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Queen Guitar Rhapsodies

It Has Been Scientifically Proven That It Is Better For You To Play A Musical Instrument Than Read A Newspaper

Here are nine more totally off-the-wall reasons of my own

In a thoroughly researched 2005 study the conclusion was “stress-reduction was far greater for individuals participating in their first group keyboard lesson than for subjects who simply relaxed and read newspapers and magazines.” Oh yeah? I could have told them that without going to all that trouble. Here are nine more totally off-the-wall reasons of my own, which I have not subjected to any kind of rigorous analysis.

Reading newspapers is a triumph of hope over experience. You start with enthusiasm and curiosity, and end up depressed and dejected by all the terrible stuff going on in the world.

Playing the guitar is a triumph of experience over hope. You know it is really hard, but by that time you have played for an hour you feel exhilarated.

Most newspapers are intensely annoying because they carry photos of totally vacuous looking pop stars and actors who have nothing in their heads except the wish to be rich and famous.

Guitar playing is full of delicious surprises. Just when you are about to give up on a difficult passage, voilà, it comes good!

News stories and headlines are variations on a limited variety of drearily predictable themes. Read one in May and read another in September and you probably can fill in the gaps by yourself.

Unlike newspapers, guitar music has more themes and variations than most of us have had hot dinners. Sor, Giuliani and Carulli wrote enough of them to fill the Tower of London. No need to lock them up though, you are welcome to carry them off and dump most of them somewhere in the middle of the English Channel.

Newspapers are covered in ink that stains your fingers just as you reach for the toast over the breakfast table. It puts you off both further munching and turning the page.

The only dirt you acquire when you play the guitar is from sliding along the strings. It leaves a straight black line on your finger tips and makes you feel really worthwhile.

American writer Mark Twain said “If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed.”

I say : “If you don't play the guitar, you're undernourished. If you do play the guitar, you can never have enough.”

31st May 2014, London

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