Skip to main content

Stephen Hawkings on Desert Island



Sue Lawley interviewed Stephen Hawkings on Christmas Day 1992 for the BBC radio show Desert Island Discs.

Desert Island Discs is a long-running BBC Radio 4 programme. It was first broadcast on January 29, 1942 and is said by the Guinness Book of Records to be the longest-running music programme in the history of radio. Guests are invited to imagine themselves as castaways on a desert island, and asked to choose the eight pieces of music they would take with them; discussion of their choices permits a review of their life. Aside from the music they select, they are also permitted to take one book, excluding the Bible or other religious work and the complete works of Shakespeare, which are deemed to be already present on the island (probably to force castaways to make more interesting choices). They also choose one luxury item which must be inanimate and of no survival value, though "endless supplies of champagne" seem to be allowed.

Stephen Hawking choose the following :

First record-

Gloria by Poulenc

Second record-

Brahms Violin concerto

Third record-

Beethoven’s string Quartet, Opus 132

The reason he choose this one is-

When I was an undergraduate at Oxford, I read Aldous Huxley’s Novel Point Counterpoint. This was intened as a portrait of the 1930s and had an enormous cast of characters. Most of these were pretty cardboard, but there was one who was rather more human and was obviously modeled on Huxley himself. This man killed the leader of the British Fascists, a character based on Sir Oswald Mosley. He then let the party know he had done it and put on the gramophone records of Beethoven’s String Quartet, Opus 132. In the middle of the third movement he answered the door and was shot by the fascists.
It really is a very bad novel, but Huxley was right about his choice of music. If I knew that a tidal wave was on the way to overwhelm my desert island, I would play the third movement of this quartet.


Fourth record-

The Valkyrie, Act One

Fifth track-

The Beatles, ‘Please Please Me’.

Sixth record-

Requiem by Mozart.

Seventh record-

Turandot by Puccini

Last Record-

Edith Piaf singing ‘Je ne regrette rien’.


In case he could take only one of these records, he said he would take Mozart Requiem with him and listen to it until the batteries in the disc Walkman run out.

The book he would take with him is Middlemarch by George Eliot.

And the luxury item would be, crème brulee.

-0-

Found the interview in the book , Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Famous Old Faces of Doordarshan

Some people recall the faces and some people recall the names. Here are images of some of the famous readers and presenters of Doordarshan down the years. If you recognize any of them, leave a comment.
[Update 1: Most of the faces now have names thanks to helpful comments by olio-gallimaufry]
[Update 2: Included image of one of the earliest presenters, Gopal Kaul. Send in generously from personal collection by son, Ashutosh Kaul. Sept, 2010.]
[Major Update 3: Got a tip-off about a documentary about the famous faces of Doordarshan from the makersof“The Golden Trail , DD@50 :Special feature on Golden Jubilee of Doordarshan” from which these caps were taken. I managed to catch the incredible documentary and am adding some more faces/name and part of the docu here. New ones can be found after the image of Narotam Puri. 30th Oct, 2010]

 Pratima Puri. Believed to be the first Doordarshan reader.

Indian Cigarette Vintage Ads

He put a cigarette in his mouth and, as a matter of silent routine, offered one to Gwyn, who said ‘No thanks.”Richard looked at him.”I packed it in.”"You what?”"I stopped. Three days ago. Cold. That’s it. You just make the life choice.”

Richard looked up and inhaled needfully. He gazed at his cigarette. He didn’t really want to smoke it. He wanted to eat it. Almost the only thing that he still liked about Gwyn was that he still smoked…Paradoxically, he no longer wanted to give up smoking: what he wanted to do was take up smoking. Not so much to fill the little gaps between cigarettes with cigarettes (there wouldn’t be time, anyway) or to smoke two cigarettes at once. It was more that he felt the desire to smoke a cigarette even when he was smoking a cigarette. The need was and wasn’t being met…

While it would always be true and fair to say that Richard felt like a cigarette, it would now be doubly true and fair to say it. He felt like a cigarette. And he felt like a cigaret…

Kishore Kumar, Yodel-ay-ee-oooo Songs, A List

*Updated with corrections pointed out by Bart Plantenga, author of some incredible book on Yodeling including Yodel-Ay-Ee-Oooo: The Secret History of Yodeling Around the World.

-0-

Kishore Kumar's brother Anoop Kumar, who we basically know for the line 'O manu tera toh hua ab mera kya hoga', used to own lots of Austrian music records. And from these records, Kishore Kumar picked up the art of Yodel singing, an art perfected in bathroom and then introduced by him to the world of Hindi film music. According to his biography 'Kishore Kumar: method in madness‎ ' by Derek Bose, "Kishore was a fan of the Swiss singer Tex Norton [* Tex Morton, an Australian cowboy born in New Zealand who sang  in the gene autry / Jimmie Rodgers style] and the Australian Jimmy Rogers [*Jimmie Rodgers, perhaps the most American and one of the most famous yodelers in the world, famous for his blue yodels] as well."

Although most of these songs by Kishore Kumar are thought to be '…