Monday, 22 September 2008

The Seven Sisters Conjunction

Scientists at the North London research institute THoF believe we are currently witnessing what is possibly the first ever occurrence of a phenomenon known as the Seven Sisters Conjunction. This is defined as the moment when the two bodies AFC and THFC appear at the extreme opposite ends of their seasonal trajectories. Researchers refer to these extremes as positions 1 and 20.

The Seven Sisters Conjunction is a special instance of the more general phenomenon known as the Seven Sisters Differential. This is calculated through the formula: (x) AFC :: (y) THFC. At the present time the values of x and y are 1 and 20 respectively (please see Table 1 for details).

This gives the result: 1 AFC :: 20 THFC, so the Differential is currently +19 (see note 1), and the two bodies are indeed in a state of Conjunction.

The Seven Sisters Conjunction is by its very nature temporary. It could last as little as a few minutes, depending on what are known as KO times, or it could be a matter of days, weeks, or even months. The two bodies could slip out of conjunction, and then slip back in again later. However, there is a limit: Conjunction cannot carry through from one season to the next. Were THFC to remain in position 20 for the remainder of the present season, it would find itself relocated to a secondary universe or ‘Division’, and the calculations would have to be done on a different basis (see note 2).

A further point to note is that, were a situation of Conjunction, or near Conjunction, to persist, this could well affect the timing of the annual celebration of St Totteringham’s Day. Mathematically this cannot occur before the mid-point of the season, but observers will no doubt be watching with interest.

We will try to keep track of events as they unfold at the new Seven Sisters Conjunction blog.

1) You will notice that the Differential is expressed here as a positive value - this is normal. Negative values (ie, where the value for THFC is lower than that for AFC) have been known to occur, but they are atypical and are usually of brief duration.

2) Were THFC to be relocated to a secondary Division, the Differential would have to be expressed in the form: 1.x AFC :: 2.y THFC, and the value of the Differential would depend on the maximum values of these coefficients - for several years now (1) has had a max of 20, and (2) a max of 24.

As an illustration, in the event of a hypothetical situation of 1.1 AFC :: 2.24 THFC, the Differential would be +43 (1::44), and the situation would be classed as a Secondary Conjunction. This is regarded as highly unlikely to happen in the short term, but as the THoF researchers say, “you never know”.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Jeudis de Perpignan

Thu 7, 14 Aug

From 7 till midnight, every Thursday evening through the holiday period, the centre of Perpignan hosts a mini street music festival, with a wide range of traditional and popular music from France and round the world. This year we saw Spi and La Gaudriole do a cracking bal folk set that had the whole of the Place de la République dancing, klezmer, trad jazz, a fanfare from Bénin, songs composed by Catalan women, even a parade of geese led through town by an accordionist.

The final spot on our second night there was the cobla band La Mil.lenaria playing sardanas - what else? - accompanied by a tractor-drawn mobile carillon. The carillonist (?) sits in a cabin at the back at a keyboard, and it's really weird to hear a tune played by a peal of bells moving down the street. Their final piece was Lluis Llach's L'Estaca, the number one Catalan anthem from the 1970s, still going strong, belted out by cobla, carillon and the voices of a couple of hundred spectators, at midnight.

Couldn't happen in England.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Matt @ the Oak

Thu 11 Sep
Royal Oak, Lewes

Matt does his first solo gig, at the Royal Oak, with a little bit of help from Dan. Now it's off to the Traditional Music degree course at the University of Newcastle. Best wishes!