THE usually straitlaced and straight-faced British Medical Journal (or bmj, as our increasingly initials-happy and capital letter-averse world would have it) lightened up a little this week.

Devoted normally to high-minded medical matters, its Christmas 2014 editorial contained a piece on the pros and cons of music in the operating theatre, accompanied by a playlist and a definitely-don't-playlist.

The article, penned by Gwent-based surgical registrar David Bosanquet and former colleagues from the University Hospital for Wales in Cardiff, James Glasbey and Raphael Chavez, gave examples of the links between music and medicine through the ages, and evidence of the beneficial effects of music on patients and on those treating them.

Music in the operating theatre is a commonplace occurrence these days, albeit its deployment depends on the circumstances.

Classical music apparently, is the most popular music of choice, perhaps not surprising given that much of it does not involve lyrics, thus removing the possibility of a gowned and masked consultant suddenly breaking into song as the patient slips into unconsciousness.

Fortunately, I have not had to undergo an operation under general anaesthetic since I was teenager, and that was so long ago I cannot remember the moments prior to my being anaesthetised.

I do however, carry an indelible memory of the moments after coming around. Top Of The Pops was on the telly and The Stranglers came on, miming ineptly to their hit of the day, No More Heroes.

Punk was my musical epiphany if you will, so that moment has stuck in my mind, but I have wondered since whether that was merely a happy coincidence, or whether the actual song I first heard upon regaining consciousness was so awful, I have repressed the memory.

This, I have come to the conclusion, is entirely possible.

For though The Stranglers, and The Adverts (the classic Gary Gilmour's Eyes, pop kids) were in the charts at that time, they were outnumbered by almost unspeakable horrors.

I also have a Top Of The Pops memory from that same hospital bed, of David Soul dodgily crooning his number one smash hit(!) Silver Lady in a cheap video, close-ups of his well-worn face interspersed with slow motion waves crashing onto an impossibly sun-kissed Californian beach.

Maybe that was the tune I awoke to? Ugh.

Or it may have been wibbly prog-rock titans Yes, whose monumentally awful Wondrous Stories had somehow sold enough copies to merit an airing.

How about Baccara? A Spanish (I think) female duo, the mere thought of whose Yes Sir, I Can Boogie can chill me to the bone even now, 37 years later?

Leo Sayer, The Dooleys, Elkie Brooks and Jean-Michel Jarre were also amongst the chart botherers of the period, residual memories of whose performances I still carry. Could it have been one of these?

A close-to-bursting appendix followed by a post-op infection kept me in hospital for three weeks, so I had plenty of time to absorb performances by all of these during my stay.

So understandably, The Stranglers' ode to Leon Trotsky and other revolutionaries has imprinted itself as my retrospectively preferred waking up tune of choice.

Dr Bosanquet's article helpfully lists some songs that should not be played in an operating theatre, such as Queen's Another One Bites The Dust, REM's Everybody Hurts, and Radiohead's Knives Out, though I have to admit that if the latter came on as I was drifting off, I wouldn't be offended.

This no-no list seems to have been compiled on a 'don't tempt fate' basis, but surely, in such surroundings, it is the tempo of the music that should be chosen carefully.

I would be much more concerned for instance, if I nodded off to the sound of some thumping techno dancefloor-filler, or furious thrash metal epic, something that might inadvertently and unnecessarily speed things up.

That sort of soundtrack really would be inappropriate, and rules barring such things ought to be established, in much the same way as I have formulated the following rule after a nasty burn incident - never NEVER listen to Queens of the Stone Age whilst doing your ironing.

There I was, growling and er, dancing, along to No-One Knows and before I knew it, I'd ironed a thumb instead of a shirtsleeve.

Thankfullly I'm not a Slayer fan, or I might have required some plastic surgery to repair the damage - and imagine if I was drifting off and a Metallica 'classic' came roaring from the speakers?

On second thoughts, bring back David Soul.