Author Topic: University Challenge  (Read 13926 times)

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: University Challenge
« Reply #50 on: October 11, 2010, 10:38:44 pm »
I wasn't born in the fifties, but I know a lot of the music.  Same about the forties, and maybe less so the thirties and twenties, but some anyway.

I'm not having a dig.  It's just that general knowledge needs to be general.  I know about Byrd that you mentioned, and I'm aware of Purcell and Tallis from a similar time, though I can't whistle any of their hits.  Still, it's not unreasonable to expect that folk know something about them.

I didn't learn Latin at school.  It wasn't on offer.  But I am unsurprised by questions on Latin or the classics being asked in general knowledge quizzes.  As (generally) a bit of an autodidact, I regard intellectual curiosity as one of our most valuable assets.

I get annoyed by fools on the radio who brag about their lack of knowledge of science & maths, in a way they would never do so about being illiterate.  Similarly, there are those who deride knowledge of literature or art.  We owe it to ourselves to experience all we can, to understand and appreciate it.
Getting there...

Eccentrica Gallumbits

  • Rock 'n' roll and brew, rock 'n' roll and brew...
Re: University Challenge
« Reply #51 on: October 11, 2010, 10:51:05 pm »


You see, I've never been particularly familiar with "popular culture", even when I was of an age when such things seemed to be de rigueur, and it changes so frequently that I don't see how anyone can keep abreast of what's going on and still have time for stuff that's important.
Why do you think popular culture isn't important? I think it's as important as any other sort of culture.



I merely pointed out in response to Kirst's point above that knowledge of one particular song out of the hundreds, if not thousands, which were produced in the 1980s is perhaps not terribly surprising for a group of kids who weren't even born then.
I see it as the equivalent of me - born in 1970 - not knowing You've Lost That Loving Feeling, or Dancing In The Street, or Riders On The Storm.

Re the London Underground questions - I don't see those as general knowledge. Unless you're a Londoner and/or a regular Tube traveller, how are you supposed to know them?
My feminist marxist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.


Re: University Challenge
« Reply #52 on: October 11, 2010, 11:01:12 pm »


Re the London Underground questions - I don't see those as general knowledge. Unless you're a Londoner and/or a regular Tube traveller, how are you supposed to know them?

They're in the back of most diaries, people in the past were so bored they stared at these things and picked them up by cultural osmosis, like knowing the locations of the counties of England, Scotland and Wales.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
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Re: University Challenge
« Reply #53 on: October 11, 2010, 11:03:12 pm »
I didn't watch the programme. I can't comment on the questions other than as discussed above. I don't know what London underground questions were asked, but of course I'd expect a Londoner to stand a much better chance of answering them than someone who rarely / never goes to London.

I think "popular culture" is relatively unimportant, amongst other reasons, because of it ephemeral nature. Is what's currently fashionable in the charts or on the television important? Not really, because it will all have changed in a few months. A lot of it seems to carry as much weight as an advertising jingle.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

border-rider

Re: University Challenge
« Reply #54 on: October 11, 2010, 11:07:51 pm »
I think "popular culture" is relatively unimportant, amongst other reasons, because of it ephemeral nature. Is what's currently fashionable in the charts or on the television important?

Some of it. There are classics of every genre, at every time.  There's a world of difference between knowing about Temptation and some of the ephemera of that time

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
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Re: University Challenge
« Reply #55 on: October 11, 2010, 11:09:23 pm »
I think "popular culture" is relatively unimportant, amongst other reasons, because of it ephemeral nature. Is what's currently fashionable in the charts or on the television important?

Some of it. There are classics of every genre, at every time.  There' a world of difference between knowing about Temptation and some of the ephemera of that time

How do you tell the difference?
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Eccentrica Gallumbits

  • Rock 'n' roll and brew, rock 'n' roll and brew...
Re: University Challenge
« Reply #56 on: October 11, 2010, 11:10:06 pm »
If it looks like this



it's shite.
My feminist marxist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.


