Posts from 10th September 2008

Sep 08

I Know What It Means To Work Hadron Machines

Proven By Science6 comments • 239 views

With so much stuff whizzing around the internets, accelerating barely-humorous* claims of big bangs, and all-devouring black holes zapping around one way, and conspiracy nuts spiralling out of control going the other way and throwing out like actual death threats to physicists, what does the resulting explosion of uninformed daftness tell us about the small-scale fabric of culture itself? Follow the tracks of the memes as they galvanise those around them and work backwards to the source…

Pop cultural candidate #1 has to be Dan Brown’s ‘Angels and Demons’ which features a finished LHC (as did Brown imitating ‘Decipher’ by Stel Pavlou). I have not read it, but it sounds particularly bonkers — I look forward to the forthcoming film. CERN even have a page for A&D fans explaining the reality. But that (appears) to be largely about a large bomb — it’s not the source of end-of-world-ism.

It’s got a sort of negative echo of Y2K about it all — those who know that there is little (i.e nothing) to worry about, are actually going out of their way to stress that this is the case, as it might lose them funding. The Y2K fear and uncertainty was, by contrast, a great source of cash.

It also feels like — finally an end of the world i can relate to! A bang not a whimper! A Statham/Cage blockbuster firecracker of doomscience instead of the media drip-feed namby-pamby melting ice caps and ‘won’t someone think of the polar bears’ editorials. Like boiling frogs, we can only get agitated when the threat is instant but fictional, not incremental and more likely.


APC: “She’s A Lady”

FTPost a comment • 212 views

As Martin S pointed out on the “I Will Survive” comments thread, Pulp have borrowed both lyrics and hooks from this song, the latter in their epic His N Hers track “She’s A Lady” – which shares a theme as well as a partial chorus with “IWS”, though Jarvis’ crack-up and recovery is a lot more grubby and ambiguous than Gloria’s.

This version – recorded in 1992 for what I think is a French radio session – cranks up the intensity even further thanks to layers and layers of penetrating violin. It also, attentive Pulp fans will realise, switches the punchline at song’s end.

GLORIA GAYNOR – “I Will Survive”

FT + Popular33 comments • 5,787 views

#435, 17th March 1979

It’s not unusual for songs to become cultural fixtures, but it’s a little rarer for their emotional use to be so generally prescribed: “I Will Survive” is so ensconced as the go-to cry of defiance for the jilted girl that it feels more ubiquitous than it actually is. I can’t remember the last time I heard “I Will Survive” on the radio, or at karaoke, and it’s almost impossible to imagine it ever being used seriously on TV or in a film now. But none of that lessens its familiarity.


A Bite of Stars, a Slug of Time, and Thou – Episode 9

FT + Slug of Time Podcast17 comments • 1,121 views

We pick up with Pete Baran joining Mark Sinker and Elisha Sessions for “Zirn Left Unguarded, The Jenghik Palace in Flames, Jon Westerley Dead”, written in 1972 by Robert Sheckley, read here by Elisha. Music includes the Electro Hippies, Pere Ubu, DJ Rolando, and Marlene Deitrich. Originally broadcast Sept. 9, 2008, on Resonance FM 104.4.

Produced by Elisha Sessions