I like to think that I am open minded, but I know that there are certain areas where I am far from being so. Take music for example.  From the days of Focus and German electro pop, right through the nineties and up to yesterday morning, I was not at all open to any kind of music that was not played on conventional instruments. But last night I was listening to a podcast about a musician called Richard David James, or ‘Aphex Twin’ as he is better known by many.  I gave it a few minutes, decided I was too tired to listen and that perhaps it wasn’t that interesting, so I switched it off and went to sleep.

Lying in bed this morning, however, I decided to try the podcast one more time. And am I glad I did!  The presenter’s style was personal and direct, it was as if he was speaking only to me, taking the listener on a journey of intrigue and mystery; painting a  picture of the musician, his life, his music, his way of looking at things. So much so that when the podcast was over I was extremely curious to learn more about Aphex Twin and to spend some time listening to his music.  So I spent an hour, lying in bed, eyes closed soaking up some of his most famous pieces. I was completely blown away. I was amazed at the complexity, at first I thought I could hear influences from Steve Reich and Beethoven’s late quartets, Bruckner and even Stockhausen but in reality Aphex Twin’s music sounded like he had synthesised all the sounds of the cosmos into exquisite sound scripts, pacing out frantic rhythms from music past and future. Timeless, spellbinding.

I can honestly say that the BBC Radio 4 ‘Seriously’ program somehow managed to unlock the door to my musical prejudice and opened up a world to which I had previously been completely closed to. So what have I learnt from this experience?  That to open a closed mind you need to find the right key and the right key for me can be:

  • The reputation of an interesting program
  • A person that one trusts deeply or identifies with
  • An accidental experience that coincides with a particular frame of mind.

The conclusion now is that I have two additional, unplanned actions to add to my list: One, to explore more of Aphex Twin’s music, and two, to research deeper into the science of what precisely unlocked my brain this morning and why? Perhaps it could be useful for the science of change management and to my readers too?

Have a good week