Monday, June 26, 2017

TMA (too many acronyms) and more cowbell

I wrote this in 2008:

My co-workers know about my various obsessions, so one of them suggested to me, "Hey, while we're at the IAI, why don't you Twitter it?" The idea was that this would be a good way to get some publicity out of our efforts there.

Unfortunately, this would only make sense if anyone were listening. I performed a search of both Twitter and FriendFeed, and I was unable to discover anyone other than myself who even had a passing interest in the IAI.

Times have changed. The IAI has its own Twitter account and even its own conference mobile app. The app is used to share the schedule for the annual conference, although you can also view the schedule the old-fashioned way.

For those who know about events in the forensic world, the IAI's Twitter presence obviously isn't the most earth-shaking event in the forensic domain. (Which reminds me: I need to update my 2014 post.) One of the changes has been an increased emphasis on the science behind facial recognition. To meet the demand for information, the IAI has scheduled a series of lectures on the topic, all of which are categorized with the prefix "FAC." For example, one of my coworkers is scheduled to speak on the fusion of facial recognition and video analytics, and her session has been assigned the catalog number "FAC-230."

Middle-aged British music fans know where this is going. (Note: I would have linked to Blade's web page rather than his Facebook page, but his web page requires Flash. Figures.)

You see, as I've previously noted, acronyms such as "FAC" can be used in a variety of ways. For many people, the acronym "FAC" reminds them of the notorious Factory Records catalog.

Now it's not unusual for record companies to have catalogs in which the music releases are numbered. What made Factory Records' catalog notorious was that they numbered all sorts of stuff. If you look at the list of Factory Records catalog numbers, you'll see that three of the first four numbered items were posters, "FAC 8" was a design for a menstrual egg timer, and "FAC 51" was a club and its membership cards.

There is only one Factory Records catalog number that I have memorized by heart - "FAC 321." This is the 10 minute video for "A Perfect Kiss" (the song itself is "FAC 123"). The video did not involve the band miming to the record, but was a live performance (well, as live as electronic performances get).

I think mrwire100 liked the video:

The stamp of immortality was bestowed on the record by the video that accompanied the release.

I remember seeing this as one of the trailers to the art-house shenanigans at the recently opened Cornerhouse in Manchester in late 1985 . Along with Betty Blue, I recall this as the finest cinematic experience of its time!

From 6:30, when the cowbell comes in (no, really), the music transcends all space and time to hit the highest of all highs.


Actually, the video is marked by its contrasts - that virtuoso cowbell performance is toward the middle of the video, but the video begins with the band kinda sorta looking at each other, and ends with the same. As I noted, the buildup from staring to cowbell is reminiscent of the buildup in Talking Heads' "Stop Making Sense."

So when I saw that my esteemed coworker was presenting on facial recognition and video analytics, I was thinking of cowbell. And I was asking myself, "Is there a FAC 230 in the Factory Records catalog?"

Answer: no. There is a FACT 230 for the album One True Passion by Revenge, but no FAC 230 per se.
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