Rhodri Marsden: Why don't you just write it down? My dinner is at stake here

Life on Marsden

Share
Related Topics

My friend Dave likes to remember lists of things using mnemonics. It's not the most riveting hobby in the world, but I suppose it's less traumatic than genital piercing. When we were in a band together he'd painstakingly construct mental images to remember the list of songs we played each night.

So if the song "Gene Pool" was followed by "Space Mansions" (as it sometimes was) he'd imagine Gene Simmons from Kiss blasting off from Cape Canaveral in a jet-powered stately home, or something. As he committed these to memory backstage he'd rock his head back and squeeze his eyes shut in concentration – a movement he'd repeat during the show, after every song, as he tried to recollect what came next. Every night, I'd look at him and think, "Why don't you just write it down?"

Last weekend, a group of us were having a birthday meal in an Italian restaurant in Hackney, and as the waitress started to take our order, it was evident that she, too, was going to do this using the power of memory alone. I was troubled. I looked at her and thought, "Why don't you just write it down?" Our dinner was at stake here. This was no time to attempt feats of mental agility. I imagined her returning to the table, presenting a pizza with a flourish, like a massive playing card with a cheesy topping, and saying, "Madam! Was your pizza… the mushroom?" and us all looking disappointed and saying, "No."

Anyway, I didn't demand that she use pen and paper – I'm not a monster. But as we gave the order, I noted that she wasn't even using Dave's technique of rocking her head back and squeezing her eyes shut. "So," she said eventually, "that's two ham pizzas, one mushroom" – but I had to interrupt. "No," I said, pedantically, "it's one ham, two mushroom." My sense of despair deepened. I imagined everything going wrong, the birthday ruined. "Sorry!" she replied, breezily, before going through the rest of the order and heading off to the kitchen. Unfortunately the tale peters out a bit here because the food arrived without any problems. I suppose my point – if I have one – is that it MIGHT NOT HAVE DONE. And those of you who require a more dramatic ending to the story, well, some space dragons turned up and vaporised everyone with lasers.

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Contract Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrigeration, mechan...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Support Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrigeration, mechan...

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line IT Support / Senior Engineer / Support Analyst

£24000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Executive - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Recognised as one of the fastes...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: the endless and beginningless election campaign goes up and down

John Rentoul
Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella, with her boyfriend, fellow vlogger Alfie Deyes  

What the advertising world can learn from Zoella's gang

Danny Rogers
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor