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that's typical.

"Better ideas come when you are at full tilt than when you're on a roll

CURSE these new-fangled chairs. They've got wheels on.

You can't lean back on them with your hands behind your head and ruminate at an appropriate angle.

The correct elevation which comes from using only the rear two legs as pivots can help a man think.

I'd like to be cogitating on what I'm going to write at about 45 degrees. Instead, because of the wheels on this chair I'm upright and therefore cannot be held responsible for what comes next.

You try leaning back on a chair which has wheels. I know some of these modern ones have a tilting mechanism but they cost, and on an old wooden chair the leaning comes as part of the design, though admittedly you have to operate it yourself.

Of course there's a risk. Leaning back in a chair is not for the faint-hearted. Overestimate the optimum angle of lean and you can end up flat on your back, your cranium smacked against a solid object and an ambulance chaser urging you to sign a claim against the chair manufacturer. Kids, do not try this at home.

Actually this is serious: nearly 5,000 schoolchildren went to hospital last year after rocking back dangerously.

And apparently there was a case in which one girl fell off as her leaning went too far, suffered a long-term injury and her family tried to sue the local authority.

To that end Tom Wates, a maths and PE teacher, has found designers willing to build an untippable chair. The secret? The legs curve backwards and no child has managed to lift it more than 5cm off the ground.

Good work, but it doesn't solve my leaning back problem. Perhaps I should adopt the Roald Dahl system of always writing in an easy chair with a board across the arms as a table. And you never know what inspiration you're going to find down there. There was that report last week about the five-year-old Wisp a bar found down the back of a sofa which fetched more than pounds 200 on eBay.

They stopped making Wispas in 2003 but brought them back last October after an internet campaign. In fact, there's quite a lively auction action for Wispas. Peter Bonner, who led the Bring Back Wispa campaign and obviously is a man with time on his hands, is quoted as suggesting that bidders might have been people wanting a memento from their childhood. This is obviously a better memento of their childhood than a lump on their cranium from falling backwards from an overtipped chair.

I yearn for that Homer Simpson moment; he famously solved a problem and celebrated by tilting back the chair to the right angle and sighed, "Mmmmm, slanty".

You can only now imagine how good this column might have been if I'd been at the right angle during its gestation.


Steve Groves
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 18, 2008
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