Barry Manilow must have a phenomenal agent.
I'm not old enough to remember when he was a popular singer. The first time I heard his name, it was a punchline. And yet he's still performing, his records are still selling, and he can still make headlines.
His latest incarnation is as a sonic weapon. In Christchurch, a local business organisation has a plan to drive surly teens away from shopping areas by playing Barry Manilow at them. It's not a new idea. The Australians have been experimenting for years with the likes of him and Bing Crosby, and it looks like Manilow's indefatigable agent has persuaded someone that it's been a success.
Various business mouthpieces seem to like the idea. The local plod approves it. Central City Business Association manager Paul Lonsdale is evidently a Manilow fan: "You can create a nice environment by introducing nice music," he rashly told a reporter.
One Christchurch teen threatened retaliation. "We would just bring a stereo and play it louder", she promised - conjuring a Pythonesque image of escalating noise pollution, in which advertisers, buskers, youths, passing vikings and the Salvation Army contend to build a cacophony of Jerichoic proportions.
Of course there are laws against that, but it seems rather unfair that noise pollution ordinances can be deployed to keep J Random Teen's ghettoblaster to a lower limit than Mr Lonsdale's loudspeakers.
There is, I would think, a real likelihood that the cure will be worse than the disease - that a relentless diet of "O Mandy" will drive away more shoppers than loiterers, to say nothing of the impact on Christchurch's already-disturbing suicide rate.
But then, maybe it's just a plot to increase sales of MP3 players, to young and old alike.
Personally, I say: if you want teens to behave, forget Manilow, play them Bach. They'll still be standing about, talking (increasingly loudly) about how lame it is, but even while they're bitching, they'll be lulled into a well-tempered Germanic sense of calm.