It was pointed out – by Gorilla Bananas, no less – that stammerers are not so much getting stuck on words but emphasising them. It’s true. And as well as repeating (that’s emphasising) sounds, repeating whole words is also a habit stammerers get into: they’re so used to restarting the run-up they often don’t realise they’ve already taken off. (This also, up to a point, makes them fantastic lovers... another story). In fact, Scientists believe that repetition is actually the reason for stammering in the first place: evolution has hard-wired into our brains the knowledge of the fundamental truths of the universe and the only way of making people understand these are by constantly repeating them, and the only way of doing this without seeming like pedantic bores is by having a speech impediment. Clever or what that Darwin, eh? These scientists go on to say that we emphasisers are ipso facto the chosen conduits of the eternal verities, and that these are the chosen ones:
Tony Hancock: “That’s a good ‘un, that’s a good ‘un!” Hancock often repeated his best lines. Did comedy dieties Galton & Simpson script them like that or was The Lad ‘Imself fulfilling a higher destiny?
Tony Blair: “Education education education”. Now that sounds an eternal truth if ever there was one. And heck, we chose him; you can’t much more chosen than that.
Policemen: “‘Allo ‘allo ‘allo”. The police get a bad press but they’ve got a difficult job imposing their (foreordained) authority. Especially when stammering. I suppose having a truncheon makes it easier.
MacBeth: “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow... Out, out, brief candle!... (etc)”. The Downside. Macca knows too much, and it’s not made him a happy bunny.
Jimmy Saville: “Now then now then now then…. urghh-ughh-ughh!” Strewth. Saville’s clearly a conduit of something. Beats me what though.
Bill Withers: “I know, I know, I know I know, I know I know I know”. Bill’s getting exciting and perhaps giving away too much here. We need to keep our mystery, mate.
James Brown: “Vienna”. Stammering Brother No. 1 has already been mentioned on this blog, and with his repeated and seemingly irrelevant intoning of the word “Vienna” was clearly trying to tell us something about pre-WWI diplomacy. Too late.
The Byrds: “Turn Turn Turn”. Where were we supposed to turn to? That's for them to know and you to find out.
The Beatles: “Yeah Yeah yeah”. Ok, ok, it's piss-easy to pick on repetitions in pop songs and I promise this'll be the last, but it shows you’ll never go bust by underestimating the public's need for banality.
Bruce Forsyth: “Good game good game”. Brucie, evolution’s greatest achievement so far, also responsible for the near-palindromic “Nice to see you to see you nice”.