Many years the Greeks used the Chorus to hold a story line together. There would be a few actors on stage in some enormous amphitheatre – along with the chorus. When the story line seemed to be flagging or needed embellishing the chorus would break into verse and give the actors a break.
We have naturally carried this forward into pantomime. A narrator gives the story line. Some famous character then swans onto the stage and sings a song as loudly as possible – only to be followed by the chorus line of scantily clad girls and a line up of boys in Lycra.
Many television shows today that are aimed at children must contain elements of what we now call: `canned laughter’. It is hard to believe that a half hour show going out on national television really can have an audience of boys and girls who could be primed to laugh at the right time. It must be much easier for a sound engineer to be able to use a range of laughter tracks. I wonder if the same sound bytes are used in a number of shows. Surely re-using canned laughter would save considerable time and effort.
So all those parents who `don’t mind’ their children sitting near to a T.V. while they are working through eleven plus papers must feel that in the actual examination their children are being grossly treated as third class citizens. There must be some loophole that these parents should be able to exploit. Within a Local Authority’s examination regulations there should be a section covering `Providing fair access to children who have studied while watching television’.
There must be a case for these `deprived’ children to be able to collect a previously prepared ipod into the examination. The children would be distinguished because they would have to wear headphones. Every few minutes the ipod would emit bursts of canned laughter. The ipod laughter would stimulate all the multitasking children to greater heights.
We all know that some people insist that listening to music helps them to work better. We hear too of children who swear that listening to music or having the T.V. on in the back ground helps them to concentrate and think. So if the children who study in this manner and have their music or back ground noise removed in the actual examination they would be seriously disadvantaged.
In the next month or so this year’s specially prepared `Eleven Plus Background Noises’ will be available. All the parents that will find this a little sad can take heart that they will be able to pop the CD into their car’s player and hear bursts of laughter every few minutes. That should make the journey to school a little easier to bear.