Raf began his Body Of Songs journey with help from pathologist Dr Ian Proctor of University College London Hospital, who showed him around a few of the organs in the Gordon Museum. Intrigued by the much maligned Appendix’s seeming lack of purpose, Raf decided to take it on as a challenge.
Surgeon Dr Andrew Williams of Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital gave him a walk around the gastro-intestinal system and described an appendectomy. He did little to improve the Appendix’s profile – most surgeons are more than happy to remove it at the first sign of trouble.
Dr William Parker of Duke University, Carolina, USA spoke to Raf over the phone and offered an alternative view, based on his research which indicates a possible use for the Appendix as a source of ‘good’ bacteria.
Following the completion of his song, Raf met animation artist Ben Wheele, who was charged with making an animated film also inspired the appendix which he also researched. The resulting film can be seen above with the frustrated appendix grotesquely and vividly personified in the guise of a disaffected teenager…
“It’s a bit of an obtuse choice but I was genuinely interested in the idea of it. There’s all these amazing, complex, crucial organs in the body. The appendix is surplus to requirements and according to most of the clinicians I spoke to, worse than useless. An accident waiting to happen. I thought it would be an interesting starting point for a song. I spoke to a very smart man called Dr.William Parker from Duke University in Carolina USA. He was the first person who really had anything good to say about the poor old appendix. According to him it’s been rendered useless by the super-santised world we live in now. It was originally there to repopulate the gut with good bacteria but in “hygenic” societies there’s nothing much for it to do. Appendicitis is something to do with auto-immunity apparently. Anyways the good Dr compared the appendix to a bored teenager with nothing to do. I really liked this idea and took it as a starting point.