Can't get you
out of my head

Well - in the last couple of days I have been experiencing the joys of driving a brand new, top-of-the-range Vauxhall Omega.What a car! A real pity I had to give it back; it was a courtesy car whilst I was having my own car repaired. I think I fell in love with it. (My other car is also a Vauxhall - a Corsa.)

I don't normally feel like this with temporary cars, because you know up-front that you've only got it for a short while - so you go out of your way to ensure that you and the car don't get intimate. Like you don't transfer your entire CD or cassette collection into it - you don't relocate your Greater London A-Z to it - and, most important of all, you don't chuck in the ice-scraper onto the floor of the front passenger compartment.

This luxurious car had everything you could possibly want by the way of creature comforts. Everything.

The first thing I noticed was a highly stylish electronic LCD panel that displays graphics of every airflow combination that the air-conditioning system can manipulate in order to perfect to the one-tenth of a degree the temperature of the environment in every part of the car. Fantastic! There was also a gadget for warming the seat underneath you - ah yes "I've seen this before in many other cars" you might say - but this one was different: it had no less that five - yes FIVE - different temperature settings to satisfy every mood that your backside could ever experience!

But the thing that really made this car special was the audio system. This - was just quite simply exquisite! Remember, I didn't have any CDs with me in this car - so I only had the radio to go by - but the sheer quality of the sound was exhilerating. And the volume - well the volume could go to ear-drum bursting levels without "breaking-up" the quality and fidelity of the music. And this I did - I surfed every radio channel I could to ensure a constant supply of good music - and this was made easy by a handy little widget on the steering weel that made this possible without taking your hands off the wheel. Utter pleasure!

Now - the reason why I am writing this is not really to rave on about this car - but to expose a very disturbing phenomenon. It was the car's high-quality audio system that did it.

It all started when I settled on a particular radio station that was playing the Kylie Minogue song - you know that one that goes "can't get you out of my head - le le le, le le-le-le-le le le le le-le-le-le " etc. Now this particular song didn't really appeal to me before - but it sounded quite good on this stereo - so I actually turned up the volume and got quite in to it.And then, all of a sudden, it happened: I started hearing my mobile phone ringing. So I turned down the volume to listen out for my mobile phone going off - but it wasn't - so I turned up the volume again. A few seconds later I heard my mobile phone ringing - and again - I turned down the volume in case my phone was going off - but it wasn't. At this point I just didn't bother trying to figure out why I had heard my mobile phone ringing - you know one of those things that you just don't waste precious brain-cycles worrying about. Only later on - when listening to another song - I heard it again!

And you know what's coming next - I kept on hearing it - in several songs - but only when I had the music turned up loud. There was no pattern to the types of songs that I kept hearing the ringing in - it was just random - but consistent - if you know what I mean. By this time - I couldn't help but be so "bugged" by the problem that I was determined to try figure out why I kept hearing my mobile phone ringing when it wasn't - but no matter what - I still cannot find any explanations. Wierd.

The only thing I can suggest is that, subliminally perhaps, I was concious about me not hearing my mobile phone ringing if the music was turned up loud - and subconciously - perhaps the thought of me missing my mobile phone ringing caused my "hearing" part of the brain to make me "hear" my phone ringing when it wasn't!

But once it started - I just couldn't get it out of my head ...