In 2010, Alan Rusbridger, the editor of the Guardian, set himself an almost unimaginable task: to be informed, within the space of a year, Chopin’s Ballade No. 1 – a piece that inspires dread in many professional pianists. His timing could have been better., The next twelve months were to witness the Arab Spring, the Japanese tsunami, the English riots, and the Guardian’s breaking of both WikiLeaks and the News of the World hacking scandal. In the course of this he carved out twenty minutes’ practice a day – although that meant practising in a Libyan hotel in the course of a revolution in addition to gaining insights and advice from an array of legendary pianists, theorists, historians and neuroscientists, and even once in a while from secretaries of state. But used to be he ready to play the piece in time?