WBU academics claim to have a cure for GAS, Urban to play the Railway
William Bligh University academics have announced that they have developed a treatment for the insidious syndrome that has dogged musicians since the dawn of rock 'n roll.
GAS - Guitar Acquisition Syndrome (more recently generalised to Gear Acquisition Syndrome and also known as Perceived Guitar Personality Disorder) is the debilitating condition in which sufferers feel compelled to repeatedly sell and purchase particular guitars or gear that may have a perceived ascetic, or 'personality'.
Often the guitar's personality is invisible to the untrained eye, but its call is winsome, sexy and irresistible to sufferers, who will make any sacrifice to answer it. Eugene O'Donnell, 43, of Manunda is a victim, currently in remission. "When I saw that 1962 Gibson Explorer at a garage sale in Brinsmead in 2006 and realised what I was looking at I literally shat my pants," said O'Donnell. "I didn't know that the guarks were into me even then."
Those who would profit from the sufferers of GAS are often called 'guarks', a portmanteau for 'guitar shark'. These despicable individuals will tempt their victims into making decisions that will lead them down a path of debt, despair and open chords. "That Brinsmead guark, he had me turned inside out for eight years," related O'Donnell. "I would've done anything for that Explorer. I gave away everything I had and ended up with a Yamaha with four strings and a limited repertoire. And no recourse."
O'Donnell now plays in a tribute band, 'The Levignes', and never got his hands on the guitar he coveted so much. "I'm just a shell," he said. "I'm stuck playing this Avril shit when all the time I'm dreaming of being able to play some Tay Tay or Katy. Or even Delta. It's devastating."
The WBU treatment gives some hope that O'Donnell might be able to return to a normal life and set-list.
"It's a pretty extreme procedure," explained Dr Kellyanne Brody of the WBU College of Healthcare Services. "We force the patients to listen to hours of Keith Urban, Dragonforce and also calibrated doses of Nickleback. It's brutal, but there's virtually no recidivism afterwards. Some of our subjects in early recovery can't even be exposed to a picture of a picture of a guitar without suffering an episode of convulsive air ukelelitis. We've had to develop some pretty tight protocols. Those of us that play a bit have had to dial back on the gear talk and cover up our calluses."
Brody explained that once certain behavioural markers are met, subjects are then reintroduced to the instrument gradually: "We start with some Irish Diddly-Ah, some 'Copperhead Road' and gradually move up to your lesbian folk, Britpop and finally the Decemberists. Before long they've developed healthy non-obsessive traits."
Keith Urban, mega-talented, slightly tatted, pseudo-country music star (and husband of Dame Nicole Kidman) contributed over seventy hours of recorded noodling to the research team and is included as a co-author on the paper. "Keith helped us with some aspects of experimental design and ANOVA," reported Dr Brody. "He's got some awesome stats chops. And he also gave us those fucking interminable licks. Worst ear-worm. But we can't thank him enough."
The new therapy will be rolled out to sufferers across the country over the next year. Mr Urban will perform at the Railway Hotel beer-garden on April 28th.