The article in question was entitled 'The Music that Animals Like' and was penned by PAUL DONOVAN, the paper's radio reviewer, who was recounting the musical tastes of a canary which his family have as a pet.
I'd like to be able to tell you the name of the bird in question but Mr Donovan unfortunately doesn't reveal that fact. To be fair, the name is not, actually, relevant to the story but it might have added a certain dash of colour to the telling of it - except that, since it's a canary, it's probably got sufficient colour already...
Anyway, the bird in question -- let's call him Yellow -- was once a great singer. That, however, was in the days when he had a mate (or chum, I'm not sure of the precise relationship) who has since, sadly, died.
Following this bereavement, Yellow has rather lost the will to sing - except when Radio 2 is playing Candi Staton's 'Young Hearts Run Free', Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody', The Beatles' 'Magical Mystery Tour' or various other assorted numbers.
But - and here's where I come (albeit briefly) into the story - Yellow is not keen on speech radio, as his owner explains...
Now, whilst I'm obviously sorry that my four-minute appearance on the Today programme (talking, you will remember, about the 80th birthday of Mickey Mouse) didn't move Yellow to song, it is nevertheless nice to be referred to as if everyone would automatically know who that Brian Sibley was that Sarah Montague was interviewing...
Whenever I brought in the radio from the kitchen next door and tuned it to Radio 2, as I frequently do for company, he started chirruping, warbling and tweeting again — so long as it was music coming out, not speech. This behaviour has become quite predictable, and I have started to observe what he does and does not like.
On the day I am writing this, for example, he remained completely silent, as I thought he would, when Sarah Montague was interviewing Brian Sibley on Today in that deliciously hoity-toity voice of hers. Any form of speech, however fetching, leaves the bird completely cold.
So, next time I make it back onto the airwaves, Yellow, I'll remember that you may be sitting there on your perch, listlessly pecking at your cuttlebone, and I'll try to find an excuse to break into song -- it will, of course, probably finish my broadcasting career for good and all; but if it puts a tweet back in your little beak it will have been worth it!
You can read the full text of Paul Donovan's intriguing article here.