At last! Playing air guitar is recognised as a genuinely creative act

Researchers found that playing the air guitar could be an inspirational activity

Share

You may not have heard of Eric “Mean Melin” Melin (pictured), Doug “The Thunder” Strook, or Britain’s very own Thom  “Wild Thing 37” Wilding, but they were the top three  contestants in this year’s Air Guitar World Championships, held in Oulu, Finland, under the motto, “Make Air,  Not War”.

Many people, of course, poo-poo the air guitar. They say it’s nothing but a load of overgrown schoolboys jumping around a stage, thrusting their groins at the audience and wiggling their fingers in an orgy of faux-frottage that puts even Miley Cyrus’s twerkish masturbations in the shade. But they are wrong.

For researchers from Cambridge, Oxford, King’s College London and Royal Holloway have studied student musicians at the Guildhall School of Music and the Royal College of Music and concluded that leaping and gyrating around the place, playing the air guitar could be a genuinely inspirational activity. It’s the fact that they’re not actually working at their real instruments that frees musicians’ imaginations. And, the boffins added, singing in the shower gets their creative juices flowing, too.

As a thriller writer, whose living depends upon being able to summon up exciting stories to order, I’m relieved to discover that there really is a genuine benefit in apparently pointless activities. Whole days, even weeks can go by as I mooch about, wasting my time on daytime TV or Candy Crush Saga while I wait for my brain to deliver.

This piece, in fact, is being written as a deliberate distraction from the plotting of the two final acts of my next novel. So I can quite understand why musicians might benefit from swapping the hard grind of practice for the fun of a pretend performance. But there’s a catch. Researchers point out that playing air guitar has no musical merit whatever, in itself. An imaginary fretboard is not, in the end, the same as a real instrument. That’s why Eric Clapton is a gazillionaire rock legend and  Eric “Mean Melin”  Melin is not. And why, when I’ve spent far too long seeking inspiration in idleness, I do in the end have to sit down at my Mac and write the bloody book.

Irrational belief in the NHS

Every nation has its own articles of faith that seem bizarre to the outside world. America, for example, still thinks that civilians have a right to own and use deadly firearms. Every year, 30,000 of them die from gunshot wounds. Yet there is no possibility of passing laws that would seriously limit gun ownership.

But Americans are not the only people whose faith persists in the face of all factual evidence. In the UK, an estimated 42,000 hospital patients a year die of liver failure brought on by dehydration. Another 13,000 died needlessly in just 14 hospital trusts. (Both figures from NHS sources). According to the Royal College of Paediatricians, 2,000 children a year are killed by inadequate care.

Yet vast numbers of Britons still believe the NHS is the best health service in the world. And woe betide anyone  foolish enough to point  out the evident truth that they’re wrong.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Yvette Cooper campaigning in London at the launch of Labour’s women’s manifesto  

I want the Labour Party to lead a revolution in family support

Yvette Cooper
Liz Kendall  

Labour leadership contest: 'Moderniser' is just a vague and overused label

Steve Richards
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine