Desert Island Discs

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pages: 229 words: 67,869

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson


4chan, AltaVista, Berlin Wall, Broken windows theory, Burning Man, Clive Stafford Smith, cognitive dissonance, Desert Island Discs, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Google Hangouts, illegal immigration, Menlo Park, PageRank, Ralph Nader, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, urban planning, WikiLeaks

He too was dressed in linen and was tall and thin, with the gait of a British man of privilege. He might have been a diplomat. After a few minutes he bounded over to me. ‘I’m Clive Stafford Smith,’ he said. I knew a little about him from his interview on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs - about how he was all set for a life in British society until one day at his boarding school he saw a drawing in a book of Joan of Arc being burned at the stake and realized she looked like his sister. So in his twenties he became a death row lawyer in Mississippi, and has been defending death row and Guantanamo prisoners ever since. The Desert Island Discs presenter, Sue Lawley, treated him with baffled amazement, as Queen Victoria would a lord who had gone off to explore darkest Africa. Ten minutes after meeting me, he was walking me through the corridors of Vanessa Branson’s labyrinthine palace telling me why prisons should be abolished.

pages: 1,013 words: 302,015

A Classless Society: Britain in the 1990s by Alwyn W. Turner

Berlin Wall, Bob Geldof, British Empire, call centre, centre right, deindustrialization, demand response, Desert Island Discs, endogenous growth, Etonian, eurozone crisis, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, first-past-the-post, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, friendly fire, full employment, global village, greed is good, inflation targeting, means of production, millennium bug, minimum wage unemployment, moral panic, negative equity, Neil Kinnock, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, period drama, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, South Sea Bubble, Stephen Hawking, upwardly mobile, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce

The perception that there was something slightly strange about Brown had been around for some time, though a lot of the speculation had previously been fixated on his bachelor status, with several in Westminster asserting ‘as a fact’ that he was gay. In 1996, while still shadow chancellor, Brown had appeared on the Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs, where he was questioned by presenter Sue Lawley about his private life and why he was neither married nor known to have a steady partner: ‘People want to know whether you’re gay or whether there’s some flaw in your personality.’ Brown was understandably tetchy in his reply: ‘Look, I don’t have to answer these questions.’ But he did go on to say: ‘I’m not married. It just hasn’t happened. I hope it does. It may yet. It probably will do.’ The incident caused a minor controversy. Diana Wong, whose late husband Roy Plomley had created Desert Island Discs, and who owned the rights to the show’s format, expressed her displeasure at the intrusive line of questioning, while the actor Michael Cashman, a gay rights activist and future Labour MEP, also objected, on the grounds that there was no issue of ‘hypocrisy’ here: ‘If Gordon Brown had sought to discriminate against homosexuals in his economic policies, then issues pertaining to his sexuality would be pertinent.’

For a man who had fought so hard all his life to overcome the limitations of his education, there was something entirely appropriate that the county club he had supported since childhood (and of which, in 2000, he was to become president) should triumph over the combined universities by six wickets, with nearly twenty-five overs to spare. It was even more pleasing that they should do so at the ground so close to his heart that he had chosen it as his luxury item when appearing on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. Again Major encountered the warmth that he so often brought out in people he met in person. ‘You had a rough decision, mate,’ one of the spectators called out to him, and the simple dignity of his response encapsulated some of the character that had helped him win that extraordinary victory, five long years ago: ‘Perhaps. But the umpire’s decision is final.’ Intermission Patriotism ‘The England he knew is now no more’ You cannot suppress the individualism of an island race.

The Glaswegian satirist Armando Iannucci was amongst those keen to ridicule received images of the country, particularly in a nightmare recounted in The Armando Iannucci Shows in 2001: ‘Scottish heaven consists of a bald man who tells me what a great country Scotland is because it invented golf, it discovered penicillin and it has the songs of Runrig,’ he fantasised. ‘And Scottish hell consists of a portrait of Ally McLeod, a frightening tartan drummer girl and a giant computer scoreboard flashing up what Scotland’s goal difference is and why it means we’ll go out after the first round.’ ‘I don’t want Scotland to be presented as simply a nation living in the past,’ observed Gordon Brown on Desert Island Discs.‘We want to be a modern country with a vibrant, dynamic economy and culture.’ He went on to introduce Runrig’s version of ‘Loch Lomond’. The demand for political separation was much less striking in Wales than in Scotland, as witnessed by the results of the 1979 referendum, though it was on occasion more aggressive. At the start of the 1990s, holiday homes owned by English people were still being firebombed, acts for which the nationalist group Meibion Glyndŵr claimed responsibility, though these began to tail off after the conviction in 1993 of Sion Aubrey Roberts.

pages: 347 words: 94,701

Don't Trust, Don't Fear, Don't Beg: The Extraordinary Story of the Arctic 30 by Ben Stewart


3D printing, Desert Island Discs, Edward Snowden, mega-rich, new economy, oil rush, Skype, WikiLeaks

In his final diary entry, on 10 January, a few days after returning to London from that family holiday, he wrote: Walked Nell to school today. Felt very good to fulfil that walk that I’d thought so much about in Murmansk. Walking Joe was on Tuesday and I took the long path back from Finchley Road to West Hampstead alongside the train tracks. For some reason I’d wanted to do that too. I was listening to the explorer Ray Mears on BBC Radio 4 Desert Island Discs. He mentions the driving force and reason why some survive for many days in the face of disaster. It’s loved ones. Prison is not the perilous jungles of the outback but the isolation drove me to yearn and hope to be back with Nell, Joe + Nina. Denis is back behind a camera, capturing new chapters in his country’s long and storied history. After the amnesty he visited his newly freed friends from Pussy Riot, then he headed to Kiev to cover a revolution that would soon spark conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

v=8xRT7wQiebw 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101David Lange, My Life (Auckland, 2005), pp. 222–3, pp. 274–5. 102Terry Crowdy, Military Misdemeanours: Corruption, Incompetence, Lust and Downright Stupidity (Oxford, 2007), p. 246. 103 104 105 106Dear Comrade 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 INDEX Akhan, Gizem, in SIZO-1, Murmansk 198 Akhmatova, Anna 277, 278 Alexander (lawyer) 243, 263 Alexei (inmate) 101, 108, 109–10, 211 imprisonment of 110 Allakhverdov, Andrey, in SIZO-1, Murmansk 110–11, 125 Amnesty International, Litvinov Sr alerts 86 Anders, William 1 Andrews, Iris 136 Andropov, Yuri 95 Anton (inmate) 282, 295, 305, 310, 311, 317 Arctic: ‘always been Russian’ 176 calls for sanctuary status of 346–7 as planet’s air conditioner 131 Russian platform in, see Arctic 30 activists/crew; Prirazlomnaya platform and Russian seabed flag 129, 170, 176 Arctic 30 activists/crew: accused of being CIA 49 and Amnesty Bill 329–33 bail applications for 290–1, 296–300, 302–4, 305–11, 319; granted, see individual activists/crew calls to Russian embassies for release of 134 campaign to free: apology statement drafted by 173–4; appeals launched by 155, 179–80; Christensen made leader of 51–2; and Christensen’s global sources 168; Emergency Day of Solidarity 134–5; further global action by 193, 296–7; Gazprom stations shut down by 139; global co-ordination by 136–7; global hubs of 135; London hub of 135–6; and UEFA Champions League game 137–9 charges against 204 eventual numbers calling for release of 346 families called from Arctic Sunrise by 53 hashtag devised for 50 initial interrogations of 57–8 Investigative Committee HQ arrival of 56 Investigative Committee tries to split 252 jail arrival of, Murmansk 68–9 jail arrival of, St Petersburg 276–7 jail sentences pronounced on 65–6 London homecoming of members of 335–6 Moscow march for release of 208 Murmansk arrival of 55–6 Nobel laureates’ plea for 199 piracy charges against 5, 58, 101, 109, 121, 147; hooliganism substituted for 204–6 post-release bonds among women of 323 post-release confinement of 328 Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights offers to act as guarantor for 263 at Prirazlomnaya protest 19–28 prison psychologist’s meeting with 119–20 prison transfer of 270–3, 275–6; prospect of 257–8, 260, 264, 267–9 Russian citizens complain about detention of 129 smuggled letters to and from 159–60 state broadcaster’s news reports on 110–11 supplies got to 162 thirtieth day of imprisonment of 193 Tutu’s letter concerning 198 see also Arctic Sunrise Arctic Sunrise: film footage of Russians’ raid on, see camera memory card, footage on FSB’s drugs-find claim concerning 189–93 guns fired towards 25–6, 28–9 ITLOS orders release of 322 Prirazlomnaya hailed by 21 Prirazlomnaya platform observed by 11–12 RHIBs launched from 11–12 Russian occupation of 31–41 Russians’ aggressive radio messages to 14 Russians disable comms systems of 37 towing of, to Murmansk 41–7 see also Arctic 30 activists/crew Argus 342, 348 Artamov, Andrey 8 Auden, W.H. 93 Ayliffe, Ben 33, 136, 172, 186–7, 289, 302, 306 and FSB’s drugs-find claim 190 ‘Babinski, Mr’ (smuggler) 160, 163, 205, 226 Ball, Phil: and Amnesty Bill 332 appeal of 181 bail application of 319; granted 321 camera memory card hidden and smuggled out by, see camera memory card, footage on cell of 73 jail arrivals of, see under Arctic 30 activists/crew jail sentence pronounced on 66 leaves Russia 334–5 and Mikhail Ulyanov 340, 347–8 at Prirazlomnaya protest, see under Arctic 30 activists/crew prison messages of 85, 102 release of, on bail 321–2, 325–6 and Russian seizure of Arctic Sunrise, see under Arctic Sunrise in SIZO-1, Murmansk 73, 75, 79, 85, 102, 144, 155–6, 202, 262; and cell searches 163; and Gulag Gazette 212–15; and ‘Why I am not a hooligan’ letter 205–6 in SIZO-1, St Petersburg, awaiting paperwork for release 