Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Some IMPERTINENT SCOUNDREL sent this to MY Beloved. When I catch the blighter, I'll horsewhip him on the steps of his club.
Some hold that Maths is dry as dust
And bar it from their home
Yet it encodes the Vernal lust
That drove me to this pome

For aching years my wayward heart
Has followed yours unbidden
But Google this and I'll impart
Our truth in plain sight hidden

sqrt(6-x^2), (sqrt(cos(x))*cos(300x)+sqrt(abs(x))-0.7)*(4-x*x)^0.01, -sqrt(6-x^2) from -4.5 to 4.5
( Hat tip for the formula to Mike Smith, the Human Squid, who may be a dippy arts graduate, but whose inky tentacles are EVERYWHERE. I'll see you at the Diogenes Club, Mike!)

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I rather like these.

A clean, grown up response to the name calling between The Big Bad Buggy-Whip Cartels and the Freeloading Pirates Who Don't Care About the Struggling Artists.

Can Mark's one man campaign win the hearts and minds of the mass of consumers? Maybe. I think many of us are aware of the arguments and ready so support a clear, simple signal. This could be it.

There is another problem, though. Assuming that my heart and mind have been won, how do I know whether a file I find on the internet has been stolen?

If it's on one of the big sharing sites such as YouTube, I assume that any creator will be searching that periodically and taking down anything they don't want shared. So the old Monty Python clip seems to me to be fair game.

But what about this pretty Gif shared on Google+?

Alert reader Keiran Conlan commented:

Kieran Conlon  -  +Janet HAL I think that you really should be more careful about what images, gifs and clips that you are sharing. This gif is taken directly from a video clip produced by Lockheed Martin and the UK Ministry of Defence. I know for a fact that the original clip of this C-130 deploying flares was marked as "Crown Copyright", meaning that the image is owned by the UK Government. If you are going to share some body else's work you should give credit when you post.
Fair enough. But if I were in Janet's position, hoovering up pretty things on the interweb, giffing them and then gifting them (ba boom!) to her circles, how would I know whom to credit? If I make a video search for military planes dropping flares, I get a handful of similar videos, none with any attribution. Should I simply reward a potential pirate by attributing the site I got it from?

In this case, I wouldn't be too concerned: this clip or something very like it has been out on YouTube for two and a half years: ample time for Lockheed Martin to find it and have it taken down.

But in general, I am not aware of any practical way to check whether an image is made freely available by the creator. It would be nice to have a library of protected images (or other work) that you could check against. So serious artists and craftists could have somewhere to register that they need to be paid for that piece of work. (Possibly even a payment process.)

In the meantime, Mark, perhaps the Copylike team could give some thought to some simple guidelines for the responsible audience to which you are appealing? Perhaps another postcard for each medium?

What do you, dear reader, do to make sure you aren't exploiting the Struggling Artist?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Come together

So, step 1 in the plan for world domination is out. It's no longer Google+ vs Facebook: it's Google vs Facebook.

The game's afoot.

I particularly like the elevation of Blogger to the dropdown (toolbar would have been nice) and the easy sharing of blog posts in Google+. I use dlvr.it to auto-forward my Google+ posts to my long suffering facebook and twitter chums and followers.

So perhaps the blog will come back into action after a long fallow period when all my attention went into facetious one-liners in Facebook and twitter. We shall see.

And I forecast a cornucopia of goodness for the LSFATCAFs:
Thoughts, anyone?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Going Home

I blame Cathy Laney, Sprog3's flute teacher.

At the start of several years’ hard labour dinning a basic competence in the flute into Sprog3, Ms Laney invested a few minutes drilling the essentials of ¾ time by waltzing parents and children round the room and setting a simple puzzle as homework. The tots were to identify pop songs in ¾ time.

This was always doomed to failure, since:

  1. All homework is by definition uninteresting and 
  2. All pop songs are set in ¼. And a maximum of three chords. Bah I don’t understand why their time and money on such utter tosh. Mumble splutter.

But the puzzle piqued something deep in my subconscious, which I have never been able to shake off. So every so often (usually listening to Radio 2) my Pop Waltz neuron fires me a tiny happy jolt.

Fortunately I was acquainted with a depressive female student at university. So it follows that I came into contact with Canadian Chansonnier Cohen, whom I may have mentioned once or twice before. And he does a LOT of lilting ballads, so I was reminded of him when we began casting around for waltzes.

Which is a rather roundabout way of saying that I tend to prick up my ears when I hear news of him.

So, anyway, I was looking up transport to my godfather’s funeral when Cory Doctorow tweeted a review and complete stream of the new album, Old Ideas. The first track, Going Home, sets out how the creator keeps the performer on a tight leash. And, how they’re going home now. Beyond the curtain. I'm not ashamed to say that, at this moment, this brought forth the manly tear.

Good tune, too.

I was not close to my godfather for many years: certainly not close enough to say whether he was driven by such an internal dialogue. With a nip and a tuck, the words (hope you have been paying attention and following the links?) fit him pretty well. He was certainly “a sportsman and a shepherd”.  He had a mischievous sense of fun that complemented his calling as a vicar of the church, spending his working life “living in a suit”. (I don’t believe he was a “lazy bastard”).He was proudest of the work that he did in his last job, done one on one, comforting the sick and dying as a hospital chaplain.

I rather suspect that, in public, he did say what a higher power told him. 

He was the kindest, gentlest man I ever knew. 

I have two clear memories of him. He took me to “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” in a fleapit in Edinburgh and, some years later, sold me his Lada. Now, the Lada is NOT generally considered very high up the list of desirable motors, and OHMSS IS generally considered the worst Bond film ever made (even after some stiff competition from some of Roger Moore’s later offerings). But I have fond memories of both. He was one of those people who invest every transaction with a rosy glow of warmth and goodwill.

I’d like to think that the dit higher power also loves to speak with him and has welcomed him home.

Slight rewrite:
Coming home
Without his sorrow
Coming home
Some time tomorrow
Coming home
To where it’s better than before

Coming home
Without his burden
Coming home
Behind the curtain
Coming home
Without the costume that he wore

RIP John Nicholas Chubb