S1, Ep4 Gemma Cairney: Her Pleasure Playlist

This week are delighted to welcome award-winning DJ, author and podcaster Gemma Cairney on The Pleasure Podcast.

Her star-spangled music career has spanned 10 years. In her BBC R4 series The Sound Odyssey she travelled the world with British musicians to collaborate with local musicians of the areas they visited. She presents the BBC 6 Leisure Society interviewing cultural icons about their loves beyond what they're known for. Her Grace Jones interview for Amazing Grace won the Best Music Show Rose d'Or. Her book Open: A toolkit for how magic and messed up life can be was reviewed by The Guardian as "full of reassurance for teenagers that they are not alone, whatever they may feel". It's, in short, bloody marvellous. This year she'll be presenting at Glastonbury.

An alternative format for this week! We take you through 8 tracks that Gemma has chosen as part of her special one-off Pleasure Playlist. She takes us through each track discussing the part it played in her life and how it has brought her pleasure. As we are not the BBC (we wish we were Desert Island Disks for this one) we've provided the playlist for you to listen to either alongside of after the podcast.

We were so happy to have Gemma with us as she shared her insights into what music and movement can do as part of living a full and pleasurable life. We spoke about the physical and emotional release of music, how it can be a cohesive social force, a short cut to memory and about why women of colour can be often underestimated and labelled as "too much". We also look at how music can help us find our tribe, our identity and make us feel sexual and desirable.

It's a light-hearted, joyful conversation on the simple pleasure of music. After 40 minutes in her company you may find yourself wanting to dance wildly to her favourite Garage tunes. I know we did.

Gemma's Pleasure Playlist



  1. Just The Way You Are - Barry White
  2. Nothing Even Matters - Lauryn Hill
  3. Plenty - Guru feat Erykah Badu
  4. I Love It - Icona Pop
  5. Tutti Frutti - Little Richard
  6. Too Many Man - Boy Better Know
  7. Oops - Tweet feat Missy Elliot
  8. Closer Than Close - Rosie Gaines

Gemma's bonus Sunshine Garage playlist in Spotify

Do get in touch with what would be in your pleasure playlist @thepleasurepod

Gemma's book Open is available to order HERE

Listen to her interview with Grace Jones on The Leisure Society HERE

Gemma's beret collaboration with Mary X are available to buy HERE

Social Media

Naomi Sheldon @NaomiSheldon1

Anand Patel @therealdranand

Gemma Cairney @gemcairn

Follow us on @thepleasurepod


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