Desert Island List

Desert Island

Remember Desert Island Discs? Steve Taylor-Bryant packs light and gives us his version...

I’m not here this week. No really, they’ve given me a holiday – the fools! As I packed my suitcase and realised I’d put in far more books, comics and DVD’s than clothes for a few days away, it made me think about what I would actually pick if I was going to be cast away on a desert island (wishful thinking, I know) and could only take one of each. The idea grew along with the suitcase contents, as I added non-fiction books and TV box sets. I am of course assuming that I’ve packed my portable DVD player and a solar charger anyway, so here we have it, my Desert Island List.

When I was set the challenge I thought it would be easy. Whenever people do their favourite lists I always have mine in the back of my mind. The trouble is that now it's my turn and my mind has gone to a jelly type mush, I am cracking under the pressure, and I really can not think of just ONE anything. Never a person to be beaten though, let’s get into this and see what happens. I shall somehow come up with one television show, one film, one comic/graphic novel, and one book (cheating by the way, as I am including one work of non-fiction and one work of fiction).

Television -

The West Wing

So many good shows have been a huge part of my life. To only be able to watch one title ever again is quite easy to narrow down however, such is my love for Aaron Sorkin. The problem now is which Sorkin show to pick. The opening episode of The Newsroom is stunning television. A breakdown happening right in front of you played out by Jeff Daniels, he of comedy fame. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is an underrated gem of genius. Bradley Whitford and Matthew Perry have a chemistry and timing that is rare in television and they thrive off Sorkin's scripts. But there is really only one television show I could ever watch over and over again and that is The West Wing. It has drama, romance, comedy, thrills, the best ensemble cast in television history, and the longevity of the show is testament to its appeal despite politics not being to everyone’s taste. I am however taking the Presidential Library box set with me to this deserted hell, you couldn’t get me down to just one episode if you tortured me.

Film -


Films are very difficult to pick. They depend so much on the mood of the viewer as they do director, star, script and the like. My Top 20 films change every year as a new release comes out or an undiscovered gem comes to light on one of my many film platforms. I have a love of Indie as much as mainstream, I have certain directors and stars I turn to, depending on the emotional state of my frazzled brain at the time, but my Top 5 films have stayed static(ish) for many years now. The Beat Beneath My Feet, Twelve Monkeys, Scarface, Death to Smoochy and Dogma have all maintained their positions despite other new and old classics coming my way. The problem now is narrowing down those five films to one that I could tolerate as my lone viewing whilst stranded. I have no idea what emotions are going to play in my head so I will pick the film that offers the most in terms of cast and story, plus it's bloody funny - Dogma.

Book -

The Man In The High Castle

Fiction first and this section I found easier than I thought I would. Of all the books both from world famous publishing houses and from the lists of self published fayre there is not many, however good, that I read multiple times. I could take any of Kneel Downe's wonderful universe builders, Maybe a Brad Meltzer title, but I keep going back to one book by one author. The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick.

The Clinton Tapes

Non - Fiction is a lot harder. I love American politics and the history of the politicians and people that created the history of one of the worlds most fascinating countries. There is certain political ideals that appeal to my own sense of values but whether they be democratic or republican in their leaning doesn’t detract from the interest I have in the people involved. I have read books on Reagan, JFK, Grant and many more, but it was the collaboration of a journalist, Taylor Branch, and a sitting President going through more personal and political anguish than any predecessor, Bill Clinton, that I pick. The Clinton Tapes are the written notes of Branch from tape recordings made by Clinton during secret interviews in The White House that stretch the entire span of his term. The pressure of leading a nation, terrorism, debt, Monica Lewinsky, it is all in there and quite frank. Like him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

Comic/Graphic Novel -

Death Sentence

Now this last category was easy. Death Sentence by Monty Nero and Mike Dowling. If you want to know why, just buy it.

Image - Amazon/Mirror.

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