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Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) from ‘Birds of America’

What would your Desert Island Discs choices be?

It’s one of those things that’s in the culture – the sort of thing that’s used as an ice-breaker at awaydays (although the last time this happened, one person didn’t understand the cultural reference and chose a machete as his luxury).

Funnily enough, I’ve touched on this in a couple of previous posts.

Back in 2013, I wrote “I am  Desert Island Discs worst nightmare. Basically, if I was abandoning ship in the middle of the South Pacific, my thoughts would not automatically turn to rescuing key elements of my almost non-existent CD collection.”

The book is easier – Aubedon’s Birds of America (1827-1838); undoubtedly the most beautiful book ever published (and with the additional benefit of being big enough to double as a temporary shelter). I just think that you would never get tired of looking at those amazing images – a true marriage of artistry and exacting scientific observation.

Of course you also get Shakespeare, which I’m now, finally, starting to appreciate and the Bible – preferably the NIV with David Suchet reading it.

As for a luxury – I suppose Blackwell’s would be out of the question? A complete set of In Our Time podcasts? An inexhaustible supply of paper and writing materials? Although if Birds of America is printed on one side only, I might be able to make my own pen and ink using parrot feathers and berries. So a solar-powered digital camera and electronic darkroom it is. I could write in the sand and photograph what I’d written …


Image: John James Audubon [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons