January 28, 2004

I love you big dummy

I schlepped a PA system - speakers, mics, mixer, amp, leads - by foot, tube and train from NW5 to Oxford. Like an ant I negotiated the hazards of the English transport system. By the time I got into the Astrophysics department the wheels I'd bought to trolley the eqpt. - guaranteed for 5 years - were on their rims.
What could be more relaxing then than to attend a brown bag seminar. (A brown bag seminar is a seminar where you can bring a brown bag with food in it. Being held at lunch time it's a kind of kill two birds with one stone thing, whereby you get to listen to an interesting talk and don't have to pass up your lunch).
The subject was "Fluctuations in cosmology at large scales : a statistical physics perspective" and ran along at a brisk pace soon leaving me somewhere in its slipstream. Discussing a statistical way of looking at / looking for (?) fluctuations in the CMB I thought it might help me in my quest to extract sound from CMB data (see previous entries). It didn't but once I was well and truly lost I looked back through my note book and reread my CMB data to sound notes which oddly enough started to make more sense.
Things started to pile up : I had to look through 50 or more images so as to be able to help in the process of choosing which lucky ten would grace the walls. I had to go into town and sort some things and then go to the Ruskin and meet RW. Then go to a mystery second talk of the day with him, then rehearse.
Onwards . . . the mystery talk was Brian Catling : Arthur Worsley & the Uncanny Valley, the first of six lectures on ventriloquism. Wonderful.
By the time I got back to the department the list of images had arrived but there was no time to look through them, had to eat and then time for rehearsal . . . with Dan Hooper, Constantinos Skordis, Jo Dunkley and Lee Clewley aka The Outer Headingtons (thanks Marcia !) / The Oxford Pulsars / The Astrophysicists . . .
We set up our gear in the cafeteria, Dan and his Marshall stack, Constantinos and his slightly smaller Marshall combo, Jo and her cello, miced up via an improvised stand of the wheels laid over the trolley laden with dirty tea cups, Lee with his bongos and me with a mic and banjo.

Learned 4 songs, Mr Spaceman, Sputniks and Mutniks, Girlfriend stole my Alien and Shootin for the Moon. A glorious racket !
Finally got to start going through the images at 00.30 ish and finished about 2 hours later.

Posted by Jem Finer at January 28, 2004 9:15 PM