I don’t have perfect pitch. One of my long-suffering former Flatland music tutors would however be amused to read that the other day I noticed that my toothbrush was playing the key note of a Kelly Clarkson song and I wandered over to the piano and played the scale along with it—first time! I never seemed to master that trick; she should have tried putting a tuning fork to my jaw.

For those who do have it, perfect pitch can be a curse, but there must be lots of amateur hacks like me who can’t bear to hear stuff performed out of tune or out of time. I hate karaoke and if one of those TV talent shows is on in the corner of a room I have to leave. Yesterday I was in a shop where the canned music was chart R&B coming off a CD compilation with a skipping problem. Standing in the queue and listening to familiar songs remixed by the apparently random excision of fractions of a beat I was afraid I was going to have some kind of seizure.

On a related matter I think I might have once attended that “R&B” nightclub in North Street that they shut down last week because of the violent characters it attracted. I’ve inadvertently been hangin’ with gangstas! Wait till I tell the guys at chess club.