Dice Man books 'influenced' business tycoon Sir Richard Branson

 

Business tycoon Sir Richard Branson has told how he was heavily influenced by the Dice Man books - which encouraged readers to hand over decisions to the throw of a dice.

The billionaire said that the cult books, by Luke Rhinehart, influenced his decision-making in the early days of his Virgin Records label.

In an interview in the Radio Times, he told broadcaster Danny Baker how he used the books when he went to see the group Wigwam before releasing their LP.

"They were Finnish. I went to Finland to see them. This is so weird but at the time I was very much under the influence of the Dice Man books....It's where you compile lists of actions and, after throwing the dice, have to adhere to whatever number you've placed by that particular instruction", he said.

"So. I went to Finland and...I had made this list of things to do and threw the dice, which told me that for all that day I had to scream loudly on the hour every hour for twelve hours."

Asked whether he really carried out the task, he replied: "Oh yes, you have to see it through.

"So there I am at the Wigwam gig and the band are playing not the loudest song in their set and I can see the hour coming up, thinking, you know, oh, please finish the song so my shriek can be lost in the applause."Asked if the crowd managed to drown out his screams, he admitted: "Not a hope. I had to just bellow it out. Dreadful for everyone, really.... I had to do it again during their encore."

Sir Richard said that he came close to signing Pink Floyd and told of the early days of Virgin Records: "When we opened our place above the shoe shop, you would climb up those rickety stairs and there'd be pillows on the ground, people smoking joints, people who really knew their music.

"It was so exciting, an extraordinary time. Vinyl was and is such a rich experience. If a new Led Zeppelin album came out you'd see people queuing for miles, you know, getting a glimpse of the cover because the covers were so very important."

He told how he came up with the name for the chart hits music series Now That's What I Call Music! when he spotted a sign with those words in a bric-a-brac shop where he was trying to woo "the girl who worked there" who later became his wife.

PA

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