I am an avid listener to BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. The lives revealed through the interviews are frequently fascinating. The programme’s format and the skills of the interviewer (currently Kirsty Young) seem somehow to bring the original and the quirky out of its guests. And quite frequently the choices of the guests throw up artists or music that I didn’t know and hence discover. This happened recently when gifted jazz musician Jamie Cullum was the guest. One of his eight chosen pieces was the beautiful ‘Concerning the UFO Sighting near Highland, Illinois’ by Sufjan Stevens, and so I discovered Stevens’s album Illinoise, and I am hooked. Stevens is one of those lyrical poets that America so often throws up. In effect, they put their verses to music. Of all the tracks on the album, the one that has got me thinking is a chillingly sweet ballad about notorious mass murderer John Wayne Gacy, Jr, that sets out quite deliberately to unbalance the listener. The disc is warmly recommended.