Re: University Challenge
« Reply #57 on: October 11, 2010, 11:11:15 pm »
I think "popular culture" is relatively unimportant, amongst other reasons, because of it ephemeral nature. Is what's currently fashionable in the charts or on the television important?

Some of it. There are classics of every genre, at every time.  There' a world of difference between knowing about Temptation and some of the ephemera of that time

How do you tell the difference?

You ask a grown up
[Quote/]Adrian, you're living proof that bandwidth is far too cheap.[/Quote]

border-rider

Re: University Challenge
« Reply #58 on: October 11, 2010, 11:12:13 pm »
How do you tell the difference?

Same as with any cultural icon - book, film or whatever.  Reputation, persistence, discussion, experience

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
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Re: University Challenge
« Reply #59 on: October 11, 2010, 11:14:58 pm »
How do you tell the difference?

Same as with any cultural icon - book, film or whatever.  Reputation, persistence, discussion, experience

But if number 4 is absent, it's not possible to indulge in the other three.

Kirst, I don't know who those people are.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Eccentrica Gallumbits

  • Rock 'n' roll and brew, rock 'n' roll and brew...
Re: University Challenge
« Reply #60 on: October 11, 2010, 11:25:21 pm »
They're the Reynolds Girls. They had one hit in 1980-something, and it was crap. They're wack.
My feminist marxist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.


border-rider

Re: University Challenge
« Reply #61 on: October 11, 2010, 11:25:25 pm »

But if number 4 is absent, it's not possible to indulge in the other three.


That must be equally true of almost anything

border-rider

Re: University Challenge
« Reply #62 on: October 11, 2010, 11:26:40 pm »
They're the Reynolds Girls. They had one hit in 1980-something, and it was crap. They're wack.

I'd rather Jack than Fleetwood Mac

Possibly the musical nadir of the decade, and therefore memorable ;)

Re: University Challenge
« Reply #63 on: October 11, 2010, 11:39:58 pm »
But Stock Aitken and Waterman were much more part of the cultural mainstream of the 1980s. I quite like them.

Wowbagger

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Re: University Challenge
« Reply #64 on: October 11, 2010, 11:44:54 pm »

But if number 4 is absent, it's not possible to indulge in the other three.


That must be equally true of almost anything

Exactly my point. What's the point of having a shallow knowledge of lots of stuff? If my experience is different from someone else's, it doesn't mean my mind is closed (OK, I know that was Clarion's) it just means I was doing other stuff. My experience has told me that, increasingly, watching television is a waste of time because so much of it is crap. I think that's inevitable with pretty well any recorded medium: the Good Stuff gets done first and it becomes impossible to remain original and keep up a high quality.

If Heaven 17's work's value depends on its historical context far more than its musical quality (allowing for the fact that I'd never knowingly heard it before this evening) it sounded pretty unmemorable to me, then it lacks artistic merit. Compare that to Byrd & Tallis, whose stuff is highly unfashionable these days even amongst "classical"music buffs and I reckon you'd really struggle to find any performances outside academic choirs producing obscure recordings. However, they were producing music for years at a time when either could have been executed for their catholicism, and they successfully changed their styles to deal with the prevailing religious opinion. My point is that they did this without sacrificing artistic merit.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Bluebottle

  • Everybody's gotta be somewhere
Re: University Challenge
« Reply #65 on: October 11, 2010, 11:48:16 pm »
They're the Reynolds Girls. They had one hit in 1980-something, and it was crap. They're wack.

And they ain't never going to be respectable.
Dieu, je vous soupçonne d'ĂȘtre un intellectuel de gauche.

FGG #5465

nicknack

  • Hornblower
Re: University Challenge
« Reply #66 on: October 12, 2010, 12:12:39 am »
What's the point of having a shallow knowledge of lots of stuff?

