The Therapist Prescribes
[ Issue 10 ]

The Therapist Prescribes captivates Emily Bronto

Bikwil celebrates The Therapist Prescribes

The Therapist Prescribes . . .

In The Therapist Prescribes, a self-centred psychologist recommends the therapeutic  potential of Wagner's music to a messed-up Billy-Bunter-loving tango man.

When my daughter was practising a series of shrieks from The Valkyries I shook my maracas at her and demonstrated my tango steps

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The Therapist Prescribes . . .


(The following letters have come into Bikwil's possession via an anonymous hand. They are reproduced here without comment, save to note that it is difficult to tell which of the two correspondents is more urgently in need of assistance — the Billy-Bunter-loving tango man, or his egocentric psychologist from hell, who by the time he runs out of self-indulgent steam apparently cannot remember who the real client is.)


Dr I.Q. Lowe, Psychologist

Dear Dr Lowe,

I seek your advice re recent disturbances in my life.

For forty years I toiled faithfully as a public servant. Apart from devotion to Work and to my wife and daughter, my only indulgence was an excessive absorption in a stamp collection.

On my recent retirement I unfortunately came across the publication Bikwil which I rightly thought facetious. Whilst waiting impatiently for the next silly issue I frittered away Time searching second-hand shops for Beano comics and literature devoted to the life of the “Owl of the Fifth Remove” — Billy Bunter.

Becoming less and less responsible I hooted with mirth when I discovered silverfish had devoured my precious “penny-browns”. My daughter's collection of Wagnerian CDs I buried in the kitchen garden promising to replace them with versions by The Spice Girls. I have taken up tango lessons and I attempt to write amusing pieces for Bikwil.

When my daughter was practising a series of shrieks from The Valkyries I shook my maracas at her and demonstrated my tango steps.

Edna won't speak to me. Tra la la!

The Police make me turn off my music at two am. Cha cha cha!

Is something the matter?


Peter Wimsey



Lord Peter Wimsey,

Good lord!

In reply to your professional enquiry, I would unhesitatingly diagnose you as an advanced case of WPD (Whimsical Personality Disorder). Luckily I am conducting a therapy group for cases such as yours at my rural retreat at Grunt Grunt. This is conveniently situated only two days easy ride by camel from Tibooburra.

The principle of the therapy is that of ‘negative practice’ that is, the whimsical response is extinguished by dint of practice of antagonistic responses. This principle will become apparent when I outline our program:

All participants will take part in the annual Grunt Grunt Roo Gutting and Sheep Knackering competitions, which are the main cultural events in this part of the country. Other entertainments are the sack races, in which the sacks are placed over the head (instead of the more usual over-the-feet procedure), so that the participants stumble blindly over the dunes, tripping over rocks and running into patches of prickly pear. Great fun! Or you may soak yourself in the sheep-dip pond while you meditate on the meaning of life, of which the sack races are but a metaphor. After meals of damper and bunghole (mains) followed by spotted slut (sweets), all washed down with pannikins of rum, we relax around the campfire, smoking our camel-dung cigarettes and singing such family favourites as: The One-Eyed Reilly, The Ball at Kerrymuir and The Old Red Flannel Drawers that Maggie Wore.

In the unlikely event that this program does not appeal, there is, I'm afraid, only one other course open to you. This is therapy based on the ‘flooding’ technique, whereby you involve yourself in so much whimsical indulgence that you become satiated, and so eventually the response is extinguished.

To this end, you must attend the current production of Tannhäuser. Since the opera itself is only three hours long, you must additionally put in many months, even years in practising all the roles — Heldentenor, dramatic soprano, barreltone and chorus — whilst accompanying yourself on the piano. You will understand that all the singing must be performed at the top of your voice, for Wagnerian opera is not bel canto so much as can belto. By the end of these endeavours, you will find that your whimsy has deserted you, ditto your wife and daughter.

Should you not wish to change, as I half suspect, but rather take pride in flaunting your symptoms, then I have this proposal to offer: Lord Peter, in the course of your celebrated detective work, you have investigated the bel canto singing of Farinelli, Vivaldi's Gloria and Fauré's Requiem, and to your surprise and credit, you enjoyed those experiences. I now urge you to go to the current production of Tannhäuser, which you are sure to enjoy. You may dispense with the homework I outlined in the previous paragraph, and just wallow in whimsy, but at a different level of sophistication. It is a dramatic coup de théâtre, a masterpiece. If you boggle at this proposal, then like Tannhäuser himself, you are damned, and it will be Grunt Grunt for you, my boy!

I hope this answers my query.


I.Q. Lowe

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