Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mr Sheridan, The Astronaut, And The True Meaning Of "Swinging"

I try, if I can, to avoid thinking about Mr Tommy Sheridan. But, like his ideological soul-mate, Mr George Galloway, he is a magnet for controversy. Mr Sheridan would have us believe that this is due to the efforts of MI5 to blacken his name, but I find this an unconvincing argument. I have seen The Ipcress File, and I understand it to be an accurate reflection of the activities of The Service. Rather than exposing subversives to trial by media, they would - I'm sure - be subjected to a sophisticated torture technique involving flashing lights and "psychedelic" music. In addition, I am reliably informed that the Service does not work in the manner described by Mr John Le Carre - possibly because such behaviour would be expected of them. Instead, our spooks tend to operate from the backrooms of golf outlet stores in metropolitan shopping centres. That is why, when applying for a job as a spy, it is now more important to have a working knowledge of mashie niblicks than it is to speak a foreign language.
But, like Mr Ronnie Corbett, trapped in a Radio 4 studio with Mr Gordon Ramsay, and talking on the subject of his father's bakery, I digress. My point is Mr Sheridan, and his continuing disagreement with the News of the World. I must stress that I have no first-hand knowledge of this affair. Indeed, until Mr Sheridan's activities were reported or (if you insist, M'Lud) invented, I was of the happy opinion that "swinging" was something that was best achieved with the assistance of Mr Nelson Riddle's orchestra. But I am, I confess, baffled by the latest turn of events. According to the News of the World, Mr Sheridan was videotaped by his best man, Mr George McNeilage, from behind some tiles which he (the best man) was putting up in the living room. Is it, I wonder, common for living rooms in the West to be decorated with tiles? Do they also have jacuzzis and plunge pools? And, given the News of the World's reliance on journalistic fancy dress, usually involving a "fake sheikh", could Mr McNeilage not have been better schooled with his camerawork?
It is, though, peculiar that Mr Sheridan's alleged confession came so soon after Mr Peter Shann Ford used audio analysis software to show that the distant son of Langholm, Mr Neil Armstrong, was grammatically correct when he made a small step onto the moon's surface. The missing "a" in the sentence "one small step for (a) man" was obscured by static. Oddly, even with the latest techonology, Mr Armstrong says nothing about visiting a club called Cupid's.


Anonymous said...

Peter Shann Ford's "analysis" of Neil Armstrong's moon landing speech is completely unscientific, and not a proof at all. (1). No speech researcher would make a scientific claim using Goldwave software (like making a blockbuster movie in iMovie). (2). The audio used was 11.025 kHz, 8 bit quality. (3). The "control phrase" (for mankind) has shorter syllables because it has more of them. (4). Peter Shann Ford didn't use the first tool of any speech researcher - the spectrogram. (5). Peter's "research" was reviewed by an astronaut who emphasised the finding was "persuasive", and "Ms. Rano Singh, a Physiotherapist with a Masters in Biomechanics". There was no peer review by real speech analysis researchers. I believe the whole thing to be a dodgy publicity stunt for Peter Shann Ford and his Control Bionics company. Read more here.

Arthur Clewley said...

Neil Armstrong did indeed omit the 'a' but as that was the first take where he didn't end up in a giggling fit such as when Buzz Aldrin 'did a moon' out of the lunar lander's window, they had to have a wrap in time for the six o clock news, the crew were on overtime by this point and John Wayne was waiting in the corridor to use the moon film set to shoot some of 'True Grit' they just had to run with it