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If my mobile phone had a voice it would sing res miranda, Latin for a wonderful thing, a miracle. You see, a pupil of mine has cleverly programmed the ring tone of my Nokia to play "There is no rose of such virtue, res miranda", a medieval sacred ditty. It's not a tune that a lot of people have on their mobiles, most people preferring the William Tell Overture or the lilting and meaningless la-las of Kylie's Can't get you out of my head.

But this is one-upmanship. Not only does my phone belt out a song the words of which are known only to medieval cognoscenti, but the music was composed by my daughter as part of her GCSE coursework.

The exam board prescribes that such pieces are played to an audience. Apart from its initiation at the school's carol concert, this piece has now been heard by many audiences nationwide, on trains and buses, in the middle of staff meetings, at the exact moment when Frodo first disappears in The Lord of the Rings, in fact, in all those annoying places where mobiles blurt out their ring tones.

I'm not sure it's what the exam board has in mind, and I think my daughter cringes a bit when she hears this rather reductive version of her three-part composition for unaccompanied chamber choir with its subtle harmonies and understated hallelujahs, but there you go. It gets it heard, finds it a platform, and that is what all creative endeavours flourish on and need, whether the performer is writing words, or music, making a tapestry or throwing a pot.

It's also delightfully anti-corporate. In the Eighties, according to an American professor of communications, people used to tear their jeans as a protest against the designer product and to assert their individuality. It was a Marxist struggle - people against corporations.

And so with mobiles, another example of conglomerates taking over the minds, hearts and conversations of the young, enslaving while pretending to liberate. No wonder they call them cell phones, they lock the users in one.

"Don't paint this phone", it says on the box. Why the heck not? Answer, it might do some electronic damage. I wonder. Isn't it just to make people buy another mass product, the silly plastic cover, in an attempt to be different? Go on, go for it kids. Get out the paints, tear your jeans, be original, make your ring tone your own, not something from a corporate hit parade.

Give me res miranda any day. It's a wonderful thing. I just can't get it out of my head.

Richard Hoyes teaches at Alton convent school, Hampshire

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