Makes it rather easier to broaden your experience.

Quote
I think that's inevitable with pretty well any recorded medium: the Good Stuff gets done first and it becomes impossible to remain original and keep up a high quality.

I think that is utterly wrong. Are you really trying to say that nothing after, say, 1920 in recorded music was original or of high quality? Or that TV in the 50s contained more original, high quality stuff than now? You must have some very heavily tinted rose spectacles.
There's no vibrations, but wait.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: University Challenge
« Reply #67 on: October 12, 2010, 12:31:33 am »
What's the point of having a shallow knowledge of lots of stuff?

Makes it rather easier to broaden your experience.

Not necessarily, and it almost certainly prevents a depth of experience.
Quote

Quote
I think that's inevitable with pretty well any recorded medium: the Good Stuff gets done first and it becomes impossible to remain original and keep up a high quality.

I think that is utterly wrong. Are you really trying to say that nothing after, say, 1920 in recorded music was original or of high quality? Or that TV in the 50s contained more original, high quality stuff than now? You must have some very heavily tinted rose spectacles.

Well, I've stopped watching television because the quality became so dire.

I'd not go back to the '50s, no, because the technology changed so much, but it's very hard to maintain the standards of, for example, comedy when you are constantly being compared to Monty Python, Morecambe & Wise, 2 Ronnies, Fawlty Towers, Tony Hancock...

I think the same is true of music. It's extremely hard for modern musicians to produce stuff to compare to the greats of yesteryear. I include 20th century "classical" music composers here. They experiment, because they have to be different, but someone like Schoenberg, for example, I think was largely wasting his time. On the other hand, is there any artistic merit in trying to copy the style of, say, Beethoven, when it's already been done?

So far as "pop"music is concerned, just like classical stuff, it has to stand the test of time, but that test is a completely different one from what the classical composers had to do. I don't suppose that any of the classical guys anticipated their music outliving them - Bach, for example, produced a monumental amount of stuff, pretty much a composition a week for church services alone. I'm sure he didn't do any of it for posterity. But pop music, almost no matter what its quality, still gets churned out on radio stations simply because they've got a stock of records that need to be played. The bad stuff is hardly given the chance to suffer the death it deserves.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Eccentrica Gallumbits

  • Rock 'n' roll and brew, rock 'n' roll and brew...
Re: University Challenge
« Reply #68 on: October 12, 2010, 08:04:14 am »


I think "popular culture" is relatively unimportant, amongst other reasons, because of it ephemeral nature. Is what's currently fashionable in the charts or on the television important? Not really, because it will all have changed in a few months. A lot of it seems to carry as much weight as an advertising jingle.
I don't think temporary equates to unimportant.


I think that's inevitable with pretty well any recorded medium: the Good Stuff gets done first and it becomes impossible to remain original and keep up a high quality.
I absolutely disagree. There is good and bad in every medium at all points in time.


Well, I've stopped watching television because the quality became so dire.
So how do you know it's still bad? There's some utter trash, but there's also some very good stuff. And I don't think there's anything wrong with watching utter trash as long as you realise it's trash.


I think the same is true of music. It's extremely hard for modern musicians to produce stuff to compare to the greats of yesteryear. I include 20th century "classical" music composers here. They experiment, because they have to be different, but someone like Schoenberg, for example, I think was largely wasting his time. On the other hand, is there any artistic merit in trying to copy the style of, say, Beethoven, when it's already been done?

So far as "pop"music is concerned, just like classical stuff, it has to stand the test of time, but that test is a completely different one from what the classical composers had to do. I don't suppose that any of the classical guys anticipated their music outliving them - Bach, for example, produced a monumental amount of stuff, pretty much a composition a week for church services alone. I'm sure he didn't do any of it for posterity. But pop music, almost no matter what its quality, still gets churned out on radio stations simply because they've got a stock of records that need to be played. The bad stuff is hardly given the chance to suffer the death it deserves.

