Desert Island Discs – David Cottam

David Cottam

I thought it fitting that David, as chairman, should be the first castaway on our very own SCCS desert island.  Without Kirsty Young to interview him, David  introduces the eight records he would choose to take to the desert island.   You can listen to the specific recordings he has chosen if you are registered with Spotify.

Just as in the Radio 4 version, David has available to him the Bible (as deposited by the Gideon Society) and the Complete Works of Shakespeare, in addition to his chosen book and a luxury item.  Over to David…

This is impossible but also great fun!  I have chosen music that means a lot to me and of course my family and therefore obviously relates to our lives.

Whilst at school in Giggleswick, where they have a magnificent chapel, I sang in the school choir and always stayed after the Sunday service to listen to the organ voluntary.  I remember Widor’s toccata which was always played at the end of term service, held in pitch darkness.  No longer I’m afraid H&S got the better of it.  So there had to be some organ music in this and I heard Saint Saens organ symphony in Chichester Cathedral –play it loud!

We lived close to the Malvern Hills for a short time in the 70’s and this recording of Elgar’s cello concerto was the first time I realised that there was something else out there in music land.  I must have read a review in the paper specifically about this recording with Jacqueline Du Pre and I still play the LP that I bought at the time.

I bought a Nina Simone EP as a teenager but came across this much later, she was a real individual in an increasingly monochrome world.

When our first child John Joe was born we were living in the Cotswolds.  He was born at Cheltenham General Hospital and afterwards I had to hurry back to work.  No such thing as paternity leave!  As I drove home through our beautiful village down the lane to our cottage on a perfect February day ELO and Mr Blue Sky were on the radio – welcome to the human race!!

Our three girls all played brass with BYMT and introduced us to so much music, particularly big bands.  Later when Maddie was at university the big band played” Kid from the Red Bank”.  One for the family to dance to!

Kid from the Red Bank

We were priviliged to have been at the Albert Hall prom when Gustav Dudamel conducted the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra in Shostakovich’s 10th symphony, brilliant, but nothing could have prepared us for what followed with Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story.  Mambo! Gives a flavour of the most fantastic music making I have ever heard.

“Just a closer walk with thee” Gwyn played this to me and I just love it! Another one we play at family get togethers.

“Forever Young” I would have to have something by Bob Dylan. This is for a friend who we would have got to know much better, but time ran out. So always seize the moment!

BOOK:  A Lifetime of Mountains  The Best of A.Harry Griffin’s Country Diary

I always used to read the Country Diary column in the Guardian and having been born and bred in Kendal, I love delving into this book.  I don’t read many books but always read a daily paper which changes with the government usually!  This assumes I can’t have a daily paper to read, perhaps on an ipad?

LUXURY:  A battery operated toothbrush with endless supply of batteries

All a bit of an ego trip really but I can’t wait for other people’s contributions.  Perhaps I should have chosen……..?


Here are David’s Desert Island Discs in one playlist:

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