Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Traffic, maths and Handel

FAST + SLOW = BANG! We were bedevilled by road safety signs during our trip to the Peak District but excess didn’t end there. On a ten-mile stretch south of Leek there are three dozen speed cameras. One small village was monitored by three pairs. This has the desired effect and traffic adheres to the limits.

Yet local drivers will have sussed it all out. Such cameras cost £50,000 and no local authority could afford that investment so many must be empty boxes. Use the road regularly and you get to know which are which – and speed accordingly. Crashes between speeding locals and slow-moving foreigners have no doubt become a spectator sport.

HAND-HOLD GUIDE No prizes for guessing why I responded to this from the Oppenheimer biography; “Weinberg… observed that mathematical formulas were like temporary hand-holds for a rock-climber. Each hand-hold more or less dictates the position of the next hand-hold… ‘A record of that is a record of a particular climb. It gives you very little of the shape of the rock’.”

LIFT UP YOUR EARS Saw a different version of Messiah at the weekend: Harry Christophers and the Sixteen - a handful of period instruments and a tiny (18 members) choir, albeit all professional, singing with passion, clarity and power. For those unfamiliar with live performances of this work there is a British tradition of standing up during the Hallelujah chorus, the reason being too tedious to recount. Mrs BB and I are dubious about this but, moved by the performance, we joined in - to be rewarded by a significant improvement in the sound quality. Who can understand or prescribe the so-called science of acoustics?