Actions

Staying, for the moment, with these ten numbers (20 to 29), you must now ascribe a unique action to each person. BN (29), for example, makes me think of Barry Norman. His action would be operating a projector. The bus driver's action would be driving a red doubledecker. Each action should involve a prop of some sort. If the action is playing the piano, the prop is the piano. If it's skiing, the prop is a pair of skis.

The action should also be as versatile as possible. Later on, when you are memorizing longer numbers, actions and persons are going to fit together like pieces of a jigsaw. It's possible to imagine Barry Norman driving a bus, for example; the bus driver can operate a film projector; an image of him could even be projected.

If the person does not have an obvious action peculiar to him or her, you must discard that person. The importance of actions will become apparent later. Suffice it to say, they make life very easy when you arc memorizing more than two digits - telephone numbers, for example.

Once you have drawn up a list of ten persons and actions, start assigning characters to every number from 00 to 99. I suggest doing ten to twenty numbers a day. Each action must be unique, so don't have more than one barmaid, or golfer, or tennis player, or guitarist, and so on.

AUDITIONING THE CAST

For the system to work most efficiendy, your cast of characters should include a healthy mixture of public and personal names. Don't dwell on the letters themselves; they are simply an intermediary, a way of getting to a memorable image. And try not to ponder on why letters suggest particular people to you. It doesn't matter if your associations are strange, silly or even downright obscene.

Here is a sample of my cast of characters:

01 is my mother, the first person I came into contact with.

My family initials are OB, so 02 (OB) is my father.

17 (IG) reminds me of a pIG farmer friend.

When I see 28 (BH), I think of someone I know who spends all their time in the BatH.

60 (SO) makes me think of an old seamstress I know (SO...Sewing).

79 (GN) reminds me of a friend called GordoN.

81 (HI) suggests a hippy I know who is always coming up to me in the street and saying 'Hi'.

HG is the symbol for mercury, so I associate 87 with a scientist I know.

I have a friend who has a very prominent NoSe; he has become irrevocably linked with 96 (NS).

MEMORABLE NUMBERS

Certain numbers won't need to be translated into letters because they already suggest someone. For instance, 07 makes me think of James Bond; 10 makes me think of Dudley Moore (star of the film 10). It doesn't matter how you arrive at a person, providing you are sure to make the same association every time.

INITIALS

You can probably think of around fifty people using the methods I have outlined above. Personally, I managed to corrfe up with about forty-five immediate associations. I then had to start scratching around for the more difficult numbers.

If you are having problems with a number, treat the letters as the initials of a person. Take 33, for example; using the alphabet, this now represents CC (3= C; 3 = G). Or 65, for example: this now translates as SE (6 = S; 5 = E).

Who do you know with the initials CC? Charlie Chaplin, perhaps, or Chubby Checker? or a family friend? What about SE? Stefan Edberg? Sue Ellen?

Write down a list of all those numbers and letters that fail to trigger off any immediate association. Study the letters. Who has the initials BG (27)? Bob Geldof? Boy George? Billy Graham? What about BB (22)? Benazir Bhutto? Boris Becker? Brigitte Bardot?

If you still can't think of someone using the numbers as initials, refer to the following list, but use it only after you have written out a many numbers as you can. Your associations are the most important.

NUMBER

LETTER

PERSON

ACTION

00

oo

Olive Oyl

Eating spinach

01

OA

Ossie Ardiles

Playing football

02

OB

Otto (von) Bismark

Sitting in an army tank

03

OC

Oliver Cromwell

Loading musket

04

OD

Otto Dix

Painting

05

OE

Old Etonian

Wearing boater

06

OS

Omar Sharif

Playing backgammon

07

OG

Organ Grinder

Holding monkey

08

OH

Oliver Hardy

Swinging plank of wood

09

ON

Oliver North

Swearing on oath

10

AO

Aristode Onassis

Carrying oil can

11

AA

Arthur Askey

Dancing with bees

12

AB

Alastair Burnet

Reading news

13

AC

Andy Capp

Lighting cigarette

14

AD

Arthur Daley

Selling second-hand car

15

AE

Albert Einstein

Chalking a blackboard

16

AS

Arthur Scargill

Carrying sack of coal

17

AG

Alec Guinness

Drinking Guinness

18

AH

Adolf Hider

Goose-stepping

19

AN

Andrew Neil

Reading newspaper

20

BO

Bill Oddie

Holding binoculars

21

BA

Bryan Adams

Shooting arrow

22

BB

Betty Boothroyd

Banging, order!

