Monday, 12 October 2009

Things that make you eat your words...

I was reading the MX, one of Brisbane’s leading street press dailies, on the train the other day and I got hooked on an article about James Wannerton; an Englishman who could literally taste his words due to a rare brain condition called gustatory auditory synaesthesia.  

This disorder seemed to have hot-wired his brain when he was younger and caused an overlap of senses, which meant Wannerton, amongst other things, tasted bacon in his mouth when hearing or reciting The Lord’s Prayer!

Not everything is sweet though as he said most novels were “too flowery” to read, French tasted “like burnt eggs” and some of his friends' names, like Gordon, were hard to digest.

I found this utterly amazing and started hypothesizing what different people and books would taste like. I think Jacob Zuma’s speeches would definitely produce an African potato and garlic flavour, with a lingering, faint aftertaste of Radox showergel. Kyle Sandilands' breakfast  radio show would most likely taste like ash and disgrace, leaving poor Wannerton choking and retching until he managed to toss his radio out the window.

Courtesy of

Dickens' David Copperfield, which I’m reading at the moment, would taste of steaming pigeon pie or mutton chops and fragrant sawdust. It’s clear that if Wannerton wanted a fast food fix he’d just have to listen to one of George W Bush’s gaffe-prone addresses to  excite his tastebuds into producing the deep-fried flavour of Freedom Fries and Julius Malema’s equally bungled misstatements would have the bitter tang of sour grapes and misplaced angst.

I wonder gangster rap, with its rapid-fire lyrics, explodes in your mouth like the pop rock candy I used to love as a kid, obviously with a strong hint of gunpowder and prison sex.

Courtesy of

I believe if Wannerton was to listen to that crooning New Orleansian Harry Connick Junior’s Southern twang, he’d most probably taste the creamy goodness of one of Australia’s proudest products: Coon Cheese...


  1. Haha. Intersting pontificating. Copperfield is a right little scamp.

  2. You got a new blog and didn't tell me? I know of synaesthesia where people smell or taste things when they see different colours, but never whole words like that! It's amazing! They should use him to judge for book awards!

  3. I did tell you, if you had only checked out my old blog :) I got itchy not blogging for a while so gonna try and keep this one updated once or twice a week.