*BORIS ON DESERT ISLAND DISCS – SUNDAY 30TH OCTOBER, 11.15AM, RADIO 4*(repeated on Friday 4th November, 9.00am)
Transcript of the Show
Eight discs chosen:
1. Beatles – Here Comes the Sun (Boris thought it was fantastically optimistic)
2. Theme Tune for Test Match Special – Soul Limbo, Booker T and the MGs (had memories of playing cricket in the yard with his brothers, although he wasn’t very good)
3. Bach – Ich will hier bei dir stehen – Here would I stand beside thee (of great sentimental value – “it fueled and fortified me” – listened when going through Mods exams – also was falling in love)
4. Rolling Stones – Start Me Up (His friend James Delingpole has long despised the Rolling Stones, but he should eat his words – “it may be corny, but it’s brilliant”)
5. Brahms – Finale of Brahms Variations on a theme by Haydn (father played it endlessly when he was ill as a child and recovering)
6. Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl (cheery and you could overdose on him – you can’t get enough)
7. The Clash – Pressure Drop (Joe Strummer, the leader of The Clash, was a good poet and a fantastic rock musician – it was a proud moment when, as an avid Telegraph reader, he wrote to Boris saying how much he liked an article he had written about hunting)
8. Opening of the last movement of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony (good when driving fast along an Autobahn)
He would choose Brahms and all the Variations if he had to choose only one record.
His book would have to be Homer to translate.
The luxury item would be a huge, supersized pot of seedy mustard as any meat tastes good with mustard.
“One of the most memorable and unpredictable MPs …. Boris Johnson in a moment …”
Sue Lawley – “you are prone to getting into scrapes – affair with one of your colleagues…” Questions about ambitions followed.
Boris was full of bonhomie and explained that he was always interested in being an MP. It is the single most interesting job you could do – it is such a broad canvas. He would also like to keep up journalism. If he had to choose he would choose being an MP. As far as politics goes he is interested in agriculture, trade – where he has had personal experience.
Apparently Boris’s ex mother-in-law claims that he always wanted to be PM. Boris replied that MPs are like crazed wasps in a jam jar. Of course everyone would like to lead the party he explained.
All politicians in the end are like crazed wasps in a jamjar, each individually convinced that they are going to make it.
My ambition silicon chip has been programmed to try to scramble up this ladder, so I do feel a kind of sense that I have got to.
Sue listed his academic achievements and Boris admitted he was a colossal swot – he strongly recommended boning up. “I’ve got a lot of energy and need to use it all up”. Time is ticking away and he feels programmed with a sense of duty and to climb up and achieve more – “we need all these grasping hacks to compete”.
After The Times Max Hastings rescued him and he owes a huge amount to him. He was Brussels correspondent (Daily Telegraph) for five years including the time when the Berlin Wall fell. He finds being Editor of The Spectator (since 1999) a wonderful job.
From this point on Sue presses very hard about “misdemeanours“. Boris said: “this isn’t talking about Haydn – this is being a hidin’ to nothing”. The image conjured up through this tenacious probing about his shortcomings was of a Boris pushed into a tight corner held up at knifepoint. After a few uncomfortable spluttering moments there was a response of: ” … okay, there have been misdemeanours – you keep referring to misdemeanours … but there are far fewer demeanours than there have been misdemeanours”.
Latest book (Seventy Two Virgins)
His book is about four suicide bombers from the North and the heroine is called Cameron, so it is quite uncanny. It is a comic thriller.
Roger Barlow rides a bike and is exercised by whether the papers will discover his extramarital affair – playing with fire – does that have any resonance with real life, asked Sue. Did he like playing with fire. Boris replied that if this was her theory about him then there might be an element of truth in this – but he wouldn’t take unnecessary risks.
He was asked whether he used comedy to override his ‘misdemeanours’ – or did he use charm to get by, taking into account his reported misdemeanours or mishaps. Boris explained that when he was young he should have used grommets because he couldn’t hear and he therefore developed an evasiveness.
So, finally alone, how would he feel on this deserted island? Boris would have a disciplined plan to rebuild civilisation. He likes making things with wood and recently made a treehouse for his children. He would sing a few hymns, march up and down and he would write. His aim would be to get to the heart of things – “It may sound pretentious” he said. He is writing a thesis on the meaning of nationhood at the moment and getting up very early every morning and it was knocking his brains about a bit. He was also working on a book about how the Romans ran Europe. Of course on an island there would be no data so he would download all he had and then start plagiarising it (Sue erupts into giggles).
A little bird told me a story, it happened just today
Sue Lawley and our Boris will soon have lots to say
We haven’t heard from Boris: no broadcasts for a while
But now he’s playing castaway; upon a desert isle
His favourite bits of music he’ll play, explaining why
I hope he’s into Mozart: because ; well, so am I
But it’s not so much the music: Sue really digs the dirt
Will she spare our Boris? I wouldn’t bet my shirt!