23

BC

Bill Clinton

Waving US flag

24

BD

Bernard Davey

Pointing at weather map

25

BE

Brian' Epstein

Playing records

26

BS

Bram Stoker

Driving stake in

27

BG

Bob Geldof

Knighting

28

BH

Benny Hill

Driving milk float

29

BN

Barry Norman

Operating film projector

HOW

TO DEVELOP A PERF

ECT MEMORY

30

CO

Captain Oates

Building snowman

31

CA

Charles Atlas

Weight-lifting

32

CB

Cilia Black

Blindfolded

33

CC

Charlie Chaplin

Bending cane

34

CD

Christopher Dean

Ice skating

35

CE

Clint Eastwood

Lassooing

36

CS

Claudia Schiefler

Striding along catwalk

37

CG

Charles de Gaulle

Cycling with onions

38

CH

Charlton Heston

Baptizing

39

CN

Christie Nolan

Writing

40

DO

Dominic O'Brien

Playing cards

41

DA

David Attenborough

Crawling in bush

42

DB

David Bowie

Putting on make-up

43

DC

David Copperfield

Performing magic

44

DD

Dickie Davies

Combing hair

45

DE

Duke Ellington

Playing piano

46

DS

Delia Smith

Cooking

47

DG

David Gower

Playing cricket

48

DH

Daryl Hannah

Turning into mermaid

49

DN

David Niven

Percolating coffee

50

EO

Eeyore

Chewing thistles

51

EA

Eamon Andrews

Presenting red book

52

EB

Eric Bristow

Throwing darts

53

EC

Eric Clapton

Playing guitar

54

ED

Eliza Doolittle

Selling flowers

55

EE

Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards

Skiing

56

ES

Ebeneezer Scrooge

Counting money

57

EG

Elizabeth Goddard

Miming

58

EH

Edward Heath

Conducting

59

EN

Emperor Nero

Giving the thumbs down

60

SO

Steve Ovett

Running

61

SA

Susan Anton

Diving into water

62

SB

Seve Ballesteros

Playing golf

63

SC

Sean Connery

Holding gun

64

SD

Sharron Davies

Swimming with rubber ring

65

SE

Stefan Edberg

Playing tennis

66

SS

Steven Spielberg

Pointing with ET

67

SG

Stephane Grappelli

Playing violin

68

SH

Sherlock Holmes

Smoking pipe, magnify

69

SN

Steve Nallon

Wearing blue dress

70

GO

George Orwell

In rat cage

71

GA

Gary Armstrong

Passing a rugby ball

72

GB

George Bush

Fishing

73

GC

Gerry Cottle

Swinging on trapeze

74

GD

Gerard Depardieu

Wielding sword

HOW TO REMEMBER

NUMBERS

75

GE

Gloria Estafan

Singing

76

GS

Graham Souness

Operating table

77

GG

Germainc Greer

Burning bra

78

GH

Gloria Hunniford

Interviewing

79

GN

Gamal Nasser

Riding camel

80

HO

Hazel O'Connor

Breaking glass

81

HA

Howard Aiken

Operating computer

82

HB

Humphrey Bogart

Wearing mac and stetson

83

HC

Henry Cooper

Splashing aftershave

84

HD

Humphrey Davcy

Holding 'Davy' lamp

85

HE

Harry Enfield

Wearing diamond sweater

86

HS

Harry Secombe

Weighing himself

87

HG

Hughie Green

Knocking on door

88

HH

Hulk Hogan

Wrestling

89

HN

Horatio Nelson

Manning the helm

90

NO

Nick Owen

Sitting on sofa

91

NA

Neil Armstrong

Wearing spacesuit

92

NB

Nigel Benn

Boxing

93

NC

Nadia Comaneci

Balancing on beam

94

ND

Neil Diamond

Sitting on rocks

95

NE

Noel Edmonds

Covered in gunge

96

NS

Nigel Short

Playing chess

97

NG

Nell Gwyn

Selling fruit

98

NH

Nigel Havers

Leading black horse

99

NN

Nanette Newman

Washing up

POWER TO THE PEOPLE

You should now have a complete list of people from 00 to 99, each one with their own individual action. I have cheated a little. One number reminds me of my late dog (47, DG). You might want to include a pet or a favourite race horse (Desert Orchid works well), but I strongly recommend that you limit yourself to the one animal. Stick with people.

When I was experimenting with this system, I found that certain numbers were far more difficult to remember than others. Those that I had represented by intangible feelings such as love, peacefulness, and anger barely triggered off an image. Certain objects were good stimulants, but people proved to be the best all-rounders.

