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Tim Minchin: how my beat poem took the world by Storm

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A dinner-party encounter with a homeopathy fan was the spark for my rationalist anthem, now a YouTube hit and a graphic novel thanks to Storm the Animated Movie

My 2006 solo show, So Rock, included a very short song with a very long title: If You Open Your Mind Too Much Your Brain Will Fall Out (Take My Wife), a 90-second long refutation of the plausibility of astrology, psychics, homeopathy and an interventionist God. I found the titular quote in Francis Wheens How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World, and, inspired by James Randis Million Dollar Challenge, which offers a prize pot to anyone who can satisfactorily demonstrate paranormal ability, structured the song as a bet.

People seemed to like that song, and I loved playing it, but I was aware that it was merely an assertion, not an argument. So in 2008, I set out to expand the ideas in Take My Wife into a piece that justified itself a bit more. I had said a lot about religion already, so I was keen to address some of the non-evidence-based claims outside religion. I wrote in my Ideas document: a poem/rant about the crazy/harmful shit people believe. Alt Med, psychics etc. And that was that, for a bit.

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