Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Fifty Shades of Funk

Yes, a dancing David Cameron. The result of all this work is a dancing David Cameron... What can I say? It's hardly the heights of satire but in my defence, I only put the dance together to see how the rig is working. So far, it’s not bad, though I'm suffering from the slow render times. I haven't time today to fix the obvious glitches in the above video. However, some things are working well. The various constraints I've set on how joints move seem to be doing what they need to be doing but there are still a few problems, mainly to do with ‘weight painting’, which is the process by which you literally paint onto model some colours that represent how much influence the underlying bones should have on the mesh.

Not that I suppose anybody is interested in this stuff. Perhaps I should talk about ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ instead. Actually, I won’t, though the audiobook read by Gilbert Goffried remains my internet pick of the year thus far.

What I was going to talk about was fifty shades of brown. Or a light creamy brown, to be precise.

I was shopping this morning for paint. Not much paint but just enough to fix some marks where some woodwork had got damaged due to my clumsiness with a stepladder and a claw hammer. I’d previous sent for a Dulux colour card, which arrived with the morning most. I used it per instructions, photographed it next to the wall, uploaded the image and was told the exact shade of paint I needed. ‘Jungle Fever 2’ is the name. It’s basically an off green.

So off I peddled, up town, to see if I could find it among the variety of test pots stocked at the local DIY store. Naturally, they didn’t have it. In fact, they had very few shades of green, which confirmed my suspicions that shops have things too well organized. They know which colours sell and sell only the colours that sell. For instance, judging from the shelves this morning, creamy shades of brown are popular. But, their popularity means than everybody tends to buy the same creamy shades of brown on offer, which causes the shops to stock more creamy shades of brown and limit the availability of every other colour that isn’t a creamy shade of brown.  The process continues, stock levels are refined, and in time, we find ourselves living in a world dominated by creamy shades of brown, patio decking, solar lamps in the garden, and wind chimes all tuned to exactly the same note of annoying.

The same processes are at work in the bookshops, where we’re now going to be fed a constant diet of greyness. TV is dominated by grotesquely pink talent shows and the mantra ‘give them what they want’ has never been so slavishly adhered to. The world becomes increasingly homogenious and diversity and personal individuality frowned upon. I go into a shop and ask for anything out of the ordinary and I’m looked upon as a freak. And I don’t mean that I’ve walked in and asked for hats to suit a troupe of nanuses bound for the orient. I mean things as ridiculously mundane as lead for a propelling pencil, a handle for a dip pen, or even, as happened a month or so ago, a length of wood to make a birdbox.

Diversity in anything is important but tastes are so heavily fashioned by a dominant media that, really, it feels like our options are narrowing all the time. The more choice we are told that we have, the more in truth we are limited in what we can or cannot do. Or perhaps it was ever thus. As Henry Ford once said of the Model T: any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.

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