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Stuart Langridge: Why I don’t like Biscuit (not biscuits)

Published Dec 18 2012 via RSS

Fresh from the Pastry Box reject bin! For the last year, I’ve been part of The Pastry Box, a series of short daily essays about the tech world, the web, philosophy, and similar things. For December’s essay I wrote two and couldn’t decide between them. One about creativity and the nature of being lost was published today, and I didn’t want the other to just vanish, so here it is.

  1. While I was in my first year at university, Portishead released Dummy, the greatest album the world has ever known. Now, admittedly, I was at that point in my life as impressionable as a dollop of warm wax, but my liking was also influenced by how it is the greatest album the world has ever known.
  2. I had a cassette copy of it made by my friend Andy which I played obsessively. All the time. Over and over again. And, for some reason, that cassette copy didn’t have Biscuit on it. To this day I do not know why.
  3. And to this day, I don’t like Biscuit as much as the rest of the album.
  4. What you say matters, but what you leave out also matters.
    If you are a designer, go to 5. If you are a public speaker, go to 6. If you are neither, go to 7. To open the door and attack the beast, go to 11.
  5. “Perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away”, right? But Brillat-Savarin said: A dessert without cheese is like a beautiful woman with only one eye. In this age of minimalism, of stripped-down and stripped-out experiences, of getting what you need right there with no extraneous clutter, be careful we’re not serving the dessert without cheese.
    To continue, go to 8.
  6. A philosopher once said: with great power comes great responsibility. This happens even if you don’t want the great power. It happens even if you don’t think you’ve got it. Someone looks up to you. If you leave things out when you talk to people, they’ll think it’s OK to leave them out too. They’ll think it’s not important, because you obviously don’t think it is. It doesn’t matter if in your heart you know it’s important. You have to find a way of talking about it without ruining your elegant simplicity. That’s why they pay you the big bucks. Even when they don’t.
    To continue, go to 8.
  7. Read them both.
  8. Now go back and read the other one.
  9. And: don’t worry about it. Expert Persian carpet makers used to deliberately drop a stitch, because to make something of flawless perfection would be to challenge the perfection of Allah. We can’t all be right all the time. It’s only the web. It’s only our world.

    Not that important.


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