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Saints Stranded

This is pure fantasy. Were I actually stuck on a desert island, as per the famous radio show, within hours I would have turned feral and began eating sand. Still, it’s nice to think that in between the bouts of mental collapse, I could find some consolation in the small pleasures that washed up with me.

For my first track, I’m picking ‘5 Years’ by Björk. There’s a case to be made for selecting a smoother Björk song — her cover of the jazz standard ‘Like Someone in Love’ almost took this spot. But ‘5 Years’ has an unquenchable sass at its core, as petty as it is profound, with percussion and strings that make my hairs stand on end. Its strange stew of emotions is hard to sum up succinctly, yet that in-built variety is exactly why I’d want it with me.

My next track is ‘Go Deep’ by Janet Jackson. It’s not just that it’s the funkiest song ever made. The ad-libs, the rogue whistles and synths, and the sound of people partying peppered throughout, make me feel like I've been teleported to some hip club in 1997. Any passing ships could be sure to find me, blasting this song from atop a palm tree, dancing awfully, in brief bliss.

My last track would be ‘Feeling Like I Do’ by Snail Mail. Lindsay Jordan’s cover of the Superdrag song holds just the right balance of angst and yearning to be utterly addictive. All of Snail Mail’s stuff reminds me of being a teenager, its rawness and freedom. This song in particular, though, is trancelike: I could listen to it for hours and forget it’s only one song.

As for my book, I’d want White Girls by Hilton Als, with its sumptuously bizarre mix of essay, memoir, and dramatic monologue, ranging from Truman Capote to Richard Pryor. Reading it feels like moving through a fabulous old manor. And for my luxury item, I demand an unlimited supply of coconut rice. As well as being insuperably tasty, I expect it would make for a better pillow than beach debris.

Illustration by Ruby Pitman

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