321, 325 strip-searched 71 and Winter Olympics campaign design 172 see also Arctic 30 activists/crew Beauchamp, Jon, in SIZO-1, Murmansk 263 Beránek, Jan 297–8, 299, 302, 303, 306, 307–8 Bolshevik Revolution in 90 Boris (inmate) 7–10 passim, 109, 112–15, 122–3, 142, 148, 194–5, 202, 206, 251–2, 267–8, 269 charges against 6 described 5–6 Borman, Frank 1 BP: Deepwater Horizon platform of, see Deepwater Horizon platform Northstar drilling operations of 128 Brezhnev, Leonid 95, 96 Bronshtein, Lev 89 (See also Leon Trotsky) Brownell, Sonia 93 Bryan, Kieron: appeal of 181 camera memory card hidden by 45 cell of 71–2 described 71 and fellow inmate (Ivan) 72–3 girlfriend of (Nancy) 182 jail arrivals of, see under Arctic 30 activists/crew jail sentence pronounced on 66 leaves Russia 334–5 marriage of 343 at Prirazlomnaya protest, see under Arctic 30 activists/crew prison messages of 85 and Russian seizure of Arctic Sunrise, see under Arctic Sunrise in SIZO-1, Murmansk 71–3, 74–5, 79, 85, 100 Cairn Energy 127–9, 131 camera memory card, footage on 43–4, 155–6, 163–4, 181 Christensen downloads 182 handed to ‘Mona’ 181 handed to Rondal 182 shown to ITLOS Dutch delegation 261 TV stations transmit 261–2 Camp Artek 247 Chaplin, Charlie 244 Chilingarov, Artur 129–30, 176 Christensen, Mads, 128, 135, 137, 167–8, 185, 289, 290–1, 302–3, 306 and Amnesty Bill 331 bail amount proposed by 291 first, most urgent task of 52 and FSB’s drugs-find claim 190–1, 193 global sources run by 168 leadership of campaign to free Arctic 30 handed to 51–2 London HQ connection to office of 135 and Naidoo’s letter to Putin 186–8 Christensen, Nora 135–6 Chuprov, Vladimir 192 Cold War 244 Daily Mail 273–4 D’Alessandro, Cristian: at gunpoint 23 release of, on bail 315 Davies, Andrew 50 Davis, Ruth 136, 168–9, 173, 345 and Sixsmith 168–72 Day-Lewis, Cecil 93 Deepwater Horizon platform 83, 87, 127–8, 133 Desert Island Discs 342 Dillais, Louis-Pierre 247 Dolgov, Roman 8–10 appeal of 179–80; and judge’s silly antics 180 arrest of 8 bail application of 319; granted 321 calendar made by 144 described 76 jail sentence pronounced on 65 release of, on bail 321–2 and Russian seizure of Arctic Sunrise, see under Arctic Sunrise in SIZO-1, Murmansk 8–9, 10, 76–8, 115, 123–4, 144; video link from, to court appeal 180 in SIZO-1, St Petersburg 287 see also Arctic 30 activists/crew doroga (road), see SIZO-1 isolation jail, Murmansk Dubček, Alexander 94, 95 Dzerzhinsky, Felix 174 Dzhugashvili, Josef, see Stalin, Joseph Eells, Josh 246, 249 Esperanza 128 European Parliament, call of, for Arctic sanctuary 347 Exxon 87 Fainberg, Viktor 95 Federal Security Bureau (FSB) 50, 55, 121, 147, 239–40, 291 drugs-find claim of 189–93 Litvinov interviewed by 207–11, 252–5 and possible raid on Greenpeace office 185–6 Putin appointed to head 175 suspected false intelligence from 168 see also Russia Fedotov, Mikhail 263, 287–8 Finland, call of, for Arctic sanctuary 347 First Circle, The (Solzhenitsyn) 92 French secret service 15 Gagarin, Yuri 247 Galich, Aleksandr 94 Gazprom 8, 16, 131–2, 344 campaigners shut down stations of 139 continuing demonstrations against 197–8 Izvestia owned by 257 lies from 49 as proxy for Kremlin 137 Putin congratulates 339–40 TV channel owned by 87 and UEFA Champions League game 137–9 Germany, Nazi government in 91 Gold, Nina 122, 147, 148–9, 195, 251, 311, 329, 343 Golitsyn, Vladimir 261 Gostev (security official) 255–6 Greenpeace: and Amnesty Bill 329 Arctic Sunrise’s occupation communicated to 42 Cairn campaign of, see Cairn Energy campaign of, to free Arctic 30, see Arctic 30 activists/crew: campaign to free crew’s relatives contacted by 44 growth of, in size and scope 248–9 Hewetson’s history of sailing with 12 initial actions of, after Arctic Sunrise occupation 49–51 lawyers assembled by 50 Mail article on 273–4 North Pole sanctuary plan of 130 possible bugging of 51 possible raid by FSB on 185–6 Putin furious with 168 TV programme’s claims against 87 youth movement pickets office of 198–9 Gulag Archipelago, The (Solzhenitsyn) 276–7 Gulag Chronicle 212–18, 226 Gulag Gazette 212–15 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, see Deepwater Horizon platform Gumilev, Lev 277 Hamilton, Neil 136, 167 Harper, Stephen 130 Harris, Alex: in Amazon 83 appeal of 183 bail granted to 310 becomes Greenpeace volunteer 83 cell of 70–1 email to parents from 29–30 in Galápagos Islands 83 jail arrivals of, see under Arctic 30 activists/crew jail sentence pronounced on 66 leaves Russia 334–5 parents called from Arctic Sunrise by 53 prison transfer of, see under Arctic 30 activists/crew and Russian seizure of Arctic Sunrise, see under Arctic Sunrise in SIZO-1, Murmansk 70–1, 78–9, 81–4, 116–17, 124–5; ‘curling tongs’ sent to 162, 163; Speziale’s tapping code with 84, 145, 204 in SIZO-5, St Petersburg 282–3, 299–300 SIZO-5, St Petersburg 285–6 strip-searched 70 tweet of 38–9 