photograph by Eva Salvi


Foreword by Annabel McLean

It was after the umpteenth hysterical phone call that my unfailingly patient sister decided to jump on the next train to Leuchars. It seemed that the only way to save an ounce of my sanity was for her to quite literally hold my hand through the final days of chaos. It was a week before my dissertation was due, and I had officially lost the plot. I worked from the early hours of the morning, late into the night, surviving on bags of Tangfastics and copious cups of coffee. It was this delirium, I think, that gave me the courage to send my slightly ridiculous email to the established journalist, podcaster and now author - the wonderful Dolly Alderton, asking if she would consider writing for the next issue of Hearing Aid. I cautiously signed off, realising that there was not much in it for her, and promptly turned back to my books. I was utterly delighted therefore, when that very same day I received Dolly's kind and lovely reply. It wasn't only a response of well wishes: Dolly had offered to do an interview, despite her hectic work schedule in the run up to the launch of her first book and memoir, Everything I Know About Love. As I began to put together ideas on how to incorporate an interview with Dolly into our Time and Transition theme, and make it relevant to our music readership, I discovered that both Dolly and I are big fans of Desert Island Discs. I wanted to use this as the inspiration behind the piece, and eventually asked Dolly to pick four songs that reminded her of great loves of her life: the result - a meditative, nostalgic compilation - will remain my own reminder to be courageous and confident amid stress and chaos.


1. Every Picture Tells A Story - Rod Stewart

This song reminds me of the great romantic heroes of my twenties, who have been my girlfriends. When we first moved in with each other I brought an old PYE record player and this Rod Stewart album was one of the first LPs I bought. This was the first track on the album and it just reminds me of them, and the feeling of the beginning of a Friday night, and the first years of adulthood together.


2. Sweet Thing - Van Morrison

This was the soundtrack to the first time I ever fell truly, properly, lose-your-mind in love, aged 21. I'm, obviously, not with the man anymore and in fact we barely speak, but I still love listening to this song. I have managed to disassociate that specific relationship from it and instead I just think of the dizzying feeling of falling for someone.



3. Carey - Joni Mitchell

This song reminds me of my oldest friendship wit ha woman called Farly, who is a huge feature in my memoir Everything I Know About Love. We went on our first road trip when we were 16 and 17 respectively and we only took one album: Blue by Joni Mitchell. This is track number 4 and one that always makes me think of her, and us.



4. In Trutina - Carl Orff

I first heard this piece of music during a particularly difficult time when I was approaching 27 and everything felt like it was out of control. It was playing on the radio in my bedroom and it stopped me in my thoughts and running around because it made me feel so calm and focused. The Classic FM presenter said it was called In Trutina from Carmina Burana, which I looked up and which translates as 'in balance'. Suddenly everything seemed so simple - life had to be a delicate balance. And my job was to keep that balance in check, which would be a job every day for the rest of my life if I wanted to be happy. I listen to it all the time now to remind me of that.