Thought for the Day

Every day, on the Today programme, BBC Radio Four airs Thought for the Day, a three-minute slot that offers reflections from a faith perspective on issues and people in the news. Usually a religious leader or thinker gives that thought.

A little while ago the idea of doing a Tourettes version came up in conversation. The idea intrigued me but I had no idea if or how it’d work. I had no particularly burning message to share and felt the idea would only be interesting and funny if my tics took control. So here it is:


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Rather than scripted messages from a faith perspective, my version shares surreal ideas from an involuntary perspective. If you’re wondering about the process by which it was made, here’s how we went about it.

My big question was ‘Will my tics take the bait? My tics can be very suggestible, for example when I watched president Obama’s acceptance speech they went wild and I ended up giving a speech of my own, and when Poppy once complained about having period pain, my tics bombarded her with advice about what to do with her uterus.

My tics get hooked on particular subjects fairly easily. They especially like a list, and can go on endlessly about penguins or dolphins for example. Also, certain songs regularly trigger explosions of vocal tics. We’ve used these aspects of Tourettes before in playful and creative ways, most recently in the World of the Zodiac Horoscope Videos.

I started by listening to a load real Thought for the Day’s. I was soon aware that my tics were getting on board and mimicking its reflective tone, even if the content of the tics was a lot less spiritual (and much more biscuity.)

I also noticed a handful of key phrases that were repeated a lot. For example: ‘This reminded me of…’, ‘As our leaders gather …’ and ‘As we enter the week …’. I noted these down to use them to join the ticced bits together, so that whatever involuntary chaos emerged, it’d still have some recognisable features.

When I sat down with Leftwing Idiot to record I still wasn’t 100% sure it would work. Forty-five minutes and a lot of strange ideas later we were both happy that there was enough to make something interesting.

I really enjoyed the process of letting my tics off the leash and allowing them to take the lead. Leftwing Idiot pulled out the best bits and edited them down to the length of a typical Thought for the Day.

When we’d started the recording I had no idea what I was going to say but by the time we’d finished I had a new faith in my tics’ ability to generate interesting ideas and stories on demand.

Please leave your suggestions for other possible sources of inspiration below.

4 responses to Thought for the Day

  1. Casey B says:

    Oh, fantastic!

    ‘The teachings of the wizard Gandalf’. Leftwing Idiot is a very skilled sound editor, obviously…this is absolutely seamless.

    Thanks for sharing,


  2. psychogoogje says:

    I really enjoyed that! And although it came from an "involuntary perspective", to me it made more sense than some of the thought of the days from a "faith perspective". 🙂

  3. QuantumPhil says:

    Fantastic. I love the breadth of stimulation from hearing something like this. You never know which part of your brain is going to be stimulated next; serious, surreal, empathetic, humorous, profound, biscuits. My favourites: "painful to listen to chaos, chaos, Alladin", "she looked at the teenager, and all she saw was sexual ambiguity".

  4. cristisha says:

    Still makes more sense than the silliness we get for "morning meditation" and "evening meditation" at work.

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