April 27th, 2006

Fishy Circumstances


For the second time this month, it looks as if I have 12 hours of missing email. Certainly no LJ comments from around 6pm until this morning arrived and the lack of spam from the same period clinches it. If you emailed me last night or first thing this morning, please send again?

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I spent my morning with houseguest aquitaineq. Now for taxes, writing, and other useful things. Wolves in the Walls tonight!

Also, I now have a backlog of four restaurants to write about. How have I managed to be too busy to do that?
Fishy Circumstances

Interview questions from easterbunny

Why did you specialize in medieval science and technology development? (I'm sure I haven't phrased that quite right, but rearrange appropriately to suit.) Which came first - the interest in medievalism or sci / tech development?

As an undergrad, I majored in medieval studies (because it allowed me to dabble all across the humanities, as long as the courses were set in the right thousand years) and minored in computer science (which let me pursue some math and more linguistics, as well as fun with AI). Studying what people thought about the weather in the Middle Ages as part of my York degree was what led me to the discovery that there was such a field as history of science.

I am obstinate about committing to a discipline, and this was how it all manifested. I am a historian, and happily so, but I use large quantities of art historical and literary material in my work, and I get to study the development of all the sciences along the way. In a way, I ended up pursuing this route as a way of letting me do all of it, all the time.

Why the Middle Ages in particular? I can give you fuzzy answers. It's a time period of my very own, which no one else in my family works on. (My father specializes in the Renaissance; my mother's done work in the Renaissance up through modern art history.) It's the inspiration for a whole lot of fantasy literature, to which I was drawn at an early age. And then, when I got to college, there was no better way to be an interdisciplinary dabbler.

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In keeping with the spirit of the meme, feel free to ask me for five interview questions in turn.
Fishy Circumstances

Wolves in the Walls

I haven't read the Neil Gaiman/Dave McKean collaboration book, but I have now seen the musical based on it! It a concise and engrossing hour-and-a-quarter of entertainment, with wonderful set/actor interaction. Half of the actors play the house/appliances/world/wolves. The other half play the family that live with it all. And it's a musical, nearly all sung, with some lovely counterpoint pieces. Collectively, it felt like a long and compelling poem.

The plot's about Lucy, who worries from all the noises that there are wolves living in the walls of their home. She interupts her family members to tell them so, but they don't believe her. Her mother is too busy making jam, wonderful jam. Her father is too busy playing the tuba. (Cue Peter and the Wolf - not that that music is used.) Her brother is too busy playing computer games. (More songs should be written about playing arcade-style games.) And then the wolves really do come out of the walls...

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The surtitles were, however, a constant distraction. I find this with movies too: even if I can understand what's happening perfectly well, if there are words being displaying in front of me, I will compulsively read those too.

The play is on through Saturday at the Hammersmith Lyric, here in London, and will then tour a bit further around the UK, if I remember rightly.