Friday, 25 November 2022

7x7 (10. 334)

 the winnowing oar: an itinerant floating city in the Pangeos Terayacht and other mega projects from Saudi Arabia—via Things Magazine  

mรถnitรถr nรธn: previously unheard audio from the first gigs of British rock band The Fall  

imperial isolate: gold coin in a museum cupboard proves existence of Sponsian, an emperor heretofore dismissed as fake—via Digg  

artificial gravity: spinning spacecraft don’t supply a wholly satisfactory solution to the effects of zero-g for human anatomy 

purple tomato: an anthocyanin-rich vegetable is a heuristic for exploring the distinction between genetic modification and selective-breeding—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

feed-back loop: schema for artificial neural networks from the 1940s up to the present—via Web Curios   

anyox: an abandoned copper mining operation in British Columbia is Canada’s largest ghost town

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

thunderbolts and lightning, very, very frightening me (10. 328)

Beginning on this day in 1975 and lasting for nine weeks, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, the six-minute, multi-part musical suite referred by author Freddie Mercury as a “mock opera” released as a lead single (B-side, “I’m in Love with My Car”) from their studio album A Night at the Opera hit the top of UK’s charts. For the promotional video—credited with spurring on the complementary medium—and for the band’s UK tour, Mercury played on a Bechstein concert grand piano, which was—according to lore—the same one that Paul McCartney used for recording “Hey Jude” and David Bowie’s “Hunky Dory.”

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

everybody's got something to hide except me and my monkey (10. 326)

The plain white sleeve in contrast to the band’s previous record with its layered artwork, the eponymous double album with its wide and fragmented range of genres, The Beatles, was released on this day in 1968. Composed chiefly during a transcendental mediation retreat in India, many of the tracks were drafted with an acoustic guitar—the only Western-style instrument available to the group then—and retained this origin in the final recording. Typical of those session, “Dear Prudence” was written about Prudence Anne Villiers Farrow Bruns (Mia’s sister) whom was committed to the TM practise and rarely left her room.

Friday, 18 November 2022

7x7 (10. 314)

umwelt: a short video to compliment Ed Yong’s exploration of animal cognition—previously 

what9whos: a proprietary geocode system based on the names of the actors who’ve portrayed the Doctor from Gallifrey 

lexical lists: the index, the listicle are the oldest forms of narrative  

commit to being extremely hardcore: the Twitter exodus continues  

speaker of the house: after two decades of party leadership in the lower chamber, Nancy Pelosi is stepping down 

chart-topper: a collector has amassed every single number one single in the UK—see previously  

mockingbird: you’ve likely been fooled by an avian friend––see also

Monday, 14 November 2022

rock inky (10. 302)

Founded in March of the same year (first weekly pictured) and delightfully referred to as the titular class of publications, the circular, the New Musical Express (NME) first started its singles chart on this day’s edition in 1952, the first British newspaper to do so, following the model of the US magazine Billboard. Listing the top twelve, the first number one hit was Al Martino’s “Here in My Heart,” which held the top spot for nine consecutive weeks—a record not broken until Bryan Adam’s ballad for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in 1991. Associated with gonzo journalism particularly during the mid-1970s and its coverage of the rise of the punk genre, the label went on to report on film, television, gaming and pop culture before folding its print enterprise in 2018 and becoming an online magazine.

Saturday, 12 November 2022

abfab (10. 298)

The BBC2 sitcom based on the comedy duo French and Saunders singular sketch “Modern Mother and Daughter” (originally Adriana and Saffron) had its broadcast premiere on this day in 1992 with the pilot episode “Fashion.” The premise of the series (previously) follows the misadventures of two co-dependent career women of the London life-style and trend-setting scene who direct considerable time and financial resources to recapture their idealised self-images as swinging Mods, influential and indulgent and garnered an immediate and enduring cult following.

Tuesday, 1 November 2022

woty: permacrisis (10. 262)

Collins Dictionary has declared its word of the year with the neologism that summarises the truly rotten experience of 2022 has been for many with the war in Ukraine, UK political chaos, the possibility of a resurgent pandemic and global economic instability, beating out other contenders from the past twelve months to include Partygate, sportswashing, splooting and quiet quitting.

