Monday 7 December 2009

The Telegraph Road Bath Challenge

As everyone knows, Telegraph Road by Dire Straits is one of the finest songs ever written. By any band, ever. Very rarely do I hear any argument when making this statement. People just nod wistfully, and go and play it at the next available opportunity. The studio version from Love Over Gold is 14 minutes and 15 seconds long, and is genius from start to finish. Sadly songs nearly a quarter of an hour long don't get a lot of air-time, in fact I don't think I have ever heard it on the radio, not even on Radio 2. But what it lacks in radio-friendliness it makes up for in personal hygiene timing, and there are not many songs you can say that about.

Yes, the Telegraph Road Bath Challenge. Unless you live somewhere palatial, this is very difficult to pull off properly, but if you faff between bedroom and bathroom you will add to the realism. Before you start you would also need to take your towel, soap and shampoo out of the bathroom, as the Challenge requires that you carry these items on your person. Many many years ago, at college, the TRBC was de rigueur. I think I was the only person for whom it was de rigueur, but no matter - are you up to the challenge?

1) Put Telegraph Road on
2) Run down a long corridor to the bathroom.
3) Run the bath, then have a bath. Also wash your hair.
4) Run back down the corridor to your room.

If Telegraph Road is still playing, you have successfully passed the challenge. Well done. If when you get back to your room you're listening to Private Investigations, you've failed, despite the also undeniable quality of that song. If Knopfler is going on about Warning Lights and Quality Control, you have done incredibly badly and, for a student, are far too clean.

Water-depth is critical, too low and you're going to have trouble having a proper bath. Too high and you've taken up too much of the allotted time, especially with the dribble that my university called plumbing. The amount of getting dressed is also a matter for fine-tuning. It was a communal corridor, so I couldn't cut too many corners, yet getting dressed properly risked failing the Challenge. When I did fail the Challenge it was usually because some skanky Computer Science student had just had their first bath of term/first bath since arriving/first bath ever, and as such I had to clean it before I could get in. This is an occupational hazard of the TRBC, you gotta roll with it. Usually I passed, but so many things had to fall in to place. I think I once got back to my room and MK was still singing, a truly impressive performance, the TRBC equivalent of the sub-four-minute mile. And the reward, naturally, is that I got to listen to almost five minutes of the glorious guitar solo and fade out.

If you have not worked it out already, the biggest problem with the TRBC is that you end up missing most of the song. I always started it again when I got back.

In case you were wondering, no, I didn't go birding today. And as a student, well, I may have been a bit of an idiot.


  1. While the quality of Telegraph Road is undeniable, I have always preferred Private Investigations.

    And the song Brothers In Arms trumps both, though the album as a whole isn't as good.

  2. Ah, haven't listened to this for... at least a week. Spotify is calling!

  3. Fst0pped you're coming perilously close to deletion. Nothing trumps Telegraph Road.

  4. While I don't doubt that you enjoy the challenge, if you enjoy the song so much surely being out of the room for the vast majority of it is a really bad way of showing it.

    Also, I've honestly never been a big fan of Dire Straits. Sorry. I'll await your unfollowing of my blog.

  5. This comes pretty close to beating TR... start from 5 mins in. Terrible wardrobe and hairstyle, but **** he can play!

  6. David, more fittingly, "he got the action, he got the motion/ yeah the boy can play" (even if the boy is more of an old dude)

    I cannot quibble with the awesomeness of TR or indeed the entire album, but feel compelled to ask, why not a shower, shaving valuable moments off one's time? As you can see I am not a bather. In large part this is probably due to the preponderance of disgusting bathtubs I have known.

  7. Laurel, there were no showers! It was a bath or nothing!