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At our University, there were all sorts of groups of people from all different faculties that put on usually-musical, usually-hilarious shows at various times of the year. From a University-wide show to celebrate the graduating class, to one put on by each of the Law and Medicine departments, we got our fill of filthy, student-centred humour. We were also provided with an opportunity to witness, first-hand, the talents of our fellow students, many of whom we knew (it’s a small town).

One of these students was a guy named Pete. He was a pretty ordinary guy – not too cute, not too smart, not too funny. Once, a friend of mine, upon noticing that he was wearing a T-shirt with Che Guevara’s face on it, asked what he thought of his politics. Now, let’s briefly ignore the fact that he was about 8 years too late for that look to be cool, and the fact that he was definitely not the type to be doing it ironically; and concentrate on this one little problem: he didn’t even know who Che Guevara was. Not only does that mean that he was living under a very large rock for the whole of the decade between 2000 and 2010 (which contained various points at which the man’s face covered T-shirts) but he has also somehow managed to make it to (and most of the way through) University without even a rudimentary knowledge of the Cuban Revolution, Argentinean Marxism or the failed revolution in Bolivia, never mind pop culture or, I don’t know, the tens of really famous people who have talked about their admiration for him. In public. (Really famous people. From Jean-Paul Sartre to Nelson Mandela kind of famous.) Point being: Pete was a pretty unremarkable, ordinary (some would say below-average) guy.

Pete was a pretty unremarkable, ordinary guy, that is, until you put him behind a keyboard. Suddenly, unremarkable, ordinary Pete was neither unremarkable nor ordinary. Pete’s transformation was so complete that we named this change after him – The Pete Effect. What happens to average guys when they can play an instrument [well].

(I’ve yet to determine whether this is something that applies to all musical instruments. I’m inclined to believe that there are instruments that you appreciate for the technical ability of the player – things like flutes or violas. And then there are the sexy instruments that definitely fall under the jurisdiction of the Pete Effect. Here, I mean things like guitars (yes!) or the drums, the bass. Even pianos/keyboards are subject to the Pete Effect. I think the general rule of thumb is that “anything that can be feasibly used by a band” is subject to the Pete Effect.)

Anyway, so you give Average Pete a keyboard and suddenly he is Way Above Average  Pete. And it’s happened again, and again and again. (Becoming particularly dangerous when the person on whom The Pete Effect is acting is already attractive.)

Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, give him an instrument and he’s set for life!

– Liv

*Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are held by the writer (Olivia) and shared by some of her friends – especially those involved in the genesis of The Pete Effect. If, by some strange chance, you don’t find musicians sexy (WHAT??), we completely respect your right to your opinion. In fact, I encourage that opinion. More for me.