Willcox’s reunion with 319 see also Arctic 30 activists/crew Harris, Cliff 82, 183 Harris, Lin 82 Haussmann, David 65 Hewetson, Frank: and Amnesty Bill 333 arrest of 8 bail granted to 311 and Cairn Energy 129 ‘Colonel’ sobriquet of 13 diary entries of: post-release 328–9, 333, 335, 342–4; in SIZO-1, Murmansk 156–7, 159, 193, 194–5, 197, 202–3, 206–7, 251–2, 267; in SIZO-1, St Petersburg 281–2, 295, 305, 309–10, 311, 317 and father’s wartime experiences 196 grappling hook skewers 12–13 jail arrivals of, see under Arctic 30 activists/crew jail sentence pronounced on 87 leaves Russia 335 memory stick hidden by 45 other activists blame 272–3, 275, 281–2, 328 panic attack suffered by 6, 149–54 piracy charge put to 120 plane’s take-off blocked by 12 post-release diary entries of 328–9, 333, 335, 342–4 post-release family reunion for 329 postponement of hearing concerning 67 power stations broken into by 12 Prirazlomnaya platform observed by 11–12 at Prirazlomnaya protest, see under Arctic 30 activists/crew prison transfer of, see under Arctic 30 activists/crew release of, on bail 317–19 ‘review’ of prison by 220–2 Russian commandos kick 33 and Russian seizure of Arctic Sunrise, see under Arctic Sunrise in SIZO-1, Murmansk 5–10, 100, 101–2, 109, 112–15, 119–23, 142, 147–50, 154, 219–20; and Arctic Sunrise film footage 262; diary entries of 156–7, 159, 193, 194–5, 197, 202–3, 206–7, 251–2, 267; Popov’s interview with 220–3 in SIZO-1, St Petersburg 280–2, 317–19; British consuls visit 292–3; diary entries of 281–2, 291, 295, 305, 309–10, 311, 317 Sunrise crew first met by 15–16 suspicious hotel man followed by 325–6 tuna protest of 13 US bans 12 and Valium 5, 6 wife’s letter to 147, 148–9 see also Arctic 30 activists/crew Hewetson, Joe 195, 206, 251, 329, 342, 343 Hewetson, Michael 195–7 Hewetson, Nell 195, 206, 311, 329, 342, 343 Hitler, Adolf, Molotov signs pact with 91 House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) 244–5 Human Rights Watch, Litvinov Sr alerts 86 Hurricane (RHIB) 20, 23–4 in SIZO-1, St Petersburg, officials’ tour of 285–6 Independent on Sunday 221 International Herald Tribune 93, 256 International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, Kremlin contemptuous of 263–4 International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) 155, 260–1, 263, 290, 322 ITLOS, see International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea Ivan (inmate) 72–3, 74–5, 79, 269 Izvestia 255–7 Jensen, Anne Mie, release of, on bail 313–14 Kenyon, Laura 185, 191 Khodorkovsky, Mikhail 64, 176, 330, 345 King, Martin Luther 245–6 Kopelev, Lev 91–2, 93, 94, 97, 300 Korean War 244 Kresty jail, see SIZO-1, St Petersburg Kulluk platform 132 Ladoga 11, 12, 20 Arctic Sunrise challenged by 21 Saarela and Weber detained on 26–7 shots fired by 25–6, 28–9 Larisa (lawyer) 178–9 Lawson, Dominic 273–4 Lenin, Vladimir 89 Lenin’s Tomb (Remnick) 96 Leonid (inmate) 75 Liddle, Rod 274 Litvinov, Anitta 97, 226, 300 Litvinov, Dimitri (Dima): bail application of 320; granted 321 border guard’s exchange with 334 boss cell’s circular to 103–4 described 13 exile childhood of 96 father compares protests of, with own 344 father discovers fate of 86–7 fist of fear felt by 143 grandfather of, see Kopelev, Lev great-grandfather of, see Litvinov, Maxim homophobia fears of 54 initial interrogation of 57–9 jail arrivals of, see under Arctic 30 activists/crew jail sentence pronounced on 87 Kresty governor’s gift to 321 leaves Russia 333–4 letter of, to son 300–1, 309 other activists blame 272–3, 281–2, 328 piracy charge put to 58–9 postponement of hearing concerning 67 previous arrests of 46, 274 Prirazlomnaya hailed by 21 prison transfer of, see under Arctic 30 activists/crew release of, on bail 321–2 and Russian seizure of Arctic Sunrise, see under Arctic Sunrise Siberia upbringing of 13 in SIZO-1, Murmansk 99–108, 109–10, 141, 143, 207–12, 252, 257–60; and discovered letters 225–8, 240–1; and FSB 207–11, 252–5; letters smuggled from 161; library discovered by 143; messages of 102; Popov’s interview with 232–41; and prison psychologist 227–8; and punishment cell 229–32; and radio report heard in cell 60–1; and smoking 211–12 in SIZO-1, St Petersburg 279–80, 287–8, 300–1, 309 smoking quit by 343 strip-searched and fingerprinted 60 US move of 97 see also Arctic 30 activists/crew Litvinov (née Low), Ivy 90 Litvinov, Lara 97 Litvinov, Lev 97, 230, 300–1 Litvinov, Maxim 89, 90–1 Litvinov (née Kopelev), Maya 93, 96 US move of 97 Litvinov, Pavel 85–7, 92–8, 320, 323–4, 344–5 and FSB’s drugs-find claim 192–3 Izvestia letter of 255–6 and KGB 93, 95, 96, 255–6 and son’s bail application 319–20 tried and convicted 95–6, 344 US move of 97 Lost Child of Philomena Lee, The (Sixsmith) 169 Lovell, Jim 1 McCarthy, Joe 244 McCartney, Paul 199–200 Maciel, Ana Paula 303–4 bail application of 305–6; granted 306 release of, on bail 312 Mafart, Lt Col.

