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Thursday, 19 July 2012

Spirit of Play's tribute to the (probable) discovery of the Higgs-Boson particle

Here's a singularity.

Spirit of Play were at The Old Queen's Head in Islington last week, where I saw them for - I think - the third time. A good friend, Keith, works for the Times Literary Supplement, and this lot are sub-editors there (everyone needs to unwind somehow). Spelling, grammar, punctuation, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. These are meat and drink to them.

They're geekily, unabashedly academic.

"In the week they discovered the Higgs-Boson particle," said Lucy Dallas, Spirit of Play's lead singer,  "the least we can do is sing a song about it. This is about someone who can't make up their mind."

The fish finger sandwich I was eating nearly reemerged via my nose, so sudden was my urge to laugh.

The question posed, you see, is whether the entity at the heart of the song is a wave or a particle? This is the uncertainty principle but, frankly, who hasn't been there? "Don't sweat the small stuff - or maybe you should" runs the caffeine-induced-anxiety lyric, hedging your bets for you, so you don't have to.

Here's a crammer.

The song, Wave or Particle, has appeared on a podcast by Nature magazine, which can evidently spot a good tune without peer review.

And as befits a band that subtitles itself "The most fun you can have in your mortarboard" several of their tongue-in-cheek songs have a higher education theme. Dictaphone Don contains the line "Take your eyes off that librarian, Let's do something Baudelarian," which alone was worth the two and a half mile walk to the pub. It may confirm your prejudices about academics if I say that they're also rather absent minded, in the sense that their website needs updating. Tsk.

They're wry, funny, perhaps a little prim: unlike anything else you'll stumble across at a festival this summer and well worth a look.

* More geekiness, of The Mediaeval Baebes variety here.

* If you'd like posts from this blog to appear nearly unbidden in your Facebook news stream, you could *like* its Facebook page.

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