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Ben Elton writes Jefferson Airplane musical [Jan. 22nd, 2009|10:51 am]
Following on from the smash hit success of We Will Rock You and Tonight's The Night, Ben Elton has decided to adapt the music of the psychedelic art-rock band Jefferson Airplane in the new musical Somebody to Love.

As in We Will Rock You, where characters Scaramouche, Galileo Figaro and the Killer Queen take their names from lyrics, Elton has used the Airplane's brilliantly tangled, stream-of-consciousness meanderings and adapted them to serve the plot.  Thus Pooneil, a young man lost in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco 500 years in the future, is captured and experimented on by the evil scientist Dr. Lather.  He meets and falls in love with Alice, another of Dr. Lather's captives, while the good doctor is experimenting on them with size-altering pills that can make the user gigantic or tiny.

The pair then try to escape via a variety of ingenious but sadly physically impractical means, eventually settling on flying at an altitude of 39,000 feet in the aircraft of Captain High.  But it is revealed that Dr. Lather has had a tragic life, discovering at thirty that he is "no longer young".

Finally, all the characters are rejuvenated by knowing love in a sequence featuring most of the rest of the Airplane's songs and lasting nearly an hour, and take off in Captain High's jet to travel 3/5 of a mile in ten seconds.

The musical is a triumph of reordering songs until a plot can be vaguely discerned among the baffling, multicoloured, psychedelic undergrowth.  Elton truly has done it again.

Command-line preprocessing [Jan. 15th, 2009|03:19 pm]
I've got a program that I want to accept a series of filenames from the command line and process them all in the same fashion. I'm currently supplying it with "*.tex" as its filename argument, which I assumed the command-line would automatically expand to a list of files with the .tex extension. However, what happens is the program imports *.tex literally as an argument.

Is the windows shell supposed to behave this way? Do I need another layer of parsing for this?

I know I could do this with a script hack but I wrote the program to accept a filelist, I know a lot of programs do accept filelists, and to my mind this ought to work. What am I doing wrong?

Our music in a TV advertisement [Dec. 28th, 2008|12:58 am]
At the risk of becoming a shill for Right Move:

Why yes, that is our band playing.

I am grinning really rather hard right now.

My bass playing in TV advert. [Dec. 23rd, 2008|08:26 pm]
Some have accused me of using this space for boastage.  I have tended to accuse my accusers of being meanie-pegses, but in this case the criticism is entirely justified; however, I think, in this case, so is the boastage.

Tha David Goo Variety Band—that is the band I play bass for—have sold a song for a TV advert for Right Move.  This advert will first air on Boxing Day.

It will debut a bit after six am on Sky News, a horrible hour for anyone, but it will also be playing out at a quarter to six during Friends on E4, a quarter to eight (or nine) during Coronation Street, ten to nine during Crocodile Dundee on Channel Four, and A History Of Violence on Film Four (which I see as apt).

So, just to recap, in the middle of Coronation Street on Boxing Day, people will hear me play bass.


Merry Christmas!

General Crabtree's Guide to Global Thermonuclear Warfare [Nov. 25th, 2008|02:22 pm]
Since a lot of the people on my friends' list are thespy, it seemed a good idea to post this here:


I have written a short film script called General Crabtree's Guide to Global Thermonuclear Warfare.  Basically, is anyone interested in appearing?

The Battle of Billy's Pond [Nov. 10th, 2008|08:14 pm]
New song lyrics.

Do you remember the first day we went fishing in the pond?
Coming up the road at dawn, I met you there, my friend.
That was the summer we pledged a lifelong bond;
I remember the true belief we shared.

We were young, with only childish thoughts of right and wrong;
We believed the victors would be honest women and men.
When the call to fight came we gave battle brave and strong,
I still keep the oath you made me swear:
One for all and all for Billy's pond.

They came with bulldozers and crushed us into mud,
They knocked you down when you stood angry in their way,
I held your head up as your mouth filled up with blood—
I swear I'd never seen so red,

And as they drained the pond you simply stood there stunned
As one by one the lorries filled the hole with clay
And in the silent dusk I stood by you and wondered
What kind of darkness filled your head
And no light shone on Billy's pond.

And through the burning rage
Only stone and ash survived
And over time we aged
Each day a little less alive.
I said I did not mind;
That was a lie.

Do you remember the first day we went walking on the earth?
Coming up the road at dawn, I saw you there, my friend,
A shovel in your hand, beside a pile of dirt:
You dug so hard it made me scared.

That was the moment when I knew your solid worth,
Whatever happened, you'd keep digging till the end;
I took a shovel and I joined you in the struggle and we dug to end the curse:
We laughed when water met the air,
One for all and all for Billy's pond.

TeX TriXery [Nov. 6th, 2008|11:16 am]
Does anyone know if TeX supports floating point variable use? I want to make a graph display at different sizes without recourse to \magnification because that changes the font as well.

Template specialization [Oct. 14th, 2008|01:51 pm]

I want to specialize a template so that it adds one function to the standard template, but leaves all other functions the same. Basically it looks like:

template <class T> class aTemplate{


void somefunction();
void someotherfunction();

/* ... */


template <> class aTemplate<aTemplate<double>*>{

void somefunction(int overloaded);


I want someotherfunction to work without having to re-specify it!  Any ideas?


Synthesizer hospital [Oct. 13th, 2008|10:14 am]

My synth has a problem.  If a note isn't being played on the keyboard, the pitch droops within a couple of seconds ... the keyboard CV is basically being leached away somehow.  This didn't happen until I moved house so I suspect something's been jolted loose.  It's an ARP Odyssey.  Does anyone on here have experience of hacking an analogue synth, or better yet, a circuit diagram for this wonderful creature?

I fixed it.  There was a small piece of manky tape shorting the portamento slider to the casing, leaching away the control voltage.


Band names [Sep. 19th, 2008|02:12 pm]
I'm looking for a good band name to replace Fake Teak.  Any suggestions?

Euphony is valued above cleverness and it has to be something that could be unambiguously written down by most people after hearing it once (which is where Fake Teak is falling down, mainly).

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