack for hours on hours as a teenager. I love female diva voices- Shirley Bassey and Whitney Houston could equally have been included. But this one is not only a fantastic piece of music, incredibly sung. I can relate to the story of Yentl. A young woman wanting to be different to what was expected.

7)heart of worship by Matt Redman

There are so many beautiful worship songs… I chose this one as it was one of the first that I began to sing as a solo. I’ve had the joy of singing at many friends weddings and christenings and I feel grateful that my singing has always been encouraged and supported by my friends.

8)Don’t stop me now by Queen

When I became a Christian I culled my music collection. I literally threw out music that at that time I didn’t feel was going to be helpful for my spiritual growth. I didn’t have any regrets-but I really missed my best of queen album!!!! I haven’t re-bought it, but I still love it. This one in particular- a message and tunes that you just can’t stay still listening to!

This last track would be the one I kept out of all of them. I could dance the hours away.

Book: ‘to Kill a Mocking Bird’ by Harper Lee

This remains the book that has had most influence on me. I read it at secondary school and I still remember it often. The shock that people could be so cruel to each other was palpable to me- but also that brave people could challenge that. Incredible.

Luxury: a huge bag of good old builders tea! I would hang them out and keep re-using them. Life can be tough- but a cup of tea always helps!

Thanks for listening. Would love to know what your tracks would be!


Where am I?


A dear friend yesterday commented that I hadn’t posted anything for a while. I was aware of this- but her observation caused me to consider what was really going on for me and my lack of blogging.

A very real and practical reason is that I am experiencing some pain in my eyes and writing at a computer isn’t necessarily the best form of self- care, but I also a knowledge that I have happily answered emails to with no regards to my eye, so something else seems to be going on…

Another real but slightly more dubious reason is that I now have an iPad… I have wanted one for ages and finally I have got one… Hurrah! However , I am very new to it and sorting out photos etc is not quite there yet and I know that a ‘good’ blog needs pictures, which currently I can’t do. Both reasons true but not the whole story.

Last night I acknowledged to myself that I only really like blogging with ‘good’ news or my ‘successes’ I love communicating with those I know me those i don’t about recent triumphs and significant steps on my journey with dialectical behaviour therapy. And in reality I haven’t had so many of them recently- and more than that I’ve had some rocky moments that have really frightened me- and I haven’t felt able to blog about them.

That says more about me than my audience… I don’t want to disappoint my friends… I like it when people are proud of me and tell me I am doing it well… Being vulnerable in this medium isn’t quite so appealing. And I have mirrored in the cyber world what I can do in the natural- I withdraw. I say nothing, I ignore, I pretend. And I want to change that… I come as I am- warts and all- and as I grow in authenticity- that needs to include here. That doesn’t mean I will sheer details that do not feel safe to do so… But it does mean that I can communicate that instead of non-communication.

Thank you to all of you who regularly challenge me.
Thanks for listening- more soon.

Desert Island Discs



A few months ago I stayed with special friends. Phil has always fancied the idea of recording friends and family’s own desert island discs. For those that don’t know Desert Island Discs is a long running BBC Radio 4 programme where a celebrity is interviewed and asked for the 8 music tracks they would take onto a desert island, they are also allowed a book and one luxury item. The tracks are played, anecdotes abound, lots of probing questions and the result is a fascinating insight into people’s lives. I was Phil’s first victim- no I mean volunteer!

I prepared my discs (very difficult to only pick 8). I thought through my reasons for my particular choices and away we went. Through the fits of laughter I began to tell my story. It definitely felt like a therapy session!

As I chatted- I began to realise that maybe my upbringing had been very confusing and at times tricky. Hearing it through this medium was a real eye-opener for me. I actually felt some compassion for myself – an extremely unusual phenomena for me. I could witness how difficult managing those tensions for one so young could have a damaging effect. And let me tell you it was an utterly sanitised account! Some things just aren’t for public knowledge!

I am trying to develop self-compassion, something I find incredibly challenging- but I want to win the challenge. It is such a nicer place to exist from. It is also hard work. I’m not afraid of hard work. I will continue on my road to recovery- it is quite a ride!

I just wonder what your discs would be… A very thought provoking exercise- you never know what might come up!

Thanks for listening.