WEEKEND WEB: Rhythm is gonna get you

Listening to Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners (above) makes you work faster.
Listening to Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners (above) makes you work faster.
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TRISH TAKES FIVE: By Trish Burgess

According to a recent poll, the song ‘Come On Eileen’ by Dexys Midnight Runners is the tune that makes staff work faster. If your boss has suddenly taken to playing this 80s classic on a loop in the office, chances are they think you’re slacking.

Having said that, if you listen carefully to the song, it does have a particularly slow section, often accompanied by an overhead hand clap in my days on the dance floor. I’m not sure that’s the effect they’re after, nor the ridiculously fast bit where, if you try to keep up at your desk, mistakes are bound to occur.

There must be something about the song, though, as it was chosen in 2005 to wake the slumbering astronauts of Space Shuttle Discovery on the final day of their mission. It was an appropriate welcome back to earth song for commander, Eileen Collins. Unfortunately, bad weather delayed their return and another wake-up call, ‘Good Day Sunshine’, was played for the crew on the following day, which proved to be a good omen as the weather improved and the landing was safe.

At the end of my son’s graduation at Exeter University this summer, hundreds of students left the hall to the lively strains of the ‘Liberty Bell March’ by John Philip Sousa. It’s maybe better known as the theme tune to Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

It was remarkable how quickly the room emptied. Everyone, guests included, headed swiftly towards the exit in time to the music. I think they should try this in theatres to hustle people along.

Years ago, when attending a First Aid course, we were taught to administer chest compressions to the tune of ‘Nellie The Elephant’. I gather this is still acceptable practice though nowadays the preferred song is ‘Stayin’ Alive’ by the Bee Gees. The song has 103 beats per minute which is ideal for resuscitation. I gather ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ has a similar rhythm but rather wisely hasn’t been adopted as a favoured accompaniment.

Of course, this does make me wonder which rhythms are the best match for certain types of activities. I think a waltz is rather good for mopping the floor, especially for those side-to-side sweeps. And maybe a cha-cha to speed up the ironing?

Thanks to Morecambe and Wise we know that ‘The Stripper’ isn’t just a provocative dance but is the perfect tune to rustle up a full English breakfast, complete with cupboard door banging, egg whisking and toaster pop-ups.

Which brings me to Ravel’s ‘Bolero’. Those of us familiar with the film, 10, with Dudley Moore and Bo Derek, might have some idea about what to do when this comes on the radio. And it’s not ice-skating.

• You can read Trish’s blog at www.mumsgoneto.co.uk


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