Committing all these characters to memory might sound like hard work, but it isn't, providing your associations are obvious. With a bit of practice, you will automatically think of two-digit numbers as people; if you can't remember the person, simply refer back to the alphabet (which is why you must learn the ten basic letters before moving on to the people). The letters are there to act as a mental prop. I suggest trying to remember twenty people a day.

HOW TO APPLY THE DOMINIC SYSTEM

Once you have memorized the cast, you have finished the hardest part of this book. They are the key to remembering telephone numbers, credit cards, addresses, any number you want. They even hold the key to memorizing the entire twentieth-century calendar.

HOW TO MEMORIZE TWO-DIGIT NUMBERS

Let's assume that you want to memorize the number of somebody's house. A friend of yours lives at number 74, but you are always knocking at 64 and 84. Translated into letters, 74 becomes GD, the French actor Gerard Depardieu. Imagine him sticking his sword through the letter box of your friend's house. (In all these examples, I am using well-known people from the list.)

Location is important. Always picture your person at the house you want to remember. You must also ensure that he or she is doing their appropriate action. This helps to link them to their location.

Let's assume another friend of yours lives at number. 79; 79 becomes the Egyptian ex-president Gamal Nasser (7 = G; 9 = N). Imagine him tying his camel up outside your friend's house.

Perhaps you want to remember the time trains leave your local station. If it is 8 minutes past the hour, imagine Oliver Hardy (0 = O, 8 = H) standing on the platform, turning around with a plank on his shoulder, sending passengers flying in all directions.

HOW TO MEMORIZE THREE-DIGIT NUMBERS

You are already equipped to remember three-digit numbers. All you have to do is break the number down into a pair of digits and a single digit. For example, 644 becomes 64 - 4. Translate the pair into a person: Sharron Davies (6 = S; 4 = D). And the single digit into a number shape: sailing boat (4). Combine the two and you have an image of Sharron Davies swimming alongside a sailing boat, trying to keep up. Now place this at a relevant location.

If you want to remember the number of a bus, the 295 for example, break it down into 29-5. This gives you an image of Barry Norman and a curtain hook. I would imagine him drawing curtains in a bus (parked at the bus stop) and showing a film.

HOW TO MEMORIZE TELEPHONE NUMBERS

Most telephone numbers in Britain now comprize ten digits. You have already learnt how to memorize two digits by creating an image of one person. It follows that if you want to remember four digits, you have to visualize two people.

But this would only make life half as easy. To memorize someone's telephone number, for example, you would have to visualize five people. Far too much like hard work!

I have stressed throughout this chapter how important it is to give each person an action: Eddie 'the Eagle' is always skiing; Stephane Grappelli is never without his violin. Actions are the key to remembering any number over three digits; they halve the amount of work you have to do.

FOUR, SIX, AND EIGHT DIGITS When you see the number 2914, the first stage is to break it down into 29 -

14, which translates into Barry Norman, and Arthur Daley. But there is no need to visualize them both. Use the first two digits to give you a person, the second two digits to give you an action.

Then combine them to create one image of Barry Norman selling second hand cars. Arthur is nowhere to be seen. You are interested only in his action, which is selling cars.

29 14

Barry Norman selling cars

(person action)

Similarly, if the number was 1429, you would visualize Arthur operating a film camera. Barry Norman would be out of shot completely. His spirit lives on, though, in the action of filming.

The first two digits always refer to the person, the second two digits to an action.

14 29

Arthur Daley filming

(person action)

All you are doing is alternating between person and action to create a complex image.

COMPLEX IMAGES

Complex images are an efficient way to memorize longer numbers; they condense them into a manageable size. If you have to remember a six-digit number, 122968 for example, break it down into 12 - 29 - 68, and then visualize Arthur Daley filming Sherlock Holmes (68 = SH = Sherlock Holmes.) I am simply continuing the process of alternating between person and action.

12 29 68

Arthur Daley filming Sherlock Holmes person action person

Taking the example a stage further, let's suppose you have to memorize 12296896. Break it down into 12 - 29 - 68 - 96. Then imagine Arthur Daley filming Sherlock Holmes playing chess (96 = NS = Nigel Short, the chess player).

12 29 68 96

Arthur Daley filming Sherlock Holmes playing chess person action person action

FIVE, SEVEN, AND NINE DIGITS

These numbers work in exacdy the same way, except that you have to incorporate a number shape into your complex image to remind you of the single digit. Take 12296, for example. Break this down into 12-29-6. Then imagine Arthur Daley filming an elephant.

12 29 6

Arthur Daley filming elephant's trunk person action number shape

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