Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Never knew the pre-performance yawn was such a thing

Mark Ellen and I are doing one of our Word In Your Ear evenings tonight. It's a standing joke that half an hour before we begin Mark will start yawning. He's done it for years. Since the yawning will often coincide with a period of frantic preparation on my part it can give the impression that one party's trying and the other one isn't.

Yesterday I was listening to the commentary from the World Athletics Championship and a number of retired runners and jumpers were saying that when they know they're about to perform "your body withdraws to conserve its strength and you start yawning".

I passed this on to Mark and he sent me this clip of the Beatles getting ready to perform at Shea Stadium, just over fifty years ago. I never knew the pre-performance yawn had such a rich history.


  1. Yup. It's the same in the theatre, I have found. unstoppable bouts of yawning (and a huge amount of moaning) at The Half. Then BOOM - once you hit the stage, it's electric.

  2. Twenty five years ago I'd get the big time yawns at ten or eleven in the evening just before going into an all-night rave. It might have been something to do with the prospect of dancing like a psychotic monkey for the next eight hours to music played at volumes only otherwise heard in war zones.

  3. Whereas now one gets the big time yawns at ten or eleven in the evening just before going into… bed.