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Queen Guitar Rhapsodies

Just invented in Spain: A Machine That Connects To Your Inner Feelings

It can measure how much you like the guitar music you listen to (and that's just for starters...)

While having a delicious coffee in a bar in Spain my attention was grabbed by an article in the El Mundo newspaper of Monday 2nd June. A Spanish company grandly calling itself Sociograph Neuromarketing (SN for short) claims to have invented a device which can reveal our innermost sensations. Two black plastic-looking rings around the index and middle fingers, wired up to a flat box, measure our attention span and emotional reactions.

Predictably, it has been put to profitable use. The newspaper reports Elena Martín, director of SN as saying "it is the key to a better understanding of our potential customers. We record the skin's electrical activity and with this technique we can register the reactions of the subconscious mind." By this means the decision was made to use British Pop rather than Latin-American Mambo music in a TV advert. Volunteers connected to the machine were registered peaking more for one than the other at the end of the ad when the product's name was declared. Thus, at a Freudian stroke of the peakometre, was the music chosen.

This machine has as yet no name
Enough jesting on my part, let me get serious about naming it. I propose calling it the Peakometre Internal Sensation Sensor (P*** for short, the asterisks are there to avoid spelling out the unfortunate initials).

Disarmingly, Javier Lopez, director of the Spanish television network and media production company Mediaset España said about P*** "we are in the process of discovering how to apply it." Allow me, Señor Lopez, to make two suggestions :

Set a minimum threshold of P*** peaks and if it is not reached don't just tweak the drivel, scrap the entire programme.

Whilst you are about it, cut out the boring bits in music. This means skipping most of the development sections in classical symphonies, and except for some high notes all of those interminable arias in Grand Opera sung by over-earnest fat sopranos pretending to die of consumption.

I suspect vast swathes of classical guitar music would fail to make the P*** grade. We would be left with a handful of potboilers, and of these just the juicy bits.

A climax is only effective with a build-up
Why, we could end up in a world made up of only extreme sensations. We would spend our time in endless states of ecstasy, our curiosity in a state of heightened alert at all times, and by the end of the day flop into bed exhausted from non-stop excitement. It would be like an endless replay of the best goals without the football in between; the first fifteen fabulous, but after that? I for one lose interest quite quickly. To make sense of the climax we need the steady-state type moments from which emerge the build-ups. Artists and musicians already know that the quality and duration of a build-up is crucial to the success of the climax, or put another way, goals need good football, they don't suddenly happen from nowhere.

So I congratulate SN and TV moguls on their mind-blowing invention. It certainly has its uses. It measures reactions, like a sort of lie detector in reverse, but please, don't get too serious about taking the P***.

Now, I've always wanted to say that.

21st June, 2014, London

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