Friday, October 12, 2007
Yesterday I recorded an edition of Private Passions, Radio 3's very superior version of Desert Island Discs. The show is made in Michael Berkeley's house. Bob Dylan, it is said, once lived there. The recording studio is a tiny bedroom. The guest - me - is seated between two single beds. Berkeley admitted he gets a little embarrassed about this setup when a glamorous woman is involved. Isaiah Berlin and countless others have sat in that chair between those beds. The recording is 'as live'. They play all the music you have chosen though an antique radio emblazoned with the show's name. Berkeley does not take the direct question approach of DID. Instead, he asks for stories. 'I think it brings out more,' he says. He's right, I babbled. People often tell Berkeley before the show that they cannot possibly discuss their feelings for music, but they always do. He talks about each track with lucid exactitude and, as they play, he conducts and sings along, beaming with delight at moments of particular quality. Intensely musical people, I have often noticed, live in the joyous condition of not being fully in the world of the less musical. They are very lucky. The picture shows how I felt when I left. Long live Michael Berkeley! Long live Private Passions! And, most importantly, long live Radio 3!
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 5:43 am