Iain Cameron's Diary
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2005-03-10 - 6:26 a.m.

My sleep pattern is still pretty erratic – not much one night and a rather flat day and then loads last night. On Monday I was sent home from work because I sounded and looked rather unhealthy. I called in at the doctors and then a little way up the street at the synth shop where I was rather taken with the Casio CTK 691 which has Hammond drawbar feature in software. I chatted a bit to the proprietor about Jimmy Smith – who she had actually met.

I watched both the Miss M DVDs and unearthed the collection of interviews and article. One interview revealed that Miss M considers Tim Hardin to be a good friend and went out of her way to say hullo and josh with him when their paths crossed at the end of the 70s – curiouser and curiouser - why would the friendship continue if he was heroin raddled disaster area by then?

She is very clear about her change of style in the 80s – as sound and clarity become more important driven by the possibilities opened up by new technology. She and her team become tremendously interested in timbre and placings across the stereo stage. In the early 80s she is very taken by how the Police develop Jamaican rhythms.

I came across the chords to Sweet Bird and started to work out a version in standard tuning. The chords came with quite good discussion of how the tune works in terms of its harmonic contours. There s a point of tension in the middle of the verse where bIII maj7 9 is used . The return opens with the same chord down a half step. Oddly some of the chord voicings remind of the version of Blues Run the Game that I carry with me – not quite sure whose it is.

I did a bit of tidying up and a 20 tune collection of the Temptations came to light. I discovered that there s a button on the DVD remote which switches both channels to either right or left – which is good fun on say Beauty’s Only Skindeep where you can hear the rhythm guitar part very clearly. Then I went onto listen to a lot of 80s soul messing around with the channels – thinking what a good job they’d made of utilizing new synth sonorities.

I exchanged some ideas with Matthew on MRP software – possibly we are onto something here – a lot of misplaced faith in systems of this kind.

In the taxi between the station and the office, on a roundabout an articulated lorry was on its side. It must have been centripedal force – I have never seen that kind of mishap before.

I am quite interested just now in the cross over between acoustic techniques and electronic sounds. This was a pathway that opened up for J Martyn, I suppose.

Anyway here’s a reflection by Daniel Dennett:.

‘In 1939, Wittgenstein's Cambridge seminar on the foundations of mathematics included a brilliant young mathematician, Alan Turing, who was giving his own course that term on the same topic. Turing too had been excited by the promise of mathematical logic and, like Wittgenstein, had come to see that it had limitations. But in the course of Turing's formal proof that the dream of turning all mathematics into logic was strictly impossible, he had invented a purely conceptual device — now known as a Universal Turing Machine — that provided the logical basis for the digital computer. And whereas Wittgenstein's dream of a universal ideal language for expressing all meanings had been shattered, Turing's device actually achieved a somewhat different sort of universality: it could compute all computable mathematical functions.

Happily, in those days before tape recorders, some of Wittgenstein's disciples took verbatim notes, so we can catch a rare glimpse of two great minds addressing a central problem from opposite points of view: the problem of contradiction in a formal system. For Turing, the problem is a practical one: if you design a bridge using a system that contains a contradiction, "the bridge may fall down." For Wittgenstein, the problem was about the social context in which human beings can be said to "follow the rules" of a mathematical system. What Turing saw, and Wittgenstein did not, was the importance of the fact that a computer doesn't need to understand rules to follow them. Who "won"? Turing comes off as somewhat flatfooted and naive, but he left us the computer, while Wittgenstein left us...Wittgenstein.

Some will say that in the longer run, Wittgenstein's legacy will prove to be the more valuable. Perhaps it will. Wittgenstein, like any other charismatic thinker, continues to attract fanatics who devote their life to disagreeing with one another (and, presumably, with my brief summary) about the ultimate meaning of his words. These disciples cling myopically to their Wittgenstein, not realizing that there are many great Wittgensteins to choose from. My hero is the one who showed us new ways of being suspicious of our own convictions when confronting the mysteries of the mind. The fact remains that one's first exposure to either the "Tractatus" or "Philosophical Investigations" is a liberating and exhilarating experience. Here is a model of thinking so intense, so pure, so self-critical that even its mistakes are gifts.’

Actually Wittgenstein didn’t just leave W – he also left Bloor – I am going to start referring soon to the Bloor-Popper insight into the nature of innovation.

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