pages: 335 words: 114,039

David Mitchell: Back Story by David Mitchell


British Empire, call centre, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, Desert Island Discs, Downton Abbey, energy security

We’d been hired for two days to help develop an idea for a pilot for Ben Miller. I think Ben had kindly suggested us for the gig but he wasn’t actually there and we were left to the tender mercies of some development producers. It was a panel show thing – I can’t remember the actual premise but it was aspiring to be part of that spate of Room 101 knock-offs, all essentially TV versions of Desert Island Discs, which were popular at the time. Popular with commissioners, that is. I don’t think viewers ever expressed many feelings in their favour. So it was some sort of format in which Ben would talk to one guest for a whole half-hour show but the chat would be structured according to things they loved/hated, or movies, or bands, or historical characters, or types of cheese – that sort of thing. I can’t remember which.

Perhaps I came across as some sort of weird ascetic or the kind of person who ‘keeps himself to himself’ and is later discovered to be dwelling on a pit of human bones. I think people thought I had something to hide. Maybe he’s gay and can’t admit it, they may have thought. Or spends all his money on morphine. Or, as the Heat photo might have suggested, he’s as promiscuous as Russell Brand but is somehow managing to do it on the quiet. What is his secret? was the implied question I feared. So I tried to be honest, when I went on Desert Island Discs at least, about the bare facts of my life and how I felt – that I was single and unhappy. I resented the interest. I didn’t think – I don’t think – that the specifics of my private life were anyone’s business. I was just a purveyor of comedy. If people liked it, they could keep watching. If not, they should stop. I didn’t want to encourage people to buy in too much to ‘what I was really like’.

pages: 460 words: 107,712

A Devil's Chaplain: Selected Writings by Richard Dawkins


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, butterfly effect, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, Desert Island Discs, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, epigenetics, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, gravity well, Necker cube, out of africa, phenotype, placebo effect, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method

The farm now thrives again, though no longer 3000 acres, and Sirocco itself is restored, and is as it must have been. Iain flies his tiny plane home every weekend from Nairobi, where he runs his newly formed charity, ‘Save the Elephants’. The family were all at Sirocco for Christmas and we were to join them for New Year. Our arrival was unforgettable. Music thumped through the open doors (Vangelis’s score for the film 1492 – I later chose it for Desert Island Discs). After a characteristic Italian and African lunch for 20 guests, we looked out over the terrace at the small paddock where, 25 years before, uninvited and unexpected, Iain had landed his plane to the terrified incredulity of Oria’s parents and their guests at a similarly grand luncheon party. At dawn the morning after this sensational entrance into her life, Oria had without hesitation taken off with Iain for the shores of Lake Manyara, where the young man had begun his now famous study of wild elephants, and they have been together ever since.

pages: 351 words: 107,966

The Secret Life of Bletchley Park: The WWII Codebreaking Centre and the Men and Women Who Worked There by Sinclair McKay


Beeching cuts, British Empire, computer age, Desert Island Discs, Etonian, Turing machine

One codebreaker recalled being so keen to get to a dance that he managed, by dint of getting the date wrong, to turn up an entire week early. It also broke out in amusingly informal ways. One Wren recalled: ‘The kitchen at BP House was so large that one could dance. During supper break I taught one of the men to waltz. We only had one record – “Sleepy Lagoon” [now better known as the theme tune of Radio Four’s Desert Island Discs].’ Even Bletchley’s fiercest figures could not resist the call of the hop. Mimi Gallilee recalls that her boss Miss Reed – so severe and so unyielding – was nevertheless transformed completely when it came to her leisure hours: ‘Doris Reed used to go to the dancing. The Highland reels. And she would always go during her lunch hour.’ Lucienne Edmonston-Lowe, who worked in Hut 6’s Registration Room from 1942 to 1945, also had extremely warm memories of these entertainments.

