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Thursday 7 May 2009

Is Ruth really stranger than Richard?

I am currently reading "Bad Science" by Ben Goldacre, in which he looks at various claims made by pharmaceutical companies, nutritionists and others and reveals that there is often little or no evidence to support them. I think it is about time this sort of scientific rigour was applied in other fields, such as music.

Let us start by looking at Robert Wyatt's claim that "Ruth is stranger than Richard". Since he first made this claim on the album of that name in 1975 it has pretty much been taken at face value, but does it stand up to scrutiny?

I conducted a lot of highly scientific tests using reputable methodologies that I don't have the time to go into here. I then fed the results into a computer, pressed a few buttons, and up popped the findings. They consisted of just two words:

"Richard Strange"

By complete coincidence, here is an old favourite of mine by an artist of that name: "International Language". Originally released in 1979, this 1981 remake appeared on the album "The Phenomenal Rise of Richard Strange". Apologies for the slight jump near the beginning.

I doubt that Robert Wyatt would be swayed by my research, however. I get the impression that, whatever the evidence to the contrary, he remains a believer.

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