Desert Island Discs

Here’s a bit of fun I wrote at Holmfirth Writers a while back.  What if the President of the United States took time out from a state visit to appear on a certain long-running radio programme.  Any similarity to an actual President is, of course, entirely coincidental ….

Kirsty:   Today we are very privileged to have an important guest for this special shortened episode of Desert Island Discs. [ Turns to her guest ] So, Duncan Belch – property billionaire, TV personality and now the most powerful man in the world, welcome to the programme.

Belch:    Thank you, Kirsty, but I gotta say this don’t look much like a desert island to me. Like, there’s a whole bunch of people around, and I don’t recall seeing any water outside, apart from some puddles. Does it ever stop raining here?

Kirsty:   Well, it’s a hypothetical desert island.

Belch:    A hyper-what?

Kirsty:   It’s not a real desert island, just an imaginary one.

Belch:    So you’ve brought me here under false pretences. Jeez, what a waste of freakin’ time. [ stands up and begins to stomp off ]

Aide:     Er, Mr President, I think what the lady means is that this is really a kind of chat show. You just talk about being on a desert island, is all.

Belch:    Well, if that’s what it is, why didn’t you tell me so in the first place. I already packed eight suitcases. [ sits down again ]

Kirsty:   So, if you’ve decided to stay with us, perhaps you’d like to start talking about the eight pieces of music you’re going to take to the – imaginary – island with you.

Belch:   OK. They’re all on here. [ hands over an iPod ]

Kirsty:   No, no, Mr Belch, you don’t need to actually give them to me. All I need you to do is talk about what they are and why you chose them.

Belch:    Hell, I didn’t choose them! I have people to do that sort of thing. [ Looks at Aide ] What did you put on there, Schwarz?

Aide:     Ahhm, there’s some Metallica, Celine Dion, Liberace, that kind of stuff. And we put Rule Britannia and God Save the Queen on there, ‘cause we thought they would play well over here.

Belch:    Yeah, sounds good to me. [ Turns to Kirsty ] What he said.

Kirsty (exasperated): Well, could you at least talk about one piece of music that means a lot to you personally?

Belch (ponders for a few seconds): I guess it would have to be the theme from the movie The Alamo. Something about those plucky Texans holding off the Mexican hordes with nothing more than guns and a humungous great wall really strikes a chord with me.

Kirsty: Fair enough, Mr Belch. Let’s listen to that now. [ The music plays and Belch gesticulates enthusiastically. As the music fades out, Kirsty’s addresses the listeners ] That was the theme from the film, The Alamo, composed by Dimitri Tiomkin and chosen by my guest, President Duncan Belch, who has taken time out of his busy schedule to be with us today. Mr Belch, you also get to choose a book to take to the island with you.

Belch: I’ll take the Bible, of course.

Kirsty: You get the Bible anyway, Mr Belch.

Belch:    Well, you can never have too much of a good thing. I’ll have another one of those.

Kirsty:   And finally, Mr Belch, would you like to choose a luxury to make your stay on the island more pleasant?

Belch (ponders again): I’d like some artillery, please, for hunting whales and albatrosses. And in case any of them goddam boat people turn up.

Kirsty (relieved it’s over): Whatever. President Duncan Belch, thank you and goodbye.


picture (c) Timo Newton-Syms 2013


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