Dear Fatty by Dawn French


affirmative action, British Empire, carbon footprint, clockwatching, Desert Island Discs, upwardly mobile

Yep, that would really clog up the remaining, unused wish-availability numbers, and would likely also encroach upon other people’s wish quota, never mind the amount of genies who would be out of work. No, it would be chaos. it would never do. Anyway, anyway, anyway, the man very quickly decided what his three wishes would be. Maybe he was so ready with his choices because he’d always fantasised about it. The way people fantasise about being asked on Desert Island Discs. They plan it ahead so’s not to be caught out. I haven’t personally done that because I have a genuine allergic reaction to Sue Lawley, she actually brings me out in a raised, itchy, angry rash, and I’m not the only one. Of course it’s not her any more, is it? Mmm, might be more interesting to consider doing it now it’s Kirsty Young who’s much cleverer, and frankly, not a twot, but I still don’t walk around with a ready list of discs in my head … Except … Who would I choose?

pages: 319 words: 103,707

Against Everything: Essays by Mark Greif


1960s counterculture, back-to-the-land, Bernie Madoff, citizen journalism, collateralized debt obligation, crack epidemic, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, deindustrialization, Desert Island Discs, Donald Trump, income inequality, informal economy, Norman Mailer, Ponzi scheme, postindustrial economy, Ronald Reagan, technoutopianism, telemarketer, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, white flight

Does it really influence my beliefs or actions in my deep life, where I think I feel it most, or does it just insinuate a certain fluctuation of mood, or evanescent pleasure, or impulse to move? The answers are difficult not because thinking is hard on the subject of pop, but because of an acute sense of embarrassment. Popular music is the most living art form today. Condemned to a desert island, contemporary people would grab their records first; we have the concept of desert-island discs because we could do without most other art forms before we would give up songs. Songs are what we consume in greatest quantity; they’re what we store most of in our heads. But even as we can insist on the seriousness of value of pop music, we don’t believe enough in its seriousness of meaning outside the realm of music, or most of us don’t, or we can’t talk about it, or sound idiotic when we do.

pages: 487 words: 132,252

The Fry Chronicles: An Autobiography by Stephen Fry


Alistair Cooke, back-to-the-land, Desert Island Discs, Etonian, Isaac Newton, Live Aid, loadsamoney, pre–internet, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Sloane Ranger, South China Sea, The Wisdom of Crowds, University of East Anglia, Winter of Discontent

, A Word in Edgeways, Stop the Week, Start the Week, Any Answers, Any Questions, Twenty Questions, Many a Slip, Does the Team Think?, Brain of Britain, From Our Own Correspondent, The Petticoat Line, File on Four, Down Your Way, The World at One, Today, PM, You and Yours, Woman’s Hour, Letter from America, Jack de Manio Precisely, The Men from the Ministry, Gardener’s Question Time, The Burkiss Way, The Jason Explanation, Round Britain Quiz, Just a Minute, I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, Desert Island Discs and a hundred other dramas, comedies, quizzes and features have amused, amazed, enriched, enraged, informed and inflamed me from the earliest age. My voice, I think, owes more to the BBC microphone and the dusty, slow-to-warm-up Mullard valve than to the accents and tones of my family, friends and school fellows. Just as there are the lazily sucked bones of Wodehouse, Wilde and Waugh in my writing style, if style is the right word for it, so the intonations of John Ebden, Robert Robinson, Franklin ‘Jingle’ Engelmann, Richard ‘Stinker’ Murdoch, Derek Guyler, Margaret Howard, David Jacobs, Kenneth Robinson, Richard Baker, Anthony Quinton, John Julius Norwich, Alistair Cooke, David Jason, Brian Johnston, John Timpson, Jack de Manio, Steve Race, Frank Muir, Dennis Norden, Nicholas Parsons, Kenneth Williams, Derek Nimmo, Peter Jones, Nelson Gabriel, Derek Cooper, Clive Jacobs, Martin Muncaster and Brian Perkins have penetrated my brain and being to the extent that – much as heavy-metal pollutants get into the hair and skin and nails and tissue – they have become a physical as well as an emotional and intellectual part of me.

pages: 478 words: 142,608

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins


Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Ayatollah Khomeini, Brownian motion, cosmological principle, David Attenborough, Desert Island Discs, double helix,, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, gravity well, invisible hand, John von Neumann, luminiferous ether, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Murray Gell-Mann, Necker cube, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, placebo effect, planetary scale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, trickle-down economics, unbiased observer