Classical music isn't intrinsically better or worse than pop music, it's just different. And for all we know there were thousands of classical compositions that were lost or destroyed throughout the centuries because nobody wanted to keep hearing it. We just have different technology now which allows the bad stuff to be preserved. But radio stations aren't sitting around thinking "oh no we have to play the really bad stuff because a) it exists and b) there isn't enough good stuff." Most terrible pop is lost in the mists of time and it's the good stuff - Temptation, for example - which is still played decades later. Although Graham Norton does a slot on his R2 show called "I can't believe it's not better" where he plays a really terrible but once really popular record from the past so we can all remember how awful it really was.
My feminist marxist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.


rower40

  • Not my boat. Now sold.
Re: University Challenge
« Reply #69 on: October 12, 2010, 08:13:04 am »
Popular culture, yadda, yadda, Barnes Wallis, yadda, yadda.

Cut to the chase. That young lady in the off the shoulder number. Hmm?
+1.
They'll be back for another round in the playoff for highest-scoring losing teams.

I didn't listen to any of the questions.
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Re: University Challenge
« Reply #70 on: October 12, 2010, 08:19:53 am »
...It's extremely hard for modern musicians to produce stuff to compare to the greats of yesteryear...

This must be true because people have been saying it for hundreds of years.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: University Challenge
« Reply #71 on: October 12, 2010, 08:47:20 am »
Pop culture reference: the young lady in the off-the-shoulder number reminded me very much of Emma Thompson in The Young Ones.

Wow, I'm sorry - what was meant as a light-hearted dig seems to have led to a full-on character assassination. That wasn't my intent. Clarion's point about sounding like a high court judge is a good one, but I tend to agree that there's more to life than being able to answer questions on University Challenge. Good general knowledge is an indicator of a rounded personality but not the only one.

I tend to come unstuck on the science questions myself, though I was pleased with myself for getting two out of the three questions on primordial numbers despite not knowing what a primordial is (there was enough information in the question to be able to work it out). On the whole, I think the questions are very well balanced - that's what makes UC so enjoyable.

d.

nicknack

  • Hornblower
Re: University Challenge
« Reply #72 on: October 12, 2010, 08:54:38 am »
Wot Kirst said+
What's the point of having a shallow knowledge of lots of stuff?

Makes it rather easier to broaden your experience.

Not necessarily, and it almost certainly prevents a depth of experience.

That's just insulting.

Quote
I think the same is true of music. It's extremely hard for modern musicians to produce stuff to compare to the greats of yesteryear. I include 20th century "classical" music composers here. They experiment, because they have to be different, but someone like Schoenberg, for example, I think was largely wasting his time. On the other hand, is there any artistic merit in trying to copy the style of, say, Beethoven, when it's already been done?

It always was hard to produce 'great' music. Doesn't mean to say it can't be done now. Schoenberg wasting his time by merely experimenting? What the heck do you think Beethoven was doing?
Anyway, we're all entitled to our own opinions. I think music got boring after Bach and didn't start getting interesting again until the 20th Century. The Romantics? Utterly tedious boring shite. :)
There's no vibrations, but wait.

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: University Challenge
« Reply #73 on: October 12, 2010, 09:18:25 am »
Y'see, I'm different.  I don't like the baroque stuff - too many notes ;) - but I do like some 19th Century music.  Particularly Beethoven, but also some Mahler and even Wagner.  And there was another composer whose work I once heard and was completely blown away by, but I can't remember his name now :-[

Stravinsky and Sibelius are my favourite composers - both very different, but both prepared to experiment with sound, and capable of creating deeply moving pieces.

If they had thought there was nothing more to achieve after Beethoven (and I could see how that might have seemed the case at the time), then we would never have had Firebird, the Swan of Tuonela, Finlandia, or Le Sacre de Printemps.

