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Defining the Discographic SelfDesert Island Discs in Context$
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Julie Brown, Nicholas Cook, and Stephen Cottrell

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266175

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266175.001.0001

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Desert island dislocation: Emotion, nostalgia, and the utility of music

Desert island dislocation: Emotion, nostalgia, and the utility of music

(p.239) 12 Desert island dislocation: Emotion, nostalgia, and the utility of music
Defining the Discographic Self

Julie Brown

, Julie Brown, Nicholas Cook, Stephen Cottrell
British Academy

This chapter explores how the contrivance of asking people to imagine being cast away on a desert island has provided the basis for radio discussions of disc recordings that go beyond questions of taste and aesthetic value, opening up considerations of potential utility. Guests are simply asked which discs they would want to have with them if alone on a desert island, and why. Explanations for given choices often include the way in which music and other sound recordings might prove useful—for managing the castaway’s moods, their social isolation, their sense of loss and displacement, their ostensibly endless ‘free time’, and their likely desire to wish to keep memory of people and places alive. Castaways mostly choose music, but sometimes opt for recordings of other sorts, including of their children. These prove to be nostalgia ready and especially well-suited to managing the programme’s fictional scenario.

Keywords:   musical utility, music and nostalgia, musical memory, displacement, mood

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