... but I stopped. Now I'm a dad, and may blog again...

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

538: Outbreak of Earworms

Pointless observation: Some TV programme I watched earlier contained a nice, probably coincidental dichotomy. The narration said "Never enough hours in the day", while showing footage of someone putting stuffed owls in a crate. Never enough hours in the day; never enough owls in the crate. Just had to get that out of my system. The phrase was repeating in my head and writing it down was really the only way to get rid of it. Never enough owls in the crate, hours in the day, owls in the crate, hours in the date, owls in the cray. It was an earworm of sorts. The type that keeps me awake at night, and the reason why I must keep a paper and pen beside my bed.

Speaking of earworms, there is a good article on the BBC website today: Earworms: Why songs get stuck in our heads. It's something that interests me, and I have blogged about before (here, here and here), because I experience them on a more than daily basis:

Dr Williamson, a memory expert at Goldsmith's College in London, found that scientists use a range of terms to describe the subject - stuck-song syndrome, sticky music, and cognitive itch, or most commonly "earworm" -a word which some people misunderstand.

Williamson collaborated with a BBC radio programme, Shaun Keaveny's Breakfast Show on 6Music, which asked its listeners what earworms they were waking up with.

She also collected more stories and experiences through an online survey at her website, earwormery.com.

I filled in the questionairre. I just had to tell someone about the constant repetition of the zuh-zuh-zuh zuh zuh, zu-zu-zuh zuh z-z-z-z-zuh zuh zuh zuh refrain from Afrika Bambaataa & the Soul Sonic Force's Planet Rock I get every time I walk home from the bus stop after work. Every day. Sometimes two or three times. Maybe more. Last weekend I remember waking up with Rocking in the Free World by Neil Young rocking out. I still dread Friday's in case anyone does something to remind me of that blasted song. Even the baby baby baby chorus sung by that strange Bieber boy sometimes intrudes itself upon me.

Reading articles about the phenomena, as I just have, has induced waves of varying earworms; my own from past and present, and new ones that I have never been troubled with before. Hints of Faith by George Michael (or Limp Bizkit if you swing that way. Aside: it was actually the Limp Bizkit one I heard first as a baggy-trousered teenage scruff bag) with splashes of Funky Cold Medina by Tone-Loc. Am I really that suggestable. Bloody earworms. They should invent a cream or something.

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