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Wednesday 14th April 2021

The walks in the sunshine, listening to a good brain stimulating audio book has got the neurones firing and my mind wandering. For some reason Pippa Evans’ book made me think about writing an autobiography solely based on my experiences with jacket potatoes. It wouldn’t be a massive tome, but within five minutes I’d thought of about 10 good jacket potato based stories that actually illuminated quite a lot about my life. It might be the book that changes autobiography forever. Watch this space. As if I didn’t have anything else to do.
It’s been a genuinely enjoyable and calming experience reading and listening to Pippa’s book and it was a delight to talk to her tonight for RHLSTP, though Chris Evans (not that one) seems to be pranking me with the guest reveal each week. He claims it’s not on purpose, but if so then he’s subconsciously attempting to draw attention to himself. It’s sad when someone needs attention in order to feel alive.
Luckily Pippa and I have the improvisational acumen to cope with any situation and we were had a very interesting and funny chat about the mechanics of creativity and comedy. Last time she’d done the show we were largely coping with the aftermath of Brian Blessed, which was enjoyable, but she’s a performer who has thought very deeply about her craft and also her priorities in life and her book is a self-help book that I think might actually work.

Thanks to Mike Hopkin who got in touch to explain why the Willowbrook jingle might be having such a weird effect on my psyche and my gut.

"Hi Rich, I was just catching up with your blog (which is why this refers to something from two weeks ago) and I think I've worked out why the Willowbrook recliner music is so eerily terrifying.

It is in a major key (although the tuning is definitely very slightly off, and it's in B major which is quite an obscure key, so that might have some small subliminal effect on the listener). But there's a more obvious reason it sounds weird. 

In bar 1, both the bass and melody start on the same note (B), and then in bar 2 the bass moves down a semitone to A#, and the melody does the same (albeit with a couple of extra notes in between).

So both the bass and treble move from B to A# in the first two bars. This is called "parallel octaves", which is frowned on in classical harmony because it tends to sound awkward. But even more scarily, parallel octaves moving by one semitone is the main characteristic of the Jaws theme, which might explain the undeniable undercurrent of terror in the otherwise innocuous chair commercial."

It might explain why it unsettles me, but the Jaws music doesn’t make me feel nauseous like the Willowbrook theme. But perhaps this comes from the association of listening to it whilst recovering from surgery and chemo. I was already feeling sick and the music has become fixated in that time period and so has a Pavlovian response.
Or maybe it’s just a really shit tune.

RHLSTP with Gamesmaster legend Dominik Diamond is now up

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