The Music In Your Head



So there I was, sitting in the car, on yet another beach run, one son about to go surfing, and the other son about to go skateboarding.

It was perfect weekend relaxation; something for everyone, and a delicious roast to look forward to later. I had been to the gym earlier that morning and was feeling most virtuous, having completed a double whammy of Body Pump followed by Body Combat.

Those of you who are familiar with these classes will know that amazing feeling of elation and physical exhaustion in equal measure, and those of you who don’t can just take my word for it!

I had so earned my hot chocolate, and I cupped its warmth in my hands, watching the waves break on the shore, while one son slithered into neoprene and the other son checked his trucks.

In my head was a song. It was one I heard that morning at the gym, and I remembered it from some time ago too. The thing is, I am not a huge pop-music fan. That is to say, I love rock and classical music, but I’m not too keen on the stuff in between, and therefore I’m not particularly knowledgeable on all the new songs.

But that morning’s particular “earworm” was driving me nuts! I simply couldn’t figure out what the girl was singing, so I had no idea of the lyrics, and therefore couldn’t find it on google/YouTube/iTunes etc. Instead, I kept comically (well it was to my children) whining the bit I thought sounded most like the song I had heard, hoping the boys would recognize what I was attempting to sing. Of course, it was absolutely nothing like it, because I couldn’t recognize or repeat a single word, and therefore it caused much amusement, but the actual track could not be located.*

This led me to think about the fact that nobody else really knows what’s going on inside our own heads unless we perfect the art of clear communication and choose to share our thoughts. 

I was reminded of a funny game show; “Never Mind The Buzzcocks” where two of the panel had to play out the rhythm and sing the guitar or keyboard melody of a song for the third panelist to guess. I always found this the most hilarious part of the show. Here’s a clip of Gareth Malone doing just the sort of thing I would, only with a slightly better voice. (That’s him, I mean, not me…)

It is extremely difficult, if not impossible to guess the song when another person is simply tapping out just the rhythm part. I think Jingle Bells, We Will Rock You and maybe Happy Birthday might be recognisable, but that’s it. God Save the Queen might work, but certainly not the Sex Pistols version.

The reason for this is that nobody else can hear the tune in your head. If you just tap out the beat, it won’t be enough to work out what the melody actually is, and therefore the song can’t be guessed, often with quite hilarious results.

This may be a great source of entertainment for a musical game, but in life, it is not quite as fun. We often make the mistake of thinking that those closest to us should know what we are thinking. We can feel hurt when we discover this is not the case.

But every time we get on a plane, the flight attendants still show us what to do in an emergency, and we are duty bound to watch, whether it is the first or the thousandth time we have traveled by air. Wouldn’t it be easier just to do the same with those around us in both our professional and our personal lives?


Of course, we don’t have to repeat ourselves constantly and indeed, that would probably be irritating, but we must never assume that someone else always knows the tune in our head. Equally, we must never assume that we know the tune in someone else’s head, even if we know him or her intimately. All AssUMe does is make an Ass of U and Me.

*The earworm was “Promises by Nero

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *