The 2017 Queen’s Speech – A Review

I didn’t get the chance to watch the 2017 Queen’s Speech.

Here’s a quick review cobbled together through bits I’ve managed to skim read…

  • We’re leaving the EU
  • Old lady forced to work when love of her life is in hospital
  • Some bloke called Bill was given 27 mentions – he must be great
  • A coinkydink hat
  • Children are allowed to eat again
  • Black Rod. What?
  • Man heckles for 23rd time in a row
  • The insulation of old people will no longer be stolen
  • A Domestic Violence and Abuse Commissioner to be appointed. Assume they mean Anti-Domestic Violence and Abuse Commissioner, but can’t be 100% certain
  • Foxes can do whatever the fuck they want

© Carl Burkitt 2017

Queens Speech

Desert Island Discs

I’ve always loved talk shows. I think it’s because they satisfy my inner nosiness in a way that receives less judgement than being a reader of gossip magazines does.

But it’s not just learning about a celebrity’s personal life, I’ve always been fascinated by the process of a talented individual and the journey they took to get to the top of their profession.

Parkinson was always my favourite. I daydreamed about walking – and falling – down those steps many, many times. I also secretly wrote down answers I would give to his questions for when I finally made it on the show.

When the wally went and retired in 2007, I was rather distraught.

Desperate for my fix of Mikey P, a friend asked if I’d ever listened to his episodes of Desert Island Discs. If I’m – embarrassingly – honest, I’d never listened to the show at all, let alone the big man’s three year stint.

The 10 years since have seen me catch up with his episodes, those of Sue Lawley and fall a little bit in love with Kirsty Young. And there hasn’t been an episode where I haven’t imagined which eight songs I’d pick, and why, if I was on the show.

Would I be an emotional picker, taking music that reminds me of people and places? Or a functional chooser with tracks to keep me productive on the island?

As I’m still yet to be asked to be on the show, I thought I’d just write my answers down here.

(I’d love to hear what you’d pick and why. Be sure to let me know in the comments or email or Tweet @CarlBurkitt.)


I could’ve picked any Led Zeppelin song, but I’ve gone for the one I’ve played and sung the most. No story behind this one, Robert Plant’s voice simply makes my cockles dance.


When I was 17, we lost a dear friend to a motorbike accident. This song was played as his coffin was carried through at his funeral, after which his dad made charming jokes about his son’s footballing abilities. Those two things taught me the very valuable lessons that life (and death) shouldn’t be too serious and a smile goes a long way.


If I had the confidence to write a balls out, heart on sleeve, no nonsense, straight up, flat out, I pissing love you, love song – this is how I’d want it to go.


In 2012 I ran the Great North Run in memory of my Uncle Jim, who took his own life. During a long, hot training run, this song appeared on my shuffle. I’d never really paid it much attention before and, to be honest, it’s a fairly straight forward song. But for some reason, that day, I was struggling, tired and thinking of Jim, and I broke down in tears.

Over the last few years I’ve found that crying is fairly fundamental to my wellbeing. The physical release truly makes me feel better. If I’m ever tense, low, or experiencing a foggy brain, I’ll whack this on and enjoy a lovely blub.


Similar to the Four Tops track, I’m slightly envious of anyone who can express their emotions sincerely without reverting to a joke somewhere very quickly afterwards. This song was not written for anyone in particular, apparently, but I have no doubt you will think of someone in your life this could relate to.


If you’ve ever experienced depression, this song sums up the good days perfectly to me. When the sun’s out on the island, the bugs have stopped chewing my arsehole and I’ve got a belly full of yucca plant, I’ll pop this on to drift off to.


Without a doubt the song that takes me back to a particular time more than any other. For many years after our aforementioned friend died, before life dragged us all over the world, a big group of us would meet up on his birthday and get incredibly drunk.

This song was on a popular Pimms advert during the first gathering and we danced an awful lot to it. Bizarrely, it became our anthem and the track we’d request from DJs every subsequent year. I if ever I’m alone on his birthday, I’ll open a beer, put this on and think of those massive idiots.


I was around 15 when The Mars Volta’s first album, De-Loused in the Comatorium came out. My friend Ollie slid a copy of the CD across my classroom desk and said: “You might like this”.

I took it home that night and hated it. It was so strange. Weird. I couldn’t make out the choruses. It didn’t seem to fit any kind of pattern the I was used to. They made up words. What a load of nonsense.

So I listened to it again. And again. And I loved it. Deeply. As the years went by I read up on them, bought their following five albums, they were my first ever gig and I now have an illustration of their heads on my skin forever.

During the last 15 years I haven’t really managed to convince anyone new in my life to get into them. I’ve had people say: “I didn’t realise you’d like weird stuff”. And I kind of like that.

I can’t express how much Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s voice has me in pieces and how the intricate work of all the musicians blows my mind. This particular song, to me, sums up all of their greatest elements.

If you’re not in the mood for a 12 minute masterpiece, then just start from 9:37 for a delightful bongo solo into vocals that tickles my neck every time (it’s always the bit I imagine I would tell Kirsty to play it from for the show).


The complete works of Simon Rich. This doesn’t exist, but I’d make Kirsty cobble all of his short stories and novels together. He makes me laugh more than any other writer and encourages me to improve my own nonsense. Buy his stuff.


A shit loads of crisps. Meatier the better. Or cheese and onion Squares.


Day of the Baphomets – The Mars Volta.

© Carl Burkitt 2017

Philomena – A Four-Year-Too-Late Review

Yesterday, Sunday 28th May 2017, I watched Philomena for the first time – four years after it was released.

Here’s what I thought…

  • Breech birth. Crikey.
  • I’ve never met anyone called Philomena. But I know someone called Filomena.
  • Judy Dench said clitoris
  • It’s hard to poke fun at things in this
  • I have never cried so uncontrollably at a film before

© Carl Burkitt 2017

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – A 15-Year-Too-Late Review

Yesterday, Saturday 20th May 2017, I watched Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers for the first time ever – 15 years after it was released.

Here’s what I thought…

  • Gollum has cracking cheek bones
  • Man flesh stinks
  • How is the marshland water on fire?
  • Sam looks an awful lot like a guy I used to work with
  • They’re taking the Hobbits to Isengard
  • Shadowfax is FIT
  • Gandolf the White can’t half whistle
  • Aragorn is 87?
  • Agent Smith just doesn’t understand love
  • This must’ve been very expensive to make
  • When does Legolas replenish his arrows?
  • The trees looks like the Cheesestring mascot
  • Frodo and Sam haven’t kissed yet

© Carl Burkitt 2017

    Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – A 16-Year-Too-Late Review

    Yesterday, Sunday 14th May 2017, I watched Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring for the first time ever – 16 years after it was released.

    Here’s what I thought…

    • Hobbits are slow, simple creatures. So they have West Country accents, obviously.
    • Viggo Mortensen is fucking gorgeous
    • If you wear the ring you go invisible and dream of a fiery vagina
    • The man from Lost has a voice as distracting as his voice in Lost
    • The Orcs are bloody efficient construction workers
    • Just like Harry Potter, Frodo has his own pet Weasley called ‘Sam’
    • Cate Blanchett is boring and looks like Orlando Bloom (generous with gifts, though)
    • After a week on the road, the Hobbits haven’t even grown any stubble
    • Sean Bean
    • Hobbits have short swords too. Seems pointless and unfair
    • It was very kind of Peter Jackson to give the role of Legolas to someone from an Am Dram society
    • Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits and Men are all terribly, terribly white

    © Carl Burkitt 2017