Obviously Beethoven’s late quartets are sublime. So are Shakespeare’s sonnets. They are sublime if God is there and they are sublime if he isn’t. They do not prove the existence of God; they prove the existence of Beethoven and of Shakespeare. A great conductor is credited with saying: ‘If you have Mozart to listen to, why would you need God?’ I once was the guest of the week on a British radio show called Desert Island Discs. You have to choose the eight records you would take with you if marooned on a desert island. Among my choices was ‘Mache dich mein Herze rein’ from Bach’s St Matthew Passion. The interviewer was unable to understand how I could choose religious music without being religious. You might as well say, how can you enjoy Wuthering Heights when you know perfectly well that Cathy and Heathcliff never really existed?

pages: 467 words: 116,094

I Think You'll Find It's a Bit More Complicated Than That by Ben Goldacre


call centre, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, Desert Island Discs,, experimental subject, Firefox, Flynn Effect, jimmy wales, John Snow's cholera map, Loebner Prize, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, placebo effect, publication bias, selection bias, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Simon Singh, statistical model, stem cell, the scientific method, Turing test, WikiLeaks

Juries punish people less harshly when they harm more people. Now, it seems to me that alternative explanations may possibly play a contributory role here: cases where lots of people were harmed may involve larger companies, with more expensive and competent lawyers, for example. But in the light of the earlier experiment, it’s hard to discount a contribution from empathy, and this is a phenomenon we all recognise. When he appeared on Desert Island Discs, Rolf Harris chose to take his own song ‘Two Little Boys’ with him. When the First World War broke out, Rolf explained, his father and uncle had both joined up, his father lying about his younger brother’s age so they could both join the fight. But their mother found out and dobbed them in, because she couldn’t bear the thought of losing both her sons so young. Rolf’s uncle joined up two years later when he came of age, was injured, and died on the front.

pages: 1,744 words: 458,385

The Defence of the Realm by Christopher Andrew


active measures, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Clive Stafford Smith, collective bargaining, credit crunch, cuban missile crisis, Desert Island Discs, Etonian, Fall of the Berlin Wall, glass ceiling, illegal immigration, job satisfaction, large denomination, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil Kinnock, North Sea oil, Red Clydeside, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, strikebreaker, Torches of Freedom, traveling salesman, union organizing, uranium enrichment, V2 rocket, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, Winter of Discontent

As usual, Rimington’s wardrobe aroused intense media interest: Commentators, including fashion editors, have dwelt at length on her powerdressing – her rather severe primrose yellow jacket – offset by her body language with the use of large, unblinking, eyes reminiscent of Princess Diana as she paused to drive a point home, or completed a well-rehearsed delivery of a light-hearted anecdote.48 Thereafter, there was a perception in Whitehall that ‘Stella enjoyed being in the limelight’ – though she disapproved of all other members of the Service, past or present, making public appearances and vetoed a BBC invitation to her predecessor, Sir Patrick Walker, to appear on Desert Island Discs. Late in 1994, Rimington appeared for the first time before the newly established oversight committee of parliamentarians, the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), for whose creation support had been growing since the final years of the Thatcher government. Michael Howard, who had become home secretary earlier in the year, was initially anxious that the Security Service might prove politically inept in its dealings with the ISC, and asked his PUS, Sir Richard Wilson, to spend some time with the DG explaining what the Committee would expect from her.

