Memory can be a fickle beast. Forget to do the washing up, but remember when someone owes you money. Remember to pack your iPod speakers, but forget your passport. But remembering the milk is one thing, recalling 400 random words to reel off in front of judges is quite another. That’s right, memories are well and truly put to the test in the World Memory Championships. Bringing together the toughest competitors in this ‘sport’ that was invented in 1991 by Mind Maps inventor Tony Buzan and chess grandmaster, Raymond Keene.

But rather than salute their stunning feats of recall, we thought we’d pay tribute to those at the other end of the scale, yes that’s right, the most memorable cases of memory loss.


Pat Martino relearns the guitar

As if becoming a professional musician at the age of 15 and learning to be one of the world’s finest jazz guitarists wasn’t tough enough, Pat Martino had to do it all over again after surgery for a serious brain aneurysm in 1980 left him suffering amnesia, which included forgetting the guitar skills which made him so renowned. Impressively, with the help of loved ones, he re-learned his beloved instrument and is still going strong performing and recording today.


Harold Bishop cheats death

Good old ‘jelly belly’ and cult hero Harold Bishop was shoehorned back into Aussie soap Neighbours thanks to a good ol’ memory loss storyline helping to explain his lengthy absence. For Ramsay Street residents and his other half Madge, it was as if he had risen from the dead, as he was last seen on top of a rock by the sea before apparently falling in and drowning. Fortunately, he washed up in Tasmania with no recollection of his previous life until he was spotted by a friendly neighbour.


Memorable sex, forgettable day

Now some sexual experiences are eminently forgettable. Some are so booze-sozzled that the whole event seems rather hazy. But it is not often that sex makes you forget everything that happened on the day before you jumped into the sack. According to, a 54-year-old woman in Washington admitted herself to hospital after forgetting the previous 24-hours, with the memory loss kicking in after sex with her husband. The cause was a rare and temporary condition called ‘global amnesia’.


The Hangover inspires a generation

We’ve all been there, you wake up after a few jars too many and your memory is all a bit hazy and there’s a tiger in your bathroom, baby, in your wardrobe and you’re missing a tooth. Ok, maybe not those last bits, but the wild antics of the ultimate stag-do in Vegas certainly rang true when The Hangover was released. Alan slipping some Rohypnol into everyone's drinks certainly played a part in the missing pieces. And yet it still made hordes of men around the world want to fly straight to Vegas.


Something fishy’s going on here

Dory in Finding Nemo was a source of endless frustration for her fishy friends and endless laughs for the audience with her scatty antics leading her to forget where she is, where’s she’s going and who she’s with. And hilarity ensues. But it’s not just for comic effect, according to, “it accurately reflects the difficulties faced by amnesic patients and those who know them.” Just without the living underwater bit, that’s unrelated.


David Cameron forgets his own daughter

It must have been a stressful job, being in charge of the country and all that, so you could have forgiven David Cameron for being a little forgetful. After all, we’ve all forgotten things after a session down the boozer. Leaving your keys, phone or wallet behind might be understandable, but forgetting to take your eight-year-old daughter with you? That’s taking it to a new level.