Posts from February 2007

Feb 07

Attempt At Punk Science Misses Punk Point

FT + Proven By SciencePost a comment • 492 views

HelloThe Hello Experiment on Lean Mean Fighting Machine is a grand stab at the kind of science we all wanted sorted out as a child. Could a blind woman make such a good clay bust of Lionel Richie, and could you do it in the time it takes to listen to “HELLO”? After all the archetype of the blind love-lorn sculptress is one which endures in our society, namely via Tom’s belov’d Fantastic Four comics and Alicia Masters. Notably though she tended to sculpt The Thing, claiming that she alone could see past his monstrous form and see the inner dignity inside. What she actually meant was a bloke made of orange rocks is easier to sculpt than anyone with a normal face.


it’s not exactly deep blue vs. kasparov

FT + Proven By Science + The Brown Wedge8 comments • 722 views

Much like those eminently satisfying reports of wine experts preferring £4 Sainsbury’s plonk in a blind taste test, Gramophone magazine finds that an obscure pianist who built a cult following on the back of an astonishing variety of accomplished performances in the years before her death actually just nicked the music off other people. Entire CDs, with track orders intact, were repackaged with her name. AND NOBODY FIGURED IT OUT until some dude stuck a CD into his iTunes, which automatically connected to the Compact Disk Database. The CDDB is a service which identifies CDs by their “fingerprint” – a crude system that looks at the exact length of tracks down to the millisecond, the number of tracks, and says “well this CD simply MUST be [x]”. In this case, it identified Joyce Hatto’s CD of Liszt’s 12 Transcendental Studies as being, well, Lászlo Simon’s CD of Liszt’s 12 Transcendental Studies. The archives were immediately checked and loads of Hatto’s stuff turned out to be by other people.

All of which immediately provokes two questions.

First, has classical music now reached a saturation point of recording when not even professionals have the ability to recognise identical versions of famous pieces?

Second, should these professionals perhaps stop putting us all on that they can distinguish the subtle nuance they say they can and do something more useful than complain about the “flat colouring” of the soprano section in the second act of a three-champagne opera?

Feb 07

your own private quatre bras

FT + The Brown Wedge/15 comments • 3,105 views

“[John Thelwall] also had the misfortune to be a mediocre poet — a crime which, although it is committed around us every day — historians and critics cannot forgive.” —E.P.Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class*

It was called The Battle of Waterloo, and it was one of the plays offered by J. K. Green’s Juvenile Drama: in other words as sheets of figures to cut out, colour and deploy, on little slides, in a miniature proscenium theatre you’d built yourself, from paper or card on a wooden frame.

toy theatreA miniature proscenium theatre like this features as a prop in the classic 70s version of The Railway Children — one of them is bedridden, the others put on a show for her, and the show is Waterloo.** It also features in Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous 1884 essay ‘A Penny Plain and Twopence Coloured


Climates? CHANGE!

Do You See3 comments • 631 views

iklimertestbaharsnow.jpgOh when will I ever learn? Do not go and see films described as elegiac, expressionistic or downright slow at the Renoir. After a surprisingly tiring day at work, a film where nothing much happens for long stretches in a very comfy and dark cinema is clearly an error. And yet drifting in and out of the land of nod is often the best way to see a film like this.


Pork Maths = Sausage Shocker

FT + Pumpkin Publog1 comment • 807 views

As we all know the square root of sausage is square sauasge! But what I didn’t know until today that an alias of square sausage was “Lorne sausage”! It certainly doesn’t say that on the packaging of my square sausage – which is charmingly shaped just like a sliced loaf of sausage and produced by Belchers. Genuine Scottish Square Sausage, it advertises on the side. At least 21% pork! Oh, happy memories of my childhood, eating square sausage in my friend L’s kitchen with chips and beans.

WELL CLEARLY MY CHILDHOOD LIES because I had the square sossidge with scrambled eggs and peas the other night and it was unpleasant! Don’t say I have become a meat snob!!

Clearly I am the one to fault anyway because I didn’t have it with chips and beans and fried bread and black pudding and and and and I’m afraid I have to go away now. But if you want square sausage yourselves – MORRISSONS. And whilst you are in the freezer aisle why not also pick up some Mr Brainses faggots? CRUMBS I’m hungry today… still – 12 slices left to go!

Great News For All Our Readers

FT9 comments • 596 views

Sentimentalist: a new column by me, for Pitchfork Media. The first one talks about music hall, audiences and singers, and expands on a couple of ideas from the Beatles entries in Popular.

Feb 07

IHM Lyrics Watch: The View – “Same Jeans”

FT + I Hate Music3 comments • 1,824 views

“I take my hat right off to the busker man”

There are two ways of viewing this lyric by unambitious bottom-feeders The View.


Pigs (Sausages) In Blankets (Bacon (Pig) / Biscuit (Dough))

FT + Pumpkin Publog5 comments • 2,143 views

Post Lollardry, the brief moment of inspiration re the anti-euphemism of Pigs In Blankets got some of our listeners texting in angrily. Namely that my pig in batter version was shot down in flames. So further scientific research happily proves that everyone is right. Namely that pigs in blankets in the UK is indeed a chipolata wrapped in bacon. But in the US, a battery dough is involved, hence ending up with the sausage roll ideal I mentioned. My source for this? Why Wikipedia of course.

And tune in next week to Wikipedia and the Lollards Of Pop (though Wikipedia does not confirm the other three signs of the Chinese zodiac discarded after the Rape Of Nanjing). And roll on April 24th: lets make the US National Pigs In Blanket day an international celebration.

Today is US National Chocolate Mint Day. Everybody grab an After Eight and celebrate.

I scream, you scream, we all scream….in horror!

FT + Pumpkin Publog9 comments • 1,097 views

Marmite Guinness This is apparently a limited edition of Guinness Marmite (or is that “Marmite – Guinness”?) available from 19 Feb 2007. Your exercise, dear reader, is to guess the Target Demographic. I personally have no idea.

Exercise 2: what do you spread this on?

“Have you no decency, man?”

FT + The Brown Wedge1 comment • 545 views

One of the top reads on the interwebs lately has been The Diary Of Ralph Dibny, even though it’s completely incomprehensible if you’re not a comics fan who’s been reading DC’s 52 series. The conceit of the comic is that it tells a year in ‘real time’, one week per weekly issue. Since it has a large cast and shifts the focus around, this leaves several characters with large chunks of unexplained downtime, and the blog – ghost-written by sometime FT writer Vic Fluro, aka my brother Al – fills this downtime (and goes well beyond that). Technically speaking, it’s fan fiction, but particularly caustic and very very funny fan fiction.

Things have now progressed to the point where the Diary blog has managed to ruin, or rather INCREDIBLY ENHANCE, the actual content of the comic for me.