My Desert Island Discs by Charlotte Leyshon

I recently moved house and have spent many hours packing and unpacking. Whilst doing so I have become obsessed with listening to Desert Island Discs, including their extensive back catalogue. Some of the episodes have made me laugh out loud and others sob like a baby. Its is a real little window into a person’s soul.

Being a family lawyer you have to be empathetic and have very good emotional intelligence, plus, I think, a natural interest in people and their stories.

I have decided to ask all the members of my team to do a “Desert Island Discs” piece for our blog and social media. Afterall, connecting with people who are opening their lives, their families, relationships and innermost feelings with us deserves us giving a glimpse of us back. It is also a great way to get to know us as a team.

I grew up in Newport, Gwent and attended a local comprehensive school, Bassaleg school. My parents divorced when I was 8 years old. My Mum worked very hard as a teacher and with little help and support she raised me and my brother, who is 22 months younger than me. We didn’t have much money for luxuries but we did have a static caravan in Wimborne, Dorset where we went to spend the summer holidays (which of course my Mum always had off as well).

My first choice is a song that reminds me of growing up and being in the back of my Mum’s Golf with my brother driving around Wimborne in Dorset in the summer holidays. My Mum is a great lover of music and so many of my musical influences come from the music she had on around the house and in the car when I was a child. The album that she played repeatedly was Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys and my first choice is “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys.

I moved schools in 1989 at the same time as my best friend, Louise. We were both obsessed with Madonna and went to see her Blonde Ambition tour in Wembley. To this day though, one of my favourite all time songs (and certainly, for me, my favourite Madonna song) is “Like a Prayer”.

I went to Southampton University in 1996, just at the time that Oasis were becoming huge. I remember their music would be blasted out all over halls of residence. I was never really a huge fan but then in 2002, when I was a trainee solicitor, I was part of the legal team employed by Meg Mathews in her divorce from Noel Gallagher. As part of that process, I felt I was retrospectively pulled into the music and the band. Wonderwall by Oasis was a piece of music that Meg notoriously claimed Noel had written about her. That song now is forever, for me, the theme of the beginning of my legal career.

My fourth choice is “Silversprings” by Fleetwood Mac. It wasn’t initially included on the Rumours album and it was Stevie Nicks’s response to Lindsay Buckingham’s “Go your own way”. This song means the world to me and following the breakdown of my own marriage, the lyrics really resonated with me and gave me a huge amount of strength.  I am a huge Fleetwood Mac fan generally but this one is my favourite because of its raw and utterly gut wrenching lyrics and vocals.

When my daughter, who is now aged 14 years old, was very little she would always be difficult at bed time, never wanting to take her clothes off and get in the bath. In order to con her into doing so I used to play Jermaine Stewart “We don’t have to take our clothes off. Every. Single. Night. We both know it word for word and she now laughs at the ridiculousness (and probably inappropriateness) of this song choice. It will always be our song.

My final choice is I’m still Standing by Elton John, this song was my first dance at my wedding to my ex husband. It was his choice really, but following our divorce I really listened to the lyrics of this song and it is kind of a mantra now. I think being a divorced divorce lawyer does help with understanding clients’ feelings and experiences. I know that for me, when I was going through it, all I wanted to know was that I would be ok. That my little girl would be ok. This song and its lyrics embodies the strength and fighting spirit I required to bounce back better than before. Something I always tell clients they can do too.

Of the six tracks above, the one I would take with me would be Silversprings by Fleetwood Mac. It takes me on a journey every time and I would never tire of that.

The book I would take with me would be the Harry Potter series. I have read each one to my daughter multiple times, as well as listened with her to the audio books and watched the films. They would make me feel close to her. Plus I might come up with a magical idea of how to get myself off the island.

Luxury item – very difficult, but probably the entire Desert island Discs back catalogue. That should keep me going.