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03 October 2014

The LCS meeting last Wednesday was tremendously interesting. Sarah Stansfield

introduced two great talks - one by Cristina Neagru who looks after the special books in Christ Church Library, the other by Ella Parry Davies, whom you see here. Ella is a PhD researcher who is also a tutor at the Brilliant CLub.

Both talks were very interesting, but I was particularly drawn to the work of The Brilliant Club. It's an organisation that seeks to widen access to top universities for bright children from non-selective schools, and it does it by fostering extra curricular programmes like the one Ella had devised. Called "Alice Through The Iron Curtain," it was about investigating the the artistic and political significance to Iron Curtain illustrators of Lewis Carroll's work. Not as arcane as it sounds, since "Alice" was considered subversive and illustrators responded in ways which were both personal and anti-establishment.

Ella brought along three pupils from Plashet School in East Ham, and they talked about what they had learned from the course. We saw a few slides of their projects, but personally I'd have liked to have seen even more of their work. They were obviously very bright girls who well deserved the chance to attend a good university.

As for the building, it's called @Waterloo, and it's a block of trendy serviced offices themed on Alice in Wonderland.

I didn't photograph everything there is to see by any means, but the boardroom where Bob was checking his watch (see previous post) has a nifty reflective section in the ceiling - or is it the upside-down lawn of Looking Glass House?

There's a rather strange shelf with bar stools along it in the entrance hall, in just the right location, it seems, to take a cheeky look up Alice's skirt.... assuming that IS Alice - she disappears into the ceiling before you see far enough up to check that it really is her.

The boardroom where we held the meeting was themed on giant playing cards which zigzagged around the walls and above our heads in a disconcerting way. I don't know if the bag belonged to an LCS member, but it looked just right.

01 October 2014

So Bob looked at his watch, and it was exactly six p.m!

Being a member of the Lewis Carroll Society, Bob knew what Lewis Carroll would have said about relying on a stopped clock.

"If you have the choice of two clocks, one which has stopped and one which loses a minute a day, which do you choose?"

"The losing one," you answer, "without a doubt."

"But," says Carroll, "The one which loses a minute a day has to lose seven hundred and twenty minutes before it is right again, so it's only right once in two years. But the other is right as often as the time it points to comes round - which happens twice a day."

So the stopped clock is evidently the best!

But, you might go on to ask, "How am I to know when six o'clock does come? My clock will not tell me."

To which Carroll replies, "Be patient: you know that when six o'clock comes your clock is right.. Keep your eye fixed on your clock, and the very moment it is right it will be six o'clock."

"But--," you say.

"There, that'll do; the more you argue the further you get from the point."

So just to be on the safe side, Bob had a working watch too. But when he checked it, he found that the stopped clock WAS exactly right. Six o'clock, and time for this evening's Lewis Carroll Society meeting. And very interesting it was too, in a most unusual building which I will tell you about next time.