Tuesday, July 17, 2018

"Churchill" (in an appropriately contemptuous voice)

The BBC make you create an account if you want to listen to the radio online now, which I think is quite shocking. They'll be making me buy a TV licence next. But it's worth it anyway, to listen to The Quanderhorn Xperimentations. It's really brilliant, and exactly the kind of thing there should be more of on the radio. Go and listen, if you haven't already!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Everyone's a winner

Or at least Novak Djokovic and the French football team are. And for that matter, so is John Graham, who's just won the US Memory Championship! This is very cool, because he's another new, up-and-coming memory star from America who might well go on to do great things in future. The days when I was too polite to say how very low the standard at the US Championship was are long ago now, it's definitely one of the focal points of major memory cleverness even in the absence of Alex! Plus, since the competition resolutely sticks to the principles of being an entirely different format from any other memory competition in the world, it's always fun to follow! I must go out there and watch it again some time; it's been way too long since I did that.

Also, here's what I would do if I had lots of money and resources - run an international Memory League team championship! Each country has a team of five players, there's something like four countries involved, and everybody competes simultaneously to get the best score they can at each of the five disciplines. Each team nominates one member to be a specialist in each discipline, so everyone gets their moment in the limelight, and you get three attempts at each one.

The seating would be arranged like this - imagine a big TV studio, lots of lights and things, and an audience watching. Centre stage is one big seat for each cards specialist, sitting at a computer screen, not able to see each other or the big giant screen overhead for the audience. The four cards specialists come out (to cheers from the audience), and stats about them are shown on the big screen. Four more sets of seats are to the sides, further back, for the rest of the teams, and all the players sit down simultaneously and memorise a pack of cards as fast as possible. The audience watch along on five quartered split-screen displays. At the end of each attempt they all get up and see everybody's scores, then sit down again and try to beat it. The 20 competitors are ranked in order of their scores, 20 points for the best, 19 for the next and so on. Specialists get double points in their specialist discipline.

Repeat for images, names, numbers and words! Throw in some expert camera-work and commentary from the likes of Florian, put the whole thing on YouTube, and I'm sure the TV people around the world will come running with wads of money in their hands! And even if they don't, it'd be a lot of fun for everyone!