Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Some Things Never ChangeI simply had to recount this excerpt from an excellent book I'm reading. "The Code Book," which is basically a history of cryptography (one of my interests). It's by Simon Singh. There is a long section about Charles Babbage, a famous inventor who was also influential. This short blurb on his biography is included: ...toward the end of his life he began a campaign to get rid of the organ grinders and street musicians who roamed London. He complained that the music "not infrequently gives rise to a dance by little ragged urchins, and sometimes half-intoxicted men, who occasionally accompany the noise with their own discordant voices. Another class who are great supporters of street music consists of ladies of elastic virtue and cosmopolitan tendencies to whom it affords a decent excuse for displaying their fascinations at their open windows." Unfortunately for Babbage, the musicians fought back by gathering in large groups around his house and playing as loud as possible.