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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Friday, January 02, 2004
    Pic of the month
    Why is the Long Now project so fascinating? Probably because it chimes in with a subcurrent running through our frantic society that we're living too quickly to understand who we are any more. Taking the long view - the long, long view - of life gets us into all sorts of creative thinking. Helps us understand ourselves better; even recreate ourselves a little.

    One thought such vision proffers is about the temporary nature of much that passes for permanent in our societies. Like language. Tell me abar it - I've just read Niall Griffiths' fantastic black comedy Stump in which a one-armed Liverpudlian fleeing a past life in a Welsh seaside town is hunted by two men in shellsuits driving down from Liverpool in a rickety old car. Griffiths gets modern scouse just right - and comparing that to very dusty Sixties efforts like Dick Williams' The Gospels in Scouse shows how much our dialect has altered. Williams' work was probably just as accurate as Griffiths' at the time. Bar the swearing. Odd, that. No-one swears in the gospels...

    But that's just a dialect. The Rosetta Project is a Long Now spin-off which is all about preserving languages which are otherwise being lost. It does it by creating a beautiful tool - The Rosetta Disk - "that might help in the recovery or revitalization of lost languages in unknown futures." I've made it my Pic of the month.