A cure for ear worms……..?

Sitting with group of cyclists  in a village hall, in remotest Northamptonshire, enjoying a light lunch prepared by the local ladies of the village. During a lull in the table conversation, I said:

“Anyone know a cure for ear worms?”

The lull continued for another minute or so, until someone lifted his face out of his soup and said:

“What was that you said? A cure for ear worms?” Then, suddenly, they all lifted their faces out of their soups, realizing this wasn’t a rhetorical question………………..I was actually expecting an answer.

“C’mon, you can’t be serious. There’s no such thing as ear worms………….how can you get them in your ear?”

Five minutes of lively banter ensued, most of it a mixture of mockery and concern. “Why don’t you go to the doctor then?”. “I have”, I said “but he told me he can’t help”.

When it became apparent that no one at the table could help, I told them the story of when it all started.

When we were in Santiago de Compostela, two street opera singers (a baritone and tenor) kept singing the top ten most popular operatic arias, their voices resounding from the acoustically perfect confines of an ancient arcade, and carrying for hundreds of metres in all directions. When you have heard multiple renderings of Nessum Dorma, let me tell you, it sticks in the brain. It steals its way into your subconscious and defies all attempts of eradication.  And that is the personal travail that has now besieged my life, especially my hours on the bike.

It appears that the tempo of Nessum Dorma perfectly accompanies the cadence of pedalling and, with its rousing crescendos, is the perfect stimulant for making those cranks turn just a little faster.

I tell you, EPO, testosterone, blood transfusions, double expressos do not compete. Maybe that’s what Lance Armstrong, and the cohorts of cheating cyclists, needed to know before they committed themselves to activities that brought about their downfall.


About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on November 11, 2012, in Miscellany and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.


  2. Nessum dorma is a step up from ‘Round, round, we’re going round, round, round, Down up, pedals, down up down…’

  3. Thanks for the quip. I’ll order a caffee latte…..

  4. When I cycled across North America in 2006 I spent days, er, weeks with Momas and Popas “…if your going to San Francisco….” stuck playing in my head. Think operas would have been better…..

  5. Wow the title really says it all… Amazing 🙂

  6. Meant to mention that I was NOT going to San Francisco!

  7. After reading this I had to listen to it! …. Mario Lanza sings it beautifully.

    • ….and Mario Lanza was your Grandad Burns’ favourite tenor! In modern times, it was the three tenors who made it latterly famous, as a theme song for the world cup (I think).

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