Trivial Posts #12: Belgium Pranks France, As Cthulhu Pranks Copyright

A slightly shorter burst of Trivial Posts this week, coming as it does in the week where I moved house (goodbye renting, welcome to somewhere that I own). Still, I needed some distracting, and this is what caught my eye online this week.

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Belgium Pranks The French With Waterloo Coin

Belgium asks for a commemorative Waterloo two euro coin. France vetoes the idea. Belgium finds loophole in the treaties and mints a commemorative Waterloo coin… for two Euros fifty cents.

…three months ago, Belgium proposed the introduction of a commemorative Waterloo €2 coin. But, because it represented the country’s most humiliating military defeat, France vetoed it… Instead of giving up, Belgium went away and found an obscure law stating that any country in the eurozone could issue any new coins it wanted, providing they’re in an irregular denomination. So it invented a €2.5 coin, and minted 70,000 of those to commemorate Waterloo instead.

France wins the battle, Belgium wins the war

Oh, Hang On, They Were All In ‘Allo ‘Allo.

Jon Jacob attended the memorial service of Jeremy Lloyd, and in his words ‘sat quietly at the back, before writing it up for the ‘About the BBC’ blog that he oversees. It’s a lovely piece, that’s well worth your time.

There’s something a little strange about attending a memorial service for friends, family and colleagues to remember the life of a man you don’t know personally. The disconnection from proceedings can sometimes feel as though you’re intruding or rubbernecking. Yet, there was an infectious warmth about the event which made me feel included. And that is in no small part to Jeremy Lloyd’s writing.

Remembering Jeremy Lloyd, Captain Beaky and Fred and Marguerite

Just why is Cthulhu so popular?

Hugh Hancock, guest blogging for Charlie Stross, asks the big question of the millennium…

Sure, H.P. Lovecraft’s horrifying vision of an uncaring universe is pretty good stuff. Sure, he was one of the first writers to tie all his creations into a single semi-coherent universe. Sure, he was drawing on and remixing ideas from older writers too, such as Robert Chambers’ “King In Yellow”. But there are a lot of great fictional universes out there — even great horror universes. What is it that makes writers — including both Our Gracious Host, Charlie, and myself — gravitate so hard to the big squid?

…So why does the Mythos have such draw? Is it because the Mythos is classic? Absolutely not. It’s because, comparatively speaking, it’s modern. The Cthulhu Mythos is almost 100 years old. And it’s the most modern part of our mythology that we’re allowed to access.

It comes down to copyright, which is the delightfully Cthulhuian concept creatives are struggling with.

They Took Our Myths

Discworld Is No More

Rhianna Pratchett:

I don’t intend on writing more Discworld novels, or giving anyone else permission to do so. They are sacred to Dad.


The Shepherd’s Crown will be the last Discworld novel

Two Currencies Or Three?

Put simply, Keith Andrew knows mobile gaming. Really knows. So when he sits down to write an article about free to play, in-app purchasing, and game magnetisation mechanics, you should really pay attention.

What few of the major players talk about, however, is the mechanics they to exact that cash: the in-app purchase. It’s a phrase that carries an awful lot of baggage despite being a relatively fresh addition to the gaming lexicon, yet – as was recently pointed out at the Digital Dragons conference in Kraków, Poland – far too many developers get fixated with how much they can charge and what for without thinking about the logical reasons as to why people would want to part with their cash.

The secret of the in-app purchase – and one you won’t find all too many of the big boys espousing about, perhaps because of the negative connotations that come with the phrase – is that it has to be planned for before you’ve even begun working on the game itself.

The F2P secret devs don’t want to talk about

What Have I Been Up To?

The mammoth ‘Every Eurovision Song’ project is back under way after hiatus – the simple premise is that I listen to every song that has entered the Eurovision Song Contest, review each three-minute wonder, and write it up at I’m a bit less than half way through the sixty years worth of tracks. Two highlights from my Forbes column as well, the first on Apple Music and how it continues the quest of the major labels to make music into a monthly utility bill everyone automatically pays, the second on the dangers of Samsung adopting a folding smartphone as its next gimmick.

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