What's the best way to relieve stress, do you reckon? Ok, what's the best way for bankers to relieve stress? We know what you're thinking (because you're just like us) but it's got nothing to do with Mrs Palm and her five daughters. The answer, according to Karin Hochapfel, is singing lessons.
Ms Hochapfel, you see, has just started running "stress-busting" classes in Canary Wharf (having run them for a year in the West End) that "use a mixture of yoga, Alexander Technique and breathing exercises to relieve tension — all used by singers to warm up before they perform," according to the Reuters report appearing in The Scotsman. In a triumph of cliché over journalism, the report states:
Thousands of suit-clad workers stream out of Canary Wharf underground station at rush hour on weekdays, hurrying to get to their high-rise offices where they put in long hours with few breaks but plenty of stress.
Hochapfel says the physical and mental processes involved in singing help alleviate tension as the whole body has to relax.
The classes start with the breathing exercises before playing catch; if some vindictive bugger throws the ball at you, you've got to sing a phrase from a song. (The last time some corporate tosspot forced Londonist to sing a song in front of a load of people, as a punishment for being late back from a tea break, we sang 'Who's your father, referee?' thereby guaranteeing immunity from singing for the rest of the week.) Hochapfel says, "It's like melody dialogue which can be very funny and because it's funny you forget about other things." We prefer to achieve the same melodic mashup through killing songs on Singstar at home with our mates instead of having to unwind with a load of suits but you pays your money...
If you want alternatives ways of de-stressing the report helpfully mentions:
A bar in China lets customers punch staff and smash glasses to unleash pent-up anger, while in the Philippines, residents flock to a restaurant in Gerona where they can smash plates against a "wall of fury".
If you're not prepared to brave the airports to get to those destinations, though, you can always just take a trip to Croydon at the weekend where you'll find similar things going on.