Posts from 17th February 2005

Feb 05

The Physics Detective Part Five — All Eyes on Pruszczyncki

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The Physics Detective Part Five — All Eyes on Pruszczyncki

Part five already, wow, unbelievable, how time flies, what drama, what action!!! (it’s hard enough trying to sell this story to the science folk I work with, so I’m overdoing the excitement rhetoric to cover up for the possibility that truly nobody cares about this murder mystery except for me)

Until now, the writing styles of the various authors had meshed together quite well, but this week I felt as though I was reading a completely different story. The other installments were part whodunnit mystery, part satire of the scientific community. This week I felt like I was reading the script of a 70’s cop show. Very formal, all business, no joking around.

Pruszczyncki now looks like a prime suspect (even moreso than she already did). Of course that means she had nothing to do with the murder. We’ve all read enough mysteries to know that the obvious suspect can’t possibly be the killer. That said, the details surrounding the negadex heist are just plain stupid. Granted, it’s not as troublesome as missing plutonium, but we’re supposed to believe the following:

a) Pruszczyncki honestly thought that none of her scientific peers knew about negadex.
b) Pruszczyncki told absolutely no one about her discovery (it’s a lab, not a WMD factory. Why the extreme secrecy? Surely any papers or patent applications would have been submitted during the last several months).

Now if a) and b) were true, then how could their negadex have possibly been stolen? Random burglars wouldn’t steal prisms from a lab, they’d steal computers and electronics. Obviously, the word was out because whoever was behind the theft must have been a scientist who knew about the existence of negadex and knew exactly what they were looking for. And Pruszczyncki would have realized this once she discovered that some negadex had been stolen.

So, the culprit is a laser expert, is well-versed about general optics (i.e. in the loop regarding negadex and aware of its possible uses), and hated Jaeger. LUDMILLA SHLOMIUKA FITS ALL THESE CRITERIA. DON’T MESS WITH HOT BLONDE RUSSIANS.

The Last Ever Club FT

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The Last Ever Club FT

will be next Thursday, 24th February, at the Chapel Bar in Islington. Guest DJs ‘The Spy’ and Ken C will be joining the regulars to mark the end of an era (well a year, which is a long time in shonky pop nights). We’re going to make it a good one – a few old favourites, a few new sounds, an opportunity to dance your socks off in the warming glow of the pointy pulpit poles one last time.

But hold on, you say, what’s all this “last” business?

Well. We’ve got an opportunity to move the club ‘up west’ as they say, i.e. right into the middle of central london, under the Polar Bear pub in Soho. The Chapel have been fantastic and supportive to the club, but we’ve been talking for ages about wanting to get somewhere more central and now we have the chance we’re going to take it. We’re booked in for a night in March and then we’ll see how it goes in terms of getting something more regular.

I’ll post something longer about the new place after next Thursday’s send-off to the Chapel. The first night is going to be a Club Popular, on the 24th March, and after that (fingers crossed) we’re going to launch the new night, Poptimism very much like the old night but with a name that doesn’t sound like a newspaper.

Also marking this changing of the guard will be a website redesign for FT, our first for 18 months or so. Gasp!

For now, though, just look forward to next week’s emotional pop farewell to Islington. THURSDAY 24TH FEBRUARY. THE CHAPEL BAR, ISLINGTON. 7-12. FREE ENTRY. POP.

My parents can be a touch impatient

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My parents can be a touch impatient when it comes to television. Given the full range of Sky Channels which can be cycled through in about the time that it takes for you to forget what was on the first one, I rarely expect to see a whole film all the way through. Let alone a subtitled one. Yet last Thursday I sat and watched Almodovar’s Talk to Her with them. They loved it. A timely reminder not to underestimate ones parents, or indeed the power of a very accessible film. Its play with its moral subjects (discussed at some length on this classic Ilx thread) contrasted rather well with the episode of Judge John Deed on just before it.
JJD was flogging an EVIL CORPORATION vs DEFORMED CHILD story within which the bad guys were more than clear from the off. Nevertheless the makers of JJD, knowing how much the British punter favours EVIL CORPORATIONS over DEFORMED CHILLEN felt we would only be swayed if they showed us said spinal bifidad, one eyed, squashed faced child. Which put them in a quandary because even the child actor section of equity was relatively empty of the kind of super deformed child they needed to make their point.

Cue a very bad one second shot of digitally manipulated photo of baby which looked a bit like this photo of me. Compare that to Talk to Me’s eight minute silent movie interlude representing the rape of a girl in persistent vegetative state and you cannot help notice a difference in sophistication

Is this:

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Is this:
a)A fantastic photo of an unplanned solar eclipse of the sun
b) A fantastic graphical example of why you should never, ever, ever stare into the sun.

(Huzzah for cameras so cheap that you have no viewfinder and therefore accidentally take shots like this without blinding yourself).


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Apologies for the delayed results on this, which if your memories stretch back two weeks involved a match-up between The Paragons’ “Tide Is High”, Blondie’s cover, and Atomic Kitten’s expansion on same “The Tide Is High (Get The Feeling)”. Feeding three records into the Poptimizer is no easy task.

The most interesting thing about the feedback on this was how little delight a lot of people take in any of the versions of “The Tide Is High”. Why might this be? Perhaps there’s a contradiction between the slow rhythms of the romantic long game and the passion and heat we expect from pop: the mating strategy “The Tide Is High” recommends is waiting passively until “it’s my turn”. There’s something smug about that kind of passivity – assuming your intended will make plenty of mistakes before turning to you is hardly complimentary. To either party. The Paragons’ version, pretty though its violin is, has a woeful air which bolsters this impression of general wetness. (And where exactly does the tide come into it, anyway?)

Blondie at least sound like they have the self-belief to play the waiting game, rather than just treating it as the easiest option, so we’re left with the question – what does Atomic Kitten’s “Get The Feeling” interpolation add to the song? Some justification perhaps – if this person’s worth waiting for, there has to be a reason.

The crucial line in Atomic Kitten’s song is “A moment’s pain for a lifetime’s pleasure”. Assuming this isn’t just lifted from an unfinished song about piercings, this changes the context of “Tide” by truncating the waiting period dramatically. The song is now about a ‘moment’ – of decision, perhaps? This fits the Kittens’ song into an early 00s context – Blind Date, Big Brother, Reality TV in general.

“Get The Feeling” also completes the de-reggaeification of the song, breaking through the rhythm, asserting the Kittens’ difference. So it wins, right? No – for all that “GTF” adds to the song, the stitching between sections is botched, it feels like a poor quality mash-up. After much deliberation, the Poptimizer reluctantly settles on Blondie, passivity and all.

Shock defeat for fun

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Shock defeat for fun

(Caution: tenuous sporting link.)

UNIT FOUR PLUS TWO – “Concrete And Clay”

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#191, 10th April 1965

A love that will outlast not just the works of man, but mountains and time itself – how is a spindly pop song expected to contain it? The guitars realise as much and their attractively sudden runs and spikes feel like breaks for freedom. The rhythm, bumping away in the background like a cyclist down a cobbled road, is more stoical. The contrast illuminates an otherwise drab lyric. Enjoyably low-key.