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In praise of - mood music.

Picture this.

The night is young; in fact, it's really still the middle of the day. And there you are, Dirk, surrounded by a few lady friends, Dolly, Dolores and Polly, all of them at least 50 years your junior, and the question is: what kind of music will it take to get you just in the right mood to further the prospects of your "vulnerable" species?

At London Zoo, where Dirk is the resident male septuagenarian Galapagos tortoise, they reckon it's mood music supremo Richard Clayderman tinkling over the keys with a few gently rousing themes from Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story.

In fact, forget the piped music, get the guy himself in, performing a serenade just the other side of glass window and then there's just that bit better a chance that Dolly and Polly could be seeing some action, and that, indeed, further down the line we could be hearing the plod of little tiny tortoise feet. And that's just what was arranged. Except it seems Clayderman didn't do it for Dirk – the most excited the tortoises got was when some carrots arrived – which makes you ponder what would.

"One man's baby-makin' music", as the compiler of Billboard's 50 Sexiest Songs of All time, "might be his woman's soundtrack for a snoozefest".

What, one wonders, might Dirk might have made of the Billboard list's number one, Olivia Newton John's Physical, with its exhortations to "get animal, let's get into animal"?

More carrots, please? Dirk, I suspect, wants something a little more in tune with the rhythm of his moves.

I'm thinking Billboard's number, Slow Hand by the Pointer Sisters. "I want a lover with an easy touch. I want somebody who will spend some time. Not come and go in a heated rush."

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