No, seriously. Basically, back in the
early 80s, Fairnie had been reading a book entitled 'Involuntary
Responses of Lesser Mammals'
and decided to put the theory into
practice during a songwriting stay in Cornwall. The two Technos were
having lunch in the Cornish sunshine (summer of 1983, fact-fans) when who should
walk in but an unsuspecting farm chicken. The rest, as
they say, is history. The chicken
was mesmerised and became "the least active living being in Cornwall for a good two
hours" (according to Willie Williams).
"The thing is", said Fairnie at the time,
"you have to dominate the chicken and be right above it staring into its eyes.
Then it will either go under or it will attack you, so you have to be a bit
careful. I'm thrilled with my new powers and I'd like to try it out on
flamingoes next. I've also
heard that if you draw a straight line which goes wavy at the
end, and then put a chicken 'under' and make it
walk along this line, it goes
a bit crazy when it gets to the wavy part. I'd like to try this
when I get more experienced."
the single 'Foreign Land' about to hit the shops, the story appeared to be the
perfect ploy to get some media coverage. Hype? That's the name of the game... An
attempt to set a new record was
pieced together in the Ad Lib office, Fairnie rising to the challenge of
hypnotising four hens. A spokeswoman for the Guinness Book of
Records confirmed that there was no
record of such a feat having been attempted before. An Evening Standard journalist was there
to report on the happenings:
"Fairnie grabbed the first hen gently by
its throat, laid it carefully on its back, then, while gazing straight into its somewhat
stunned beady eyes, stroked it under the chin. It lay there inert, legs
in the air. The chastened chicken barely moved as the
others were dealt with. But were
they really hypnotised? Difficult to say really: as it hasn't been done before, you can't
tell if they were faking."
When questioned by
the paper, Fairnie informed them that "they usually stay like
this for about four hours, but
as they're getting a bit distracted by all the noise in here, they're only staying
under for a few minutes."
All good, clean fun (in the case of the
record-setting attempt, the birds' handler was on hand to make sure that the
animals were perfectly happy throughout), albeit with darker undertones.
Perfecting the art of chicken hypnotism was in line with Fairnie's interest in
the power of speakers
and audience manipulation, as dealt with in the classic Writz track 'Muscle Culture'.
On a much lighter note, the brush with poultry led
to a substantial collection of ornate
decorative chickens being built up over the following few years. The collection still has pride
of place in Bev's kitchen!...