Friday, November 07, 2008

Venn Will I Be Famous?

Competition Update: the Seat Ibiza featured in days 26, 27, 30, 31, 32 and 36 of Bathmatwatch and was, of course, blue. The winner, chosen at random, was Thomas W from Belgium, who will receive a signed copy of Venn That Tune. Of course, as one of the conditions of winning he has now become my official Belgian rep and must now show it to every person in Belgium and persuade them to buy a copy each. Thanks, Thomas.

Thank you to everyone who is linking to Venn That Tune. I really appreciate it as this is literally going to be how we feed our LOVELY SON for a while. If I start blogging about how he's getting bored with caviar then you can take the links down, but in the meantime, thank you.

Venn I Fall in Love

Venn That Tune

Venn That Tune

There's still time to enter the competition to win a signed copy of Venn That Tune. Just send an email to "email me" on the right with the answer to the question "What colour was the Seat Ibiza?" (Don't try searching this blog for 'Seat' or 'Ibiza' - I am one step ahead of you, but to repeat the clue from Wednesday's comment box it was parked on something special. One entry per person. Closing date Friday 7th November 17:00 GMT. Winner to be drawn at random. My decision is final.)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Venn the Going Gets Tough...

Venn That Tune

Venn That Tune

Don't forget the competition to win a signed copy of Venn That Tune. Just send an email to "email me" on the right with the answer to the question "What colour was the Seat Ibiza?" (Don't try searching this blog for 'Seat' or 'Ibiza' - I am one step ahead of you, but to repeat the clue from yesterday's comment box it was parked on something special. One entry per person. Closing date Friday 7th November 17:00 GMT. Winner to be drawn at random. My decision is final.)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Venn Will I See You Again?

Venn That Tune

As Smash Hits would have said, it’s back, back, back, back, back – yes, back! Venn That Tune: over 100 classic song titles drawn as Venn diagrams or graphs, now bringing the poetry of maths to the magic of pop in book form.

It’s published on Thursday November 13th and you can pre-order it from Amazon UK, Amazon USA or Amazon Canada, as well as at bookshops and online stores in many other countries.

There is a website at vennthattune.com with more information and sample pages. You can become a Facebook fan and discuss your favourite diagrams and get the latest news and reviews, or buy greetings cards from Moo (what could be more romantic than saying "I'm saving all my love for you" with the aid of a pie chart?).

There is also a range of merchandise from Spreadshirt (Europe or USA/rest of world), such as Too Much Too Young kids' T-shirts (nothing says teenage rebellion quite like a graph), It Ain't What You Do It's the Way That You Do It boxer shorts and U Can't Touch This women's hotpants. And some mugs.

B3ta has already made it their Book of the Month, proclaiming “It’s great”.

And because the idea started here when I realised that I had nothing to write about one day, looked through an old notebook and saw a half-finished idea about ZZ Top lyrics, and then you all gave me such encouraging feedback, I’m going to have a competition where I give away a signed copy. (It doesn’t have to be signed if you don’t want it to be – it might be more difficult to regift it as a Christmas present if it is.)

To enter the competition, just send an email to the address on the right with the answer to this question: What colour was the Seat Ibiza? (There – that’ll sort out the loyal readers from the Johnny-come-latelies.)

The closing date is 17:00 GMT on Friday 7th November. The winner will be chosen at random and my decision is final. Only one entry per person.

The rest of you – it would make an ideal Christmas present for anyone who likes music and Venn diagrams. (Yes, my LOVELY SON needs new shoes...)

Here are a couple of diagrams – more to come.

Venn That Tune

Sunday, November 02, 2008

[Insert Nobbs Gag Here]

I am a big fan of the books of David Nobbs. He is most famous for Reggie Perrin, but also wrote A Bit of a Do, the Henry Pratt books and the wonderful Going Gently amongst others. If you liked the Reggie Perrin sitcom then I promise you that the books are even better. If I had one book on a desert island it would be a close tie between one of David Nobbs' and Getting Off Desert Islands for Dummies (Back to Civilisation Where You Can Read Any David Nobbs Book You Like). I urge you to read him.

But his first three novels have been out of print for years. I've looked on eBay and on the Amazon marketplace, but without success. Till I decided to try my local library where I could order two of them online and a couple of weeks later, after they had borrowed them from another library, collect them. It was like someone who had spent their lifetime studying a particular painter suddenly finding an unknown painting of theirs. It was fascinating to see how themes, settings and styles in his later books were first developed.



But my favourite part of the whole experience was when I opened A Piece of the Sky Is Missing (first published in 1969) and saw that the first date stamp was 1977. It had clearly gone into reserve stock at that point, coming out about once a year after 2002 which was presumably when this LASER system was introduced. (Perhaps a librarian can shed some more light on this - I have a feeling that there must be at least one amongst you.)



1977! I had a full-blown Proust meets Life On Mars experience as this prosaic method for documenting a book's lending and return, unchanged for decades, linked me directly to a time over 30 years earlier. The Silver Jubilee! Punk Rock! Going up to the juniors! Homemade ice lollies that were in fact just frozen orange squash!

I also loved the little cardboard wallet and typed index card, and vividly remember when my local library in the Midlands switched to these new-fangled "bar codes" to record a book's status (though admittedly the sort that you had to roll the pen-like reader across rather than just point it in the general direction of the book). It was perhaps the most exciting thing to happen there in the 1980s.

I particularly like the bit about infectious illness. What were they worried about in this blissful pre-Aids existence? Some kind of infection from falling off a spacehopper? A gastric bug from eating a bad Arctic Roll? (This was all anyone did in the 1970s. I have seen I Love the 1970s so I know this for a fact.) (Not that you can catch Aids off a book. Well, not unless you are particularly imaginative.)

Alas, it looks like this link to a foreign country (Strikes! Flares! Ford Cortinas! Anoraks with fur around the hoods!) will soon be gone as my date stamps are at the bottom of the last column. (Even though there are still some blank areas. They certainly aren't making as good use of this as I would. I could have kept it going till we were all swimming around and the only book anyone was interested in borrowing was Living in Searing Heat but Without Land for Dummies.)

So I wanted to preserve it here. If you are old enough, please put your 1977 Proustian rushes in the comments box.