Friday 22 October 2010

On the Desert Island...

Michael Mansfield, long-haired QC, republican, vegetarian and darling of the Left, was on Desert Island Discs this week. I caught some of it on Sunday, and found myself listening again, with fascinated horror, this morning on the train. It was everything you'd expect, as the ineffable Mansfield seized the opportunity to outline precisely how wonderful he is and in precisely how many ways. Rejecting the Bible as his Desert Island reading matter in favour of Tom Paine's The Rights Of Man, he chose as his luxury a drum kit. Michael Mansfield is in his 70th year... Like many men with no sense of humour, he is a fan of the Goons and chose them for one of his discs - but it was something else that had drawn me back to this vintage edition of DID. He had unblushingly chosen a 'rap' against 'consumerism' performed (if you could call it that) by one of his numerous brood, which was duly played. Could it really have been that excruciatingly, toe-curlingly, jawdroppingly bad? Reader, it could and was. If it had been a parody, it would have been hilarious, but no, this was serious. As I listened again, aghast, I was the only person on that commuter train laughing. So, thank you Michael - despite everything you have brightened my morning.


  1. God yes I heard that rap and was too busy cringing in shame and horror to laugh.

    Mansfield's towering vanity and firm Leftist commitment to the belief that in all disputes his own country and its traditions must be in the wrong was entirely predictable.

    But it occured to me, as it has with Shami Chakrabarti, the existence of these infuriating, wrong-headed, indefatigable, admirable, self-obessessed pests - ie the fact that they are tolerated - is an essential part of what makes this a great country with traditions worth defending.

  2. He was also one of those guests that doesn't like music.

    And much as the 'What time is it Eccles?' routine is brilliant in its simplicity, picking that as 'the one record you'd save' seems odd. Imagine how crazed you'd be after a few months...

  3. The dividing line between barrister and actor is almost invisible, many actors manage to get out of their parts as they exit the stage door, most barristers do not, they are of some use, as after dinner speakers and can be seen strutting around Edinburgh's George St most lunchtimes, 1.15 until 5.30PM, identifiable by the black velvet collared cashmere overcoats, gravy stained of course.

  4. Usually give DID a miss, as I find the sainted Kirsty a bit cloying, but I was sucked toward the iPlayer by your convulsions on the train and yes, the rapping kids just about put the lid on classics-you-have-loved (Nimrod/Rach 2)and The Wall (what fun it must be to show-off your drumming skills on Nick Mason's kit). Almost forgave him when Herbert Howells popped up but no - my toes are never going to uncurl.