Don’t Stand So Close to Me! Keith Skipper’s playlist to enjoy during isolation

PUBLISHED: 08:52 12 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:08 12 April 2020

Keith Skipper during his Radio Norfolk DJ days

Keith Skipper during his Radio Norfolk DJ days


Here’s a topical twist to an old favourite designed to spread a bit of family fun across our current world of harsh restrictions and fraught nerves. Norfolk writer, broadcaster and entertainer Keith Skipper points to the power of music to lift gloom, revive spirits and take minds off self-isolating and social distancing for a few melodic minutes

Roy OrbisonRoy Orbison

This is the perfect time to launch a new version of Desert Island Discs, the radio delight first broadcast on the BBC Forces Programme in 1942. Each week a guest is invited to select eight records, a book and a luxury item they would like to take with them while marooned on a desert island.

Well, grab this chance to play Lingering Lockdown Lyrics in your own home as I offer some lowdown on popular numbers making marks on our record charts over several decades. Yes, some of them go back to wartime years while others reflect my own favourite era embracing the 1950s and 1960s.

The list merely nibbles at a veritable feast in store for families setting up their own “Home Service” to find a top 10, dazzling dozen or even twinkling 20 songs reflecting moods or sentiments brought back into fashion by our ongoing

I am well aware there are countless other types of music with soul-soothing qualities – any choir singing All in the April Evening is sheer joy to me at this time of year – but I settle for a few widely-known top of the pops to set a light-hearted exercise in motion.

Elvis PresleyElvis Presley

Several of my choices could be seen as automatic – even the Queen featured “We’ll Meet Again” in her address to the nation – and there are examples of certain numbers being recorded by several artists. I include the names occurring to me first.

There are bound to be little arguments over validity of 
some additions to the list … 
but that happens in family circles during the best of times. Generation gaps ought to be used here to emphasise the sheer breadth and variety on offer.

So, using my off-the-cuff ideas as a marker, take up this cheerful household challenge to agree on a roll-call of songs from various eras reflecting the good, the bad and sheer uncertainty of our present dilemma.

My nominations are in no particular order of release or preference – although I’m 
rather taken by The Clapping Song by Shirley Ellis as it popped into my head the other evening when we opened our lounge window to join another tribute to carers with heartfelt applause.

The PoliceThe Police


One Day at a Time – Lena Martell

Don’t Stand so Close to Me – The Police

On the Street Where You Live – Vic Damone

Friends and Neighbours – Billy Cotton

Only the Lonely – Roy Orbison

Walking Back to Happiness – Helen Shapiro

I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor

Silence is Golden – The Tremeloes

Knock Three Times – Tony Orlando and Dawn

When Will I See You Again? – Three Degrees

When the Going Gets Tough – Billy Ocean

You may also want to watch:

Alone Again, Naturally – Gilbert O’Sullivan

Birdsong at Eventide – Ronnie Ronalde

Love is All Around – Wet Wet Wet

Little Things Mean a Lot – Kitty Kallen

I Can Hear the Grass Grow – The Move

The Clapping Song – Shirley Ellis

Behind Closed Doors – Charlie Rich

I Want to Break Free - Queen

Are You Lonesome Tonight? – Elvis Presley

The Carnival is Over – The Seekers

Release Me – Engelbert Humperdinck

We’ll Meet Again - Vera Lynn

Count Your Blessings – Gracie Fields

Show Me the Way to Go Home – Andrews Sisters


There’s plenty of scope for those seeking a suitably good book to read over the lockdown period – or on a desert island alongside good music and a luxurious wind-up gramophone.

Perhaps Charles Dickens matches the current scene perfectly with the opening line of A Tale of Two Cities: ”It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”.

Old favourites with that marooned flavour like Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe and The Swiss Family Robinson beckon strongly while the themes of isolation, loneliness and endurance are explored in still-popular volumes such as The Count of Monte Cristo, Moby Dick and The Old Man and the Sea,

I recall first reading The Coral Island by RM Ballantyne (1857) towards the end of my village schooldays. The book follows three boys marooned on a South Pacific Island after a shipwreck. Main themes are the civilising effect of Christianity and British Imperialism and the importance of hierarchy and leadership.

Compare that with what some may see as an “updated version” of the plot in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, first published in 1954. It features a group of British boys stranded on an uninhabited island and their disastrous attempts to govern themselves.

DH Lawrence also took up the familiar theme in his short story, The Man Who Loved Islands. It stars a misanthrope who lives on a succession of islands, each smaller and more bleakly solitary than the last.

There’s no pleasing some people!

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