“The first rule of legislation is to do enough but not too much.” A single quote. A dozen words. One mystery voice.
That line has been lodged in my head for over two decades. If you’ve arrived here having Googled the phrase, pull up a chair. Welcome to the Johnnie Walker mystery voice self-help club.
Whenever somebody utters the word ‘legislation’, I’m immediately transported back in time to Johnnie Walker’s Drivetime show on BBC Radio 2. In a meeting, listening to the news or reading a book. “The first rule of legislation is to do enough but not too much.”
As part of this select self-help club, you’ll remember that the line was the focus of the mystery voice competition for what seemed like an eternity. For days, weeks, possibly even months, listeners phoned in with incorrect answers. Nobody had the foggiest idea.
Two decades later, I can’t remember who it was, but the line remains writ large like an earworm that won’t disappear. Thanks, Mr Walker.
If you don’t start making more sense
The mystery voice was like a timepiece for the journey home from work. On most days, it would coincide with me crossing the Dorset/Hampshire border on Roeshot Hill. I knew if I was running early or late by the mystery voice. Who needs a speaking clock?
Johnnie Walker is the consummate DJ. In a world of shouty and OTT presenters, the former pirate radio DJ’s voice is as warm and soothing as the eponymous Scotch whisky.
He was the perfect company on a drive home from work and I used to look forward to the occasions when he’d sit in for Terry Wogan on the breakfast show. It’s always a pleasure to hear him presenting Sounds of the 70s on a Sunday afternoon.
But he has a lot to answer for. If the mystery voice isn’t enough, I can’t listen to Make Me Smile by Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel without filling the breaks in the music with Homer Simpson. D‘oh.
Then there’s “If you don’t start making more sense, we’re going to have to put you in a home” from The Simpsons, and “Where is your honour, dirtbag? You are an absolute disgrace” from Toy Story. Both lines are now permanent files in my filing cabinet head.
One way or another, Johnnie Walker has left his mark on my slightly deranged brain. If, by some miracle, Johnnie, you happen to chance upon this blog, put me out of my misery. Who was the mystery voice?
Oh, and thanks for being there on those long drives home from the office.