Magic Moments #274
This article is sponsored by the Perry Como Supporters' Club’s Magic Moments Memorial Fund - celebrating the 49th Anniversary of his Burt Bacharach- Hal David-penned RCA Records hit - of which Bacharach later wrote: "Combined with the quizzical bassoon, the whistling and the ghastly white shadings of the Ray Charles Singers, these distant recollections must seem like occurrences on another planet to later generations"*.
* A bit like some of the earlier postings on this super digi-channel [Ed].
It is unlikely in the extreme that even those who have been most disadvantaged by the British primary and secondary school system and who have, in consequence, only a passing interest in and absolutely zero knowledge of twentieth-century science will be entirely unaware of the momentous significance of the year 1961.
For it was towards the end of that year [October 15th to be precise] that Professor Brian Thrupiece - a novice research student enrolled as a postgraduate at Alma Mater College, Cambridge - embarked, under the occasionally watchful eye of Dr Kenwoode Chefe, upon the research that would lead - only three year’s later - to the award of his PhD. This was confirmed at a Congregation in June 1967 [in the presence of his mother, father and his cousin the future Mrs Edna Whisky-McNightly*] on the basis of his groundbreaking thesis “Household fluff: a viable dietary staple in times of conflict”. In that work, he established not only the broad foundational principles upon which the science of bio-ethically stable fluff nutrition would henceforth be based and properly understood, but also proof, beyond peradventure, of the viability of a fluff-centred dietary regime capable of feeding many millions. It was the subsequent diversification, technological refinement, up-scaling and monetarization of this work which - via the thrupiecediet™ - would prove the foundation both of his own personal wealth and the intestinal wellbeing of generations of men, women and others forever thereafter. If it often said in such contexts that "the rest is history", then it can truly be said in this case that "the rest is history".
* The future Mrs Whisky-McNightly confided to her diary: "It was a wonderful day, Brian looked splendid in his gown, the scarlet panels of which set off his fledgling moustache to perfection. Later we had tea with Dr Kenwood Chefe who invited me into his inner sanctum to peruse the latest additions to his continental magazines collection. What funny creatures men are: so easily stirred and so childishly grateful at the sight of even the slightest opening".
Almost as thrilling as that seminal discovery is the publication for the first time ever this week of images of the actual moment when fluff undergoes its magical transformation into an edible foodstuff whilst at the same time absorbing a synthetic flavour of choice [in this case cheese and onion]. It is a process with which Professor Thrupiece was, of course, intimately familiar, having observed its effects many times and yet it is also one which - given the technical limitations of the optics of the time - he never actually witnessed "close up and personal" for himself and certainly never in the stunning resolution of which modern digital photography is capable. Only now is it possible to eavesdrop on that milli-millisecond of spontaneous creation wherein - to paraphrase - we no longer see "as but through a glass darkly" but rather "see it as it is fully known". There is, accordingly, a timeless eeriness to these chromatographic images - a sense of intrusive voyeurism - which must necessarily give anyone viewing them a moment's contemplative
It has often been remarked that it is a mistake to shine an analytical light upon magic, and it is certainly true to say that the many millions of consumers who have been the beneficiaries of Professor Thrupiece’s pioneering work have been wholly ignorant until now of the extraordinary process from which their good nutritional fortune has been derived [known technically as Regenerative thermo-protonic polymerised transgenic catalytic fissile synthesis or RTPPTCFS for short]. To say that what we are observing is a complex chemical process achievable only at very high temperatures and under extreme pressure [as well as one hell of a mouthful [Ed]] would be an understatement so egregious as to be close to untrue. Yet, as is so often the case, a picture paints a thousand words and , as the late great Mr Matt Munro asked: "So why can't I paint you?"*.
*This is not the only relevant question. A more interesting one surely, is quite how Professor Thrupiece managed to achieved the success he did armed with only a bicycle pump, a Bunsen burner and a Dorset Dairies recyclable sterilised milk bottle. It remains to this day one of the mysteries of modern scientific discovery. [And this despite more than 40 volumes of autobiography [only 12 of which have been published though they do cover the relevant period], 15 assorted biographies [3 official, 12 unauthorised], more than 248 specific expositions in scientific journals of one kind or another [33 by the Professor himself] and several dozen PhD theses on this very topic.]
All this said it is impossible not to get over-excited about the science behind the new photographs - a form of super high speed photography which uses a state-of-the-art 2 million frames per second hyper-speed digi-cam developed by Threadbone Digi-Labs as part of its parent company’s attempts to develop a super-ergonomic comfi-fit elasticated sling-back.
Threadbone Digi-Labs Director of Advanced Research Iyama Kamra has written the following background note: "It was almost a matter of chance that, in an effort to calibrate our new camera before deploying it on the sling-backs project, we decided to test it out in challenging circumstances. Pure serendipity led to us attempting to capture the moment of RTPPTCFS. It was certainly ambitious but we knew that if we could achieve this across RTPPTCFS's extreme colour spectrum then the largely static monochrome sling-backs would be a slam dunk. Still, we did it and "the rest", as they say "is history". We were, of course, conscious that we could be accused of "shining an analytical light upon magic" but, given the critical importance of the sling-back project, it was a risk we were willing to take".