Friday, 21 October 2022

7x7 (10. 242)

lettuce rejoice: a bit of highly monitored produce outlasts the prime minister 

cincinattus: the real and fraught possibility that Boris Johnson could be brought back as the Tory leader

jazz swing and joy wheel: revisiting the playground and its antique architecture—via tmn  

hive mind: how studying the decision making approach of bumble bees can lend insights into the mechanics of human memory  

on pointe: ballet dancers caring for the tools of the trade  

not another experiment: UK opposition political parties call for a General Election 

every inch of you: a punny produce display

Thursday, 20 October 2022

untenured (10. 241)

Holding office for a tumultuous forty-five days (the shortest of the United Kingdom’s sixty-eight) though spanning two monarchs and some cabinet reshuffling, Liz Truss resigned as prime minister after a week marked by market crashes, an exodus of deputies and general lack of confidence in her leadership abilities built momentum for a general election. This collapsed government that upheld the conservative, Tory party totems of Brexit and austerity speaks to the abject failure of such regressive, nihilist politics that are out-of-step and untethered from the electorate. The party will choose a new prime minister by 28 October but does not preclude a Labour government being established.

Tuesday, 18 October 2022

the beeb (10. 234)

Just over two years after the first live public broadcast, sponsored by the Daily Mail and hosted by Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Company and featuring a performance by Australian soprano Dame Nellie Melba (of toast fame) captured the public imagination with the possibilities of this new technology—despite a distinct disdain for such frivolities and the potential to impede other more official or newsworthy communication on the part of the government, the General Post Office, the licensing authority, was overwhelmed with over a hundred requests to establish radio stations. Eager to not follow the same career into chaos as with the largely unregulated expansion of the radio network in the United States, officials proposed the issuance of a single license jointly owned by the leading wireless receiver manufacturers. The British Broadcasting Company Ltd was founded on this day in 1922, its centenary, by John Reith as its general manager, with the abiding directive to “inform, educate and entertain.” On New Year’s Eve 1926, the commercial enterprise was dissolved and reconstituted as the crown-chartered British Broadcasting Corporation.

Saturday, 15 October 2022

monkey pack him rizla pon the sweet dep line (10. 226)

After topping the charts in the UK, UB40’s cover version of the 1967 Neil Diamond song reached number one in the US on this day in 1988, employing a lighter reggae-style in contrast to the somber ballad of Diamond—whom the group’s lead vocalist, Astro, only familiar with another version by Tony Tribe assumed the song credit went to a Jamaican performer called Negus Diamond. The latter very much enjoys this tribute variant and performs in the style of UB40 rather than his own.

Friday, 14 October 2022

save it for later (10. 224)

Released as the lead single from the ska, jangle pop group’s third and final studio album (premiering this month in 1982) Special Beat Service, the song is one of the Beat’s (known in Canada and the US as the English Beat) most popular and enduring tracks, thanks to a catchy and unique chord progression by guitarist Dave Wakeling. The music video is really quite something as well. Run away, run away and let me down.

Saturday, 8 October 2022

the power generation (10. 204)

In the face of more energy austerity and with the prospects of a long, cold winter for many and the prospect of rolling blackouts, we were quite elated to be directed towards arguably one of the greatest cross-overs of all time, this circa 1990 advert where National Power and Powergen use a high production value Star Trek (a famously post-scarcity society) short to flog shares in symphony with the move to privatise the UK electricity market. More at Dirty Feed at the link above.

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

7x7 (10. 195)

also sprach zarathustra: Raquel Welch dances to a disco-funk version of the Strauss classic 

information overload: a survey of pictorial statistics’ evolution to the infographic  

great chain of being: Evard d’Espinque illustrates the fifteenth century De Proprietatibus Rerum 

this lady is for turning: after precipitating markets instability and provoking decent from within the party, the Prime Minister and Chancellor walk back unfunded tax cuts for the rich  

fancy dress party: Jane Asher’s book of costumes  

search engine: glean answers to queries from passages in literature, conversation rather than Google Search—via Swiss Miss  

phone a friend: 1-900 hotlines in the United States 

daisy, daisy—give me your answer, do: witnessing a demonstration of the IBM 704 in 1961 inspired Arthur C Clarke

telstar (10. 194)

