Trivial Posts #11: Killing Fifa, NPR’s Audible Secret, and Missing Decreasing Circles

In the week I move house, the internet has been a distraction – which I guess is both good and bad. Still, there’s been quite a few articles that have caught my eye, and a few Trivial Posts might be just the tea-break I need

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The Archaeologist, The BBC, And Ever Decreasing Circles.

Let’s start with a fascinatingly nerdy piece  from Jason Hazeley on the BBC sitcom ‘Ever Decreasing Circles’. The starting point is ‘Season 1, five episodes’, but Hazeley’s story lays out the unexplained notes in the archive, the theory, and then the evidence for a missing episode:

Before it arrived at its splendid moniker, the series wormed through the circular corridors of the BBC under the rather Rixier title Hell’s Bells. Some script pages still bear that header. In the running order for ‘No.5’ (i.e. the fourth episode), the first scene has been amended. And in the script, it’s clear that it was rewritten: it’s at least one generation of photocopy younger. Was a gap being bridged? Was there a fourth script, in which Ann and Paul perhaps followed the logic of the storyline and made the beast with two backs, to their mutual chagrin?

Am I Imagining That?

When Your Down, Down, Low.

Ahead of Apple’s presumed re-launching of the Beats streaming music service, it;s worth revisiting Devin Liddell’s look at the branding and design of the keystone product…the Beats headphones:

As an object, Beats Solo, the brand’s best-selling model, are simply average, bass-heavy headphones offered in a variety of bold colors. When young consumers save up $200 for them, they might even buy into the brand’s mythology that they’ll finally “hear what the artists hear.” But what they’re really buying into is a seductive brand image fueled by a massive celebrity endorsement strategy.

Beats By Dre Isn’t Great Design, Just Great Marketing

Thank You For Being A Friend

Powerful writing from Christopher Eccleston on his father’s dementia, how it strips away the character, and leaves everyone around rudderless and looking for coping strategies,

I eventually learned that, instead of trying to pull people with dementia into your world, you have to enter theirs – but I made huge errors along the way…

When I saw him, I would say, “Hello pal, how you doing? How’s Elsie?” I became quite playful and would endlessly quote Shakespeare – I had done Hamlet, so would repeat the speeches and see the same flicker of passion in his eyes as when he had read me poetry. He’d say, “Bloody hell! How do you remember all that? Isn’t that a marvellous expression?” But he also needed you to be firm – he wanted to know someone was in charge, because it used to be him. So, if I drove him somewhere, he would say “I don’t know where we are going, cock,” and I’d have to say, “It’s OK, pal, I know where I am going.”

Dementia dismantled my father’s personality

The Question That Killed Fifa

“I’m surrounded by all these terribly posh reporters in suits and silk ties and buttoned up shirts, for God’s sake,” he remembered. “And here’s me in me hiking gear. I get the mike and I said, ‘Herr Blatter, have you ever taken a bribe?‘”

Boom.

How a curmudgeonly old reporter exposed the FIFA scandal that toppled Sepp Blatter

NPR’s Audio Secret

Clue… it’s all in the microphone technique…

The NPR sound has so many tentacles. If we’re just focusing on the studio side, which was actually the easiest thing, it all starts with the microphone. We use a simple Neumann U87 microphone as the house-standard microphone at all of our facilities. They’re expensive, but that’s what we’ve used for years.

In the new building, we knew we had the old microphones — and microphones don’t die unless somebody really works hard at it — and we had more facilities, so we bought a few more. But it really comes down to the U87 with the bass rolled off.

A Top Engineer Explains NPR’s Signature Sound

This Week’s Long Read: 330 and 232

More than any other General Election, 2015’s decision felt like a turning point in more than one respect. Scotland is the obvious one, but a look back from the vantage point of the future will likely show fundamental changes in society were set in stone with the Conservative majority in 2015 – a majority helped by the lack of any solid opposition from Labour.

Which makes Patrick Wintour’s look back at the losing side all the more melancholy.

This is the story of how that defeat came about, based on extensive interviews with many of Miliband’s closest advisers. It is a story of decisions deferred, of a senior team divided, and of a losing struggle to make the Labour leader electable. At its heart are the twin forces that would prove to be the party’s undoing: the profound doubts about Labour’s instincts on the economy and the surge of nationalism in Labour’s onetime Scottish heartlands.

How Labour Lost The Election

What Have I Been Up To?

In short, preparing to move house, so lots of packing and some cleaning. In between the domestics, there was a preview of Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference, another Eurovision Song Contest podcast to mark the start of the ‘off-season’ (it’s just 50 weeks until the next Eurovision!),  and a look at Samsung’s inability to change smartphone strategy.

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