Archive for July, 2010

A34 Liberal Democrats

July 18th, 2010

What’s the deal with the Lib Dems and the A34? I ended up in a car going from Southampton back to Oxford today, and it’s just one well-known Lib Dem constituency after another — Eastleigh (Chris Huhne), Winchester (until recently, Mark Oaten), Newbury (until a little less recently, David Rendel), then OxWAb (until recently, Evan Harris)? Are there other roads like this that I ought to know about?

Summer Reading

July 14th, 2010

Go on, then: what are you all reading this Summer, and what do you recommend?

Honorary Degree: Harrison Birtwistle

July 14th, 2010

My goodness. Cambridge gave Harrison Birtwistle an honorary degree. Laudatio follows; translation over the fold.

artifex quondam ingenio fabrae artis celeberrimus carcerem inextricabilem aedificauit in quo reginae taurique progenies absconderetur. Daedalus, ut ait poeta,

ponit opus turbatque notas et lumina flexa
ducit in errorem uariarum ambage uiarum
.

nunc adstat Daedalus alter musicus, qui labyrinthum fecit non ut in latebris ageret Minotaurus, sed ut in scaenam produceretur. nunc adstat alter Naso, qui cuiusque aetatis fabellas enarrat: en prodit nunc gibber ille parricida cui nomen non minus quam nasum dedit pullus gallinaceus; iam temporis flumine refluente Orphea miramur iterum iterumque perire; iam cothurnis indutis regem magnum simiarum puellae alterius amore uix feliciore flagrare. operibus ingeniose factis ingeniose nomina imponit; et quis nostrum molis Cretensis non reminiscitur cum ille sua describit, aut cum audimus modos immutatos iterari duplicarique,

haud secus ac plateas necnon fora lata uiator
ambiguis lustrat gradibus repetitque petitque
cursus et cunctam peragrat pedis inscius urbem,
et nunc ad tectum, nunc ad loca uisa reuersus
illa recognoscit quae iam nouisse putabat
.

quod omnibus artificiis utatur quae recentioris aetatis ingenia produxerint, sunt qui uerum artis musicae iudicium sibi solis adrogantibus ea quae facit opera faciem haud minus immanem quam taurum Cnosium praebere iudicent. audire modo uellent! sed nec tamen qui Panos thorubo acclamabant eum exsibilare poterant, neque umquam haec uox singularis scit conticescere: ‘id quod possum facio,’ inquit. ‘nil est ultra.’

dignissime domine, Domine Cancellarie, et tota academia, praesento uobis Equitem Auratum inter Comites Honoratissimos adscriptum, Musices Regiae Academiae Sodalem, Collegi Regalis apud Londinienses in nomine Henrici Purcell Modos Faciendi Professorem Emeritum, HARRISON BIRTWISTLE, ut honoris causa habeat titulum gradus Doctoris in Musica.

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Reflections on a World Cup Final

July 12th, 2010

In matters of football
The fault of the Dutch
Is scoring too little
And fouling too much.

– With apologies to George Canning.

Absurd Feudal Aristocracy

July 9th, 2010

Is it a problem that both John Prescott and Bhikhu Parekh are Baron INSERT NAME HERE of Kingston-upon-Hull? Or does it make the crucial difference that I always see hyphens in the news reports for Prescott (Kingston-upon-Hull) but not for Parekh (Kingston upon Hull)? Ought they to have a fight, or something, to settle the matter of who is going to receive loyalty oaths from local vassals, or have the Kingston-upon-Hull serf population work from time to time on their estates? (I am reasonably confident that Prescott would win that fight.) Are there other examples of places with multiple peers attached? And do the locals mind this kind of duplication? Questions, questions.

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