Archive for March, 2009


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

There is an exhibition on at the Old Truman Brewery at the moment called GazeAndBody. What’s it about, I wondered, as I picked up the leaflet. Well:

“The work commissioned by Rotoreliefs in Vibe Bar is focused on discourse and is materialised in videos and performances (Gaze & Body) which are interconnected by the concept and the translation of visual images into words.”

Now, I’ve done a degree in social sciences. I know what discourses and concepts are, but this is baffling. Is it meant to mean something, or is it a hoax to gull card-carrying PoMos into looking pensive while watching porn?

Bum note (2)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It strikes me that since the advent of digital cameras there must be a much higher proportion of people who know what their own anus looks like. Or the proportion may be the same, but there has been a sharp decline in the sales of complicated systems of mirrors.


Dustman lost in translation

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I’m an enormous fan of online translation machines, so much so that I once used one to give an interview, by e-mail, to a Brazilian academic who spoke only Portuguese. When finished, I tried to work out how accurate the machine had been by translating my words into Portuguese and using the same machine to translate them back. It was absolutely incomprehensible.

Here, for example, is one machine’s attempt to translate the chorus to My Old Man’s a Dustman into German:

Mein alter Mann ist ein Müllabfuhrmann, trägt er die Schutzkappe eines Müllabfuhrmannes, trägt er Gottvorhang ich Hose, und er lebt in einer Wohnung des Rates.

And here is the machine’s attempt to translate it back again:

My old man is a garbage disposal man, carries he the protective cap of a garbage disposal man, carries he for God curtain I trousers, and he lives in a dwelling of the advice.

I did try to help by translating the idiom “cor blimey” into its original meaning, “God blind me”, but it didn’t help much. If Lonnie Donegan had recorded the song with those lyrics he might have been stuck in a dwelling of the advice for life.