Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Sian Lloyd and the Blue Sky

So last night, as promised, we used Morris to explain why the sky is blue.

I got to hug Sian Lloyd who - only for the purposes of the show, Mr Opik - is an old and very close friend of mine.

Ezra and Noah were centre of the set, and we danced Banks of the Dee - or parts of it - more times than we ever have in our lives (and we've danced Banks of the Dee pretty often, I can tell you). This was pretty tough for us, but Peter K, John M and William had to play that tune - and sometimes just the A tune - over and over for an hour and half.

The crew filmed us from overhead, dancing with different colour hankies, to illustrate the way blue light is scattered out of sunlight. I'm imagining it will have a sort of Busby Berkeley effect.

Of course, even with all that practice, the hays still weren't as slick as they should be - or even in some cases, actually correct. When it all gets edited down to one minute, I'm sure they'll edit out the collisions. Either that or they'll edit the rest out, and use Morris dancers colliding as a metaphor for sunlight hitting the moleculse in the air.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

London Pride Morris - supporting science?

We have another media opportunity. It would involve giving up our practice on 20 Feb to be feted and filmed in a Busby Berkley manner. However, it is all in the cause of science.

A TV production company want to use us to illustrate a scientific principle, for a proposed TV show. The show isn't yet commissioned, but they're making a sample episode, in which they want us to help explain why the sky is blue.

As you all know the sky is blue because of Rayleigh scattering. The other colours pass right through the atmosphere, but short wavelength light, at the blue end of the spectrum, is absorbed and re-radiated. So the sky - which only has a colour because it scatters sunlight - is blue.

That's simple enough - but to make it fun, they want to have a team of morris dancers with multi-coloured handkerchiefs. For the scattered light we'd just have blue hankies.

They want to film us from overhead in a sort of Busby Berkeley manner, and edit it into a routine in which the hankies change colour at the clash of a pair of sticks...

They don't have any budget, but their studios are just round the corner in Newman Street (near Goodge Street). They could either come to our place (is the gallery in the back room suitable for overhead filming?) or we could come and do it in their courtyard.

If the series is commissioned, they would do a more polished version of the item, and there could be money. Maybe they could have Morris every week, illustrating a different principle. Maybe they could ditch the presenter and just use us!

I think it sounds fun, and I'm happy to give it a whirl.

I also want to use corner dances to illustrate quantum mechanical interactions between leptons, and maybe cyclotron effects in some rounds figures....

The question is, would it interfere with Ezra's steady progress in learning the morris, and seduce him into the bright lights of showbiz at too early a stage?