The Phono Gram

Late-night free-floating anxiety is not a modern phenomenon. One of my favourite descriptions of it is Dorothy Parker’s 1933 short story called “The Little Hours”, published in The New Yorker.

However, more than 30 years before this, The Phono Gram magazine published the following, which a Dr. J. Leonard Corning proposed to cure the problem of late-night melancholy with what we would, today, called a “pair of headphones” (although the design that he describes probably wouldn’t sell well to anyone who is not interested in S&M…) playing Wagnerian arpeggios and minor chords. (Personally, I just put the timer on my iPhone to turn off after 30 minutes, and turn on an old episode of “QI” or “8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown” – Sean Lock’s voice drowns out my own internal ones.)

I’ve removed a rather significant portion here…