Elaine Paige sang Memory in Cats !

The Mirror
Elaine Paige sang Memory in Cats !
2002-07-19 14:00

Read this list once: cat, candlestick, bucket, roses, peppermint, flamingo, taxi, pyramid, hamburger, stained glass. Now turn away and see how many you can remember in a minute. How did you do? If you could recall more than four, you have an active, sharp short-term memory. But try again, this time by reading the list as part of a story.

A fat ginger cat walks along a shelf and knocks a heavy golden candlestick off. It falls into a bright red bucket of water, with such a splash that a tidal wave sweeps through the room and into the garden where it washes all the petals off the roses. A woman at the garden gate is soaked, and the petals stick to her. On the woman’s head is a vast feathery pink hat. She sniffs the rose petals, and they are pungent with peppermint. She is so shocked that she lets out a squawk – her hat squawks too, unwraps itself from her head and flaps away. It’s a flamingo, and it lands on a black London taxi, which drives the bird straight to Eygypt. At the foot of a pyramid, in the dusty heat, the cabbie gets out to buy a hamburger from a nomad, but when he bites into the bun he gets a shock: the burger is made of stained glass.

Now turn away and tell me the ten items on that list, by running through the story. I bet you get them all!

That’s the power of the mind. By using your imagination and all your senses, you activated your memory, which you couldn’t do when you were trying to recall a dry list. See how you used colour, temperature, wetness, taste, sounds and textures – plus your sense of humour – to make the list come alive.

Next time you have a few things to remember, create a strange and wonderful story about them in your mind. It’s a guaranteed memory tickler.


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