H. 547, 552 Walden, George 551, 566, 572 Walker, Sir Patrick: appointment as DG (1987) 56, 561, 563, 682; on Howard Smith 555; background 560; early Security Service career 560, 561; and Northern Irish counterterrorist operations 699, 700, 734, 739, 751, 772; and interational terrorism 702, 734, 736, 745, 773; selection of Stella Rimington as successor 774; retirement 774; appearance on Desert Island Discs vetoed 778; strategic review 779–80 Wallace, Colin 641 War Book, Government 194, 404, 406, 859 War Office: and establishment of Secret Service Bureau 4–6, 21, 23, 25–6, 28; Intelligence Department (ID) 5, 11, 56, 82; MO2 5, 6; MO 35, 6; MO5 6–8, 11–12; and pre-First World War German espionage 10–12, 13, 15, 19–20, 23, 30–31, 41; MO 964; and Double-Cross System 73; MI(B) 125; Security Service ceases to be section of 130; economy measures 217–18; see also MO5(g) Ward, Stephen 495–7, 498–9 Warner, Sir Gerry 773, 785 Washington DC 93, 105, 376–7, 422–4; see also September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks Weimar Republic 186–90, 198, 852–3 Weisband, William 375–6, 377 Weldsmith, Catherine see Morgan-Smith, Catherine West Germany (German Federal Republic) 490, 575, 608, 612, 747; PIRA attacks on British army bases 650, 651, 696, 748 White, Sir Dick: on Liddell 131; background and character 135, 136, 320, 324, 483, 547, 789; recruited by MI5 (1934) 135–6, 508; and Ustinov 196; and Italian invasion of Albania 208; wartime recruitment 219–20, 238, 255; on Petrie 237; and The Hague SIS mission 242, 243, 244; on penetration of Abwehr 249; on screening of refugees 251; on Blunt 269–70; and Churchill 289, 293; on Sillitoe 321, 323; appointed DG 323–4, 325, 447, 779; moved to SIS 325–6, 483, 763–4; and Cuban Missile Crisis 327; on ASIO 370; and VENONA project 378, 433–4; and atom spies 384; and Burgess and Maclean’s defection 426–7; and Philby case 430, 433–4, 436; disbanding of Overseas Service 447; refuses post in Malaya 449; relations with Macmillan and Heath 483, 493, 500, 547; and Blake case 489, 491; and Profumo affair 500; Hollis and Mitchell 505, 509, 511; and Sino-Soviet split deception theory 513; and Wilson government 523 Whitelaw, William ‘Willie’: and appointment of Jones as DG 555; Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 620, 621, 623; Home Secretary 670, 677, 709; and industrial unrest 598 670, 671, 672; and Iranian embassy siege 685, 686, 687 Whitmore, Sir Clive 773, 774 Whytock, Roslyn 74–5, 106 Wigg, George 522–5, 526, 528–31, 532, 534, 536, 633 Wilhelm II, Kaiser 5, 6, 32, 51–2, 162, 861 Williams, Marcia 528, 531, 533, 534, 632–3, 634, 636, 637, 639, 642 Wilson, Harold: early political career 412, 416; Security Service file on 416, 526, 632; contacts with Soviet Union 416–19; and KGB 417, 418–19; becomes PM 419, 522–3; and Aden Emergency 475; policy in British Guiana 480; and Hollis and Mitchell 518, 519, 634; and Wigg 522–4, 536, 633; paranoia about plots and bugging 524, 526, 532, 552, 632–3, 635–6, 637–8, 642, 754; and tapping of MPs’ telephones 526–7, 542; and intelligence on industrial subversion 527, 534, 535, 854; and seamen’s strike 527–31, 588, 598, 854; D-Notice affair 531–2; and Thorpe affair 533, 534, 535–7, 539, 541–2; and Blake escape and defection 538; and Floud case 539; and Owen case 542–3; and Northern Ireland 625, 626, 644, 654; returned to power in 1974 625, 627; disreputable business friends 627–32, 638–9; growing suspicions of Security Service 632–5; alleged conspiracy to overthrow 635–43, 765; mental and physical decline 637; resignation 638–9, 640; Governance of Britain 754 Wilson, Sir Horace 202, 206, 227 Wilson, Sir Richard 608, 778, 789, 790, 792, 793, 809, 810, 815 Wilson, Woodrow 75, 139 WINDSOR, Operation 460–61 Windsor, Roger 677–8 Winn, Sir Rodger 410, 500 Winnick, David 758, 765 Winnifrith, Sir John 387, 391, 393 Winterborn, Hugh 486, 508–9 Wireless Board (W Board) 255, 283 Wiseman, Sir William 105, 106 Wolfenden Committee (1957) 398, 399 Wolkoff, Anna 224–6, 230 women: recruitment of 59–60, 122, 127, 133, 220–21, 336–7, 774; Registry staff 60–62, 336–7; secretaries 61–3; clothing regulations 218; promotion of 220–21, 325, 332, 549–51; advice to women on overseas postings 331; surveillance roles 337–8; guidelines on interrogation of 451; as agent-runners 550–51, 708; women peace protesters 673–4; Stella Rimington as first woman branch director and DG 746, 774 Woollcombe, Malcolm ‘Woolly’ 151, 203 Woolwich Arsenal spy-ring 167, 181–2, 183, 854 World in Action (television programme) 663, 761; ‘Death on the Rock’ documentary 743, 744–5 World Disarmament Campaign 674 Wright, Peter: allegations against Hollis 282, 348, 349, 434–5, 510–12, 518, 519, 760, 761, 763; damage caused by his conspiracy theories 282, 348, 439, 507, 511, 519; interrogation of Blunt 282, 439, 520; on Denman 334; background, recruitment and Security Service career 335–6, 507, 760, 789; on Philby case 432; imagined view of KGB sophistication 434–5, 860–51; and Portland spy-ring 486; collaboration with Martin 504, 507, 510; and Golitsyn 504, 507, 511; and investigation of Mitchell 507, 508–9, 519; chair of FLUENCY working party 510–12, 513; damaged reputation within Security Service 512, 515; and Angleton 513–14; retirement (1976) 518, 520, 760; questioning of Floud 539–40; and alleged plot against Wilson 642–3; collaboration with Pincher 712, 761; pension 760, 761; and Rothschild 760–61; CBE 761–2; conspiracy theory on Operation TRUST 860–51; see also Spycatcher Wünnenberg, Karl 73, 75 Young, Courtenay 270, 370 Young, George 633, 638 Young Communist League 405 Zambia (formerly Northern Rhodesia) 444, 468, 469, 470 Zelle, Margaretha Geertruida (Mata Hari) 79–80, 221 Ziegler, Philip 418, 629, 630, 637 Zilliacus, Konni 411, 412 Zinoviev, Grigori: president of Comintern 139, 147; Zinoviev letter 148–52, 155, 158–9, 319, 847 Zionism 350–63, 600–601, 617