Edging towards totality

This may be my last entry…

There was an almost full eclipse of the sun this morning. It was a steamy treat to step away from work for a moment and join the throng of tech savvy people staring up at the sun in primal wonder. The last one in Britland was 1999 and I remember stopping outside a TV shop in the (now desperately dilapidated, then mostly dilapidated) precinct in Northwich, Cheshire to watch some people somewhere getting a good show. All that happened in Northwich was that the gloom became gloomier to the point of almost twilight.

Back in the here and now, people were being really cool about the whole thing. Some had brought in their own versions of pinhole cameras and kind people were offering their eclipse glasses around to those unfortunate enough to not have any to hand. I love that kind of atmosphere; people shrug off their self-centered attitude and just want to share the spectacle (no pun intended).

I’ve got to admit that I was impressed with the ingenuity on display. Some people had set up their own pinhole cameras using paper plates, shoe box covers, A4 ring-binder dividers etc. One guy had a colander and was simultaneously showing multiple images. I ended up creating a pinhole using the crook of my forefinger and projected the image on a white wall – it did a pretty good job. There were, of course, those using their naked eyes and some using their phones but we’ll gloss over that and enjoy the ingenuity instead.

After a few minutes and a few ill-advised glances at reflections of the sun in windows (not sure how I managed to be so gullible at that point) I returned to work and checked Twitter. Therein lay a heady mix of joy and annoyance. People seemed to be expecting something a little more spectacular which is weird given the amazing coincidence that leads to eclipses in the first place. While Londoners complained that they hadn’t been able to see it because of the cloud cover. I’m sure that within the next few days they will claim that they are so over eclipses anyway and we all just wasted our time string at the sun instead of appreciating proper London cloud cover in the first place.

There were two tweets that immediately caught my eye and are worth repeating:

Yeah, I know right? I love the way that the sarcasm has been taken for foolish retraction.

And

Good work Mr Addison, lest we forget the big man!

Pretty brilliant stuff and certainly a break from the endless photos of clouds and meaningless lens-flare on offer from the rest of the Twittersphere.

I’m blogging early today because I am going to see Warpaint at the Birmingham Institute tonight. So I’ll sign off with a bit of them in action.

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