Now, do I say that Heaven 17 can stand comparison with these composers?  Well, yes, I do.  As can Leadbelly, Lennon & McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, Bernard Bonvoisin, KT Tunstall and many others.

As with music, so with literature.  Can there be a greater piece than Notes from Underground, or a more complete novel than The Brothers Karamazov?  Maybe so, but they would not have been written if Les Miserables had been regarded as the pinnacle.  And that would not have been created if Hugo had decided Don Quixote had encapsulated all that could be said.

And yet it goes on.  The Trial, Portrait of the Artist, Our Lady Of The Flowers, The Famished Road.

There is so much to human experience that there is always something more to say until we are dead.
Getting there...

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: University Challenge
« Reply #74 on: October 12, 2010, 09:19:50 am »
Pop culture reference: the young lady in the off-the-shoulder number reminded me very much of Emma Thompson in The Young Ones.

Wow, I'm sorry - what was meant as a light-hearted dig seems to have led to a full-on character assassination. That wasn't my intent. Clarion's point about sounding like a high court judge is a good one, but I tend to agree that there's more to life than being able to answer questions on University Challenge. Good general knowledge is an indicator of a rounded personality but not the only one.

I tend to come unstuck on the science questions myself, though I was pleased with myself for getting two out of the three questions on primordial numbers despite not knowing what a primordial is (there was enough information in the question to be able to work it out). On the whole, I think the questions are very well balanced - that's what makes UC so enjoyable.

d.

That's OK. I didn't take it as anything more.
Wot Kirst said+
What's the point of having a shallow knowledge of lots of stuff?

Makes it rather easier to broaden your experience.

Not necessarily, and it almost certainly prevents a depth of experience.

That's just insulting.

But no more insulting than telling me I had a closed mind? I know you didn't say that, but it was a development of the same point.

Quote
Quote
I think the same is true of music. It's extremely hard for modern musicians to produce stuff to compare to the greats of yesteryear. I include 20th century "classical" music composers here. They experiment, because they have to be different, but someone like Schoenberg, for example, I think was largely wasting his time. On the other hand, is there any artistic merit in trying to copy the style of, say, Beethoven, when it's already been done?

It always was hard to produce 'great' music. Doesn't mean to say it can't be done now. Schoenberg wasting his time by merely experimenting? What the heck do you think Beethoven was doing?
Anyway, we're all entitled to our own opinions. I think music got boring after Bach and didn't start getting interesting again until the 20th Century. The Romantics? Utterly tedious boring shite. :)

Oh, of course Beethoven was experimenting. It's just that his experiments produced great music. With the benefit of hindsight I think that Schoenberg's experiments in music can be demonstrated not to have done. Some of this is merely down to personal taste, but artists of all types take a place in history and it's this context which often makes their work important.

Which takes us back to Kirst's post above. I ran the two questions past my daughter (first class degree in history) this morning and she couldn't answer either. When I mentioned the name Barnes Wallace she'd never heard of him. Her reaction was interesting:

"Does it fucking matter? It's just like cocky dads on open night. They are always trying to catch me out with questions like 'When was the Battle of Waterloo?' to which I reply 'Does it matter?' I really struggle to remember dates but I understand events and causes. The battle of Waterloo, and the unemployment amongst returning soldiers, had a profound effect on subsequent governments and led to widening the number of people who were allowed to vote. That's what matters."

When I mentioned that Heaven 17's music was banned by the BBC because of its anti-Thatcher content, she conceded "OK, perhaps that's important."

She went on: "This is a very blokish view of knowledge, the knowing of names and dates. It really pisses me off when we go to a pub quiz because people do well because they can memorise isolated facts. Knowing a few dates in history is far less important than understanding historical causes. This is when Ben (her husband) says to me 'Ellen, it's a pub quiz, not a 2000 word essay.'"

We agreed that Ben would certainly know the answers to the two questions concerned. We had a small wager on whether her younger brother would - I said he would.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.