Gambaccini at the Southbank deathfest

Charles Cowling

 

Paul Gambaccini presented his Desert Island Death Discs at the Southbank Deathfest.

He could easily have done this without trying — chosen a few and spoken about them off the cuff. But he didn’t. He’d done lots of research and thinking and he’d written lots of script. He is a conscientious, admirable man.

He talked of how he went to Kenny Everett’s funeral — a Catholic requiem mass. He just couldn’t see Kenny he knew in it. But there was clearly much about it that had impressed him, and he talked of how he wished there was a serious secular ritual to match. He seems not to be a fan of the celebration of life tendency.

Back to the music. He’d read lots of surveys and scrunched the stats, and he gave us the people’s top ten. He speculated on why these songs get chosen — so many of them have only a tangential relevance to death. Are they chosen for the entertainment of the survivors or to express the dead person’s personality? Perhaps it’s just about how they make you feel.

He interspersed the nation’s favourites with some of his own, and we’ll ‘play’ some of those this week.

Here’s one.   Beth Nielsen Chapman’s Sand and Water

All alone I didn’t like the feeling
All alone I sat and cried
All alone I had to find some meaning
In the center of the pain I felt inside

All alone I came into this world
All alone I will someday die
Solid stone is just sand and water, baby
Sand and water, and a million years gone by

I will see you in the light of a thousand suns
I will hear you in the sound of the waves
I will know you when I come, as we all will come
Through the doors beyond the grave

All alone I heal this heart of sorrow
All alone I raise this child
Flesh and bone, he’s just
Bursting towards tomorrow
And his laughter fills my world and wears your smile

I will see you in the light of a thousand suns
I will hear you in the sound of the waves
I will know you when I come, as we all will come
Through the doors beyond the grave

All alone I came into this world
All alone I will someday die
Solid stone is just sand and water, baby
Sand and water and a million years gone by

 

 

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