Primarily a session band playing as backup for many Decca productions, the English electronic and instrumental group The Tornados had several hits in their own right to include the single named after the communication satellite launched in July, that climbed to the top of UK charts on this day in 1962 and would go on to be the first single to reach number one in the US as well. Futuristic-sounding even by contemporary standards, it features the talents of Clem Cattini, Alan Caddy, Roger LaVern, George Bellamy and Heinz Burt on bass. The group disbanded by the middle of the decade with their final track, a B-side, “Do You Come Here Often?,” widely considered to be the first openly gay song put out by any label. Below, appropriate for International Space Week, is the original scopitone video.

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

7x7 (10. 176)

moonage daydream: an interview with Brett Morgen on the subject of his latest documentary—see previously 

rupture: Nordstream pipelines have sprung a leak, sabotage suspected 

afforestation: a volcanic eruption is helping to rewild island  

eyewall: Hurricane Ian’s path of destruction as it reaches Florida 

omnishambles: the budget plan of PM Truss and Chancellor Kwarteng garners rebuke from Germany, the US and the IMF as the Pound Sterling approaches parity with the dollar  

mahsa: the death of a young woman in the custody of Iran’s morality police has touched off protests against the government  

let all the children boogie: an Australian museum brought the original hand-written draft of David Bowie’s Starman at auction

Monday, 19 September 2022

last post

Whereas the B♭ version might be more familiar, the E♭ variation is employed by the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry and the particular flourish was acquired by British troops garrisoned in the Netherlands (see also), drawing on an older Dutch custom called taptoe—root of a military tattoo or send-off and the North American version of “taps”—signalling the end of the duty day, the solemnity of the taptoe itself adopted as an extension of last call, Doe den tap toe—a reminder to make sure that the beer spigots were closed before shutting down for the evening. More coverage of the historic state funeral, including this ceremony, from the BBC and the Guardian

Friday, 16 September 2022

hounds of love (10. 138)

Including the lead single “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)” and a comeback after her less successful previous album from three years earlier, Kate Bush’s fifth studio album was released on this day in 1985. Considered by some fans and critics to be her best work, it has been the recipient of contemporary and retrospective acclaim and a certified double-platinum record. A promotional twenty-minute-long laserdisc with four music videos, called The Hair of the Hound, was issued as well.

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

i have conjured a lily to light these hours, a token of thanks (10. 129)

In his second poem dedicated to the Queen this year, Poet Laureate Simon Armitage (previously) has penned two verses to mark her passing, Floral Tributesee also—whose lines are a double acrostic that spell out her name. 

Evening will come, however determined the late afternoon,
Limes and oaks in their last green flush, pearled in September mist.
I have conjured a lily to light these hours, a token of thanks,

Zones and auras of soft glare framing the brilliant globes.
A promise made and kept for life – that was your gift –
Because of which, here is a gift in return, glovewort to some,
Each shining bonnet guarded by stern lance-like leaves.
The country loaded its whole self into your slender hands,
Hands that can rest, now, relieved of a century’s weight. 

Evening has come.
Rain on the black lochs and dark Munros.
Lily of the Valley, a namesake almost, a favourite flower
Interlaced with your famous bouquets, the restrained
Zeal and forceful grace of its lanterns, each inflorescence
A silent bell disguising a singular voice. A blurred new day
Breaks uncrowned on remote peaks and public parks, and
Everything turns on these luminous petals and deep roots,
This lily that thrives between spire and tree, whose brightness
Holds and glows beyond the life and border of its bloom.

Saturday, 10 September 2022

queen bee (10. 023)

Beekeeper Royal John Chapple reportedly has informed the hives that Elizabeth II has passed on and to be loyal and productive for her Majesty’s successor as part of a broader custom of telling the bees. Black ribbons were placed on the structures to let the million subjects (see also about the bees’ own royal fanfare) know of their new allegiance to a figure once ridiculed for talking to plants. It cannot be a bad courtesy to take the otherwise preparatory measures of “telling the bees” for good and wise council.