Friday, March 03, 2006

The practical abstract

From the BBC:

The London Underground map, the Spitfire and Concorde have been voted Britain's three favourite designs of the last century.

Design Museum visitors and viewers of BBC Two's The Culture Show were asked to choose from 25 design icons.

Among them were the Routemaster bus, the Mini and red phone boxes as well as more recent inventions such as the internet and video game Tomb Raider.

A public vote will decide which of the three is Britain's most iconic design.

The London Underground map was designed by Harry Beck in 1931 when the Tube grew so large it became impossible to map the lines and stations geographically.

Instead, Beck designed the map based on an electrical circuit, with each line in a different colour and diamonds for interchange stations.

Told you so.

As well as being a beautiful object, the Underground map represents one of those great leaps of human imagination. It's so obvious afterwards, but nobody thought of it before.


Hey Skipper said...

I remember the Tube map well -- simple and astonishingly effective.

(Pink Floyd happens to be on the iPod as I type this).

Brit said...

Dark Side of the Moon or Wish You Were Here?

Hey Skipper said...

Neither -- The Division Bell

I could probably listen to PF 24/7.

My iPod plays the roll of enabler.

Brit said...

Did you know Gilmour's got a new album out? Mixed reviews.

Hey Skipper said...

It's a shame Gilmour and Waters loathe each other, as they aren't half as good separately as together.

Don't they realize it is their obligation to entertain us?

Brit said...

I think Waters believes his obligation is to Enlighten, rather than Entertain.

He's not really the kind of person in whose company you feel you could have a damn good laugh.

Hey Skipper said...

For all that I am enthralled with PF, I know scarcely a thing about the band -- there must be a book out there somewhere that would be an interesting read.

BTW -- did you know they synchronized Dark Side of the Moon with the Wizard of Oz? I didn't believe it until I tried it for myself. My wife thought I had lost it when I brought the movie home from the video platz.

Brit said...

I thought that Wizard of Oz thing was an urban legend. Did it really work?

Hey Skipper said...

Yes, it did. This seems to give a pretty good explanation.

In particular, these lyrics, which occur just after Dorothy appears in Oz, are timed precisely with the camera cuts:

Black and blue
And who knows which is which and who is who.

Heck, its hard enough to produce an album that is still (IIRC) on the Billboard Top 100, never mind synchronizing it to a movie.

Hey Skipper said...

I really was going to avoid the temptation, but I can't.

Time to cue up Dark Side of the Moon.

Between you and the iPod, I have to deal with two enablers.

Brit said...

Ever seen them live? I went to see them at Earl's Court in London about 13 years ago (more?) when the Division Bell came out. No Waters but the rest were there.

A bed flew across the audience and crashed into the stage, and at the end they had this absurdly humungous mirrorball swirling around.

Also, despite the fact that the performers and most of the audience were very much middle-aged bourgeoisie, it remains by far the loudest concert I've ever witnessed. Rock 'n roll!

Hey Skipper said...

I saw all the bands I wanted to see live, except the one I wanted to see the most -- PF.

I should see if there are some concert DVDs running around.

But that obscures the biggest question of all: how in the heck did someone get a bed into a concert venue?

Oh. Never mind. I know the answer. That was security pre-9/11.