Lovelace and Babbage Vs The Organist, Part 8

This entry is part 8 of 12 in the series The Organist

At long last! DANGER! INTRIGUE! CHARTS! It’s Lovelace and Babbage Vs The Organist, Part 8!

Just a few short notes for this one..

- John Thomas was a Welsh harp prodigy who was put through school by Lady Lovelace, so he did owe her (although the real one was 9 years old at the time).   He eventually became Harpist to the Queen!  Just one of those random facts I have to stuff into the comic somewhere.  Maybe this whole business is like ‘Singin’ In The Rain’, where they were contractually obliged to turn a random bunch of 20 year old songs into a musical.

The song is Ar lan y mor, here’s a restful moment for you and a nice change from the usual cacophony around here:

Lovelace herself was divided on whether to pursue the strand of music, or the strand of mathematics in her short and restless life.  The harp was her favorite instrument.

– Triads to appear in Chinese music but as it is heterophonic they’re not characteristic.  Wikipedia:  allowing me to bullshit through my teeth since 2001! When the Triads appear you can play the following:

Diminished triad

That’s what you call an Enhanced Comic.

Really sorry about the long waits folks.. I figured when I was done the film (coming soon! as well as the US release for The Illusionist! ) I would be a buzzing bundle of energy but instead I crumpled into a heap a little bit.  I’m off to Denmark for a couple of weeks to teach at the Animation Workshop, which is a kind of animation retreat/monastery/spa so I expect to regain my Vital Magnetisms, as well as have some nice Danish beers and draw me some more comics!

ADDENDUM: The shady character is selling a mix of tin whistles and piccolos. Fun fact, I played the piccolo in Jr High Band, which is about as high as I got in my misspent youth.

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41 Responses to “Lovelace and Babbage Vs The Organist, Part 8”

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  1. Craig Stuntz says:

    Wonderful! I love the tin whistle* dealer!

    *or are they flageolets…?

  2. Steve Gilmore says:



  3. Morris says:

    Tin whistle or flageolet, or even feadog, are all appropriate for the instruments shown here.. The term flageolet is less specific, since in the 19th century it applied also to somewhat different English and French wooden instruments. (I absolutely love the dialogue in that panel.)

    Piccolo fun fact #2: Meredith Willson, who wrote “The Music Man”, played piccolo in John Philip Sousa’s band, and the title of one of his memoirs is And There I Stood With My Piccolo.

  4. Delightfully great! Love all the puns!

  5. Sara Davis says:

    I’m sorry, but the harp video has made me re-think Babbage’s viewpoint. I think I could go forever without hearing that song again.

    The comic is wonderful as usual. And as usual I am left with hunger for more!

  6. Fabulous! I await the movie musical version!

    I am sure it would have appropriate subtitles, like English when Mandarin is spoken and musical notes for when Babbage and Lovelace speak.

  7. Kaaz says:

    Oh, the puns!! I loved them all!!! Loved the whole thing, really – dialog, flow, art (though I’m not really a qualified judge of the latter – but that last panel is AWESOME!)

    You are, of course, forgiven for collapsing into a heap, post-movie. And you are entitled to a wonderful time in Denmark, getting rejuvenated in various and sundry ways.

    Thank you for doing this comic!!

  8. Wikkid X says:

    “I do wish this were not quite so effective.” lol! <3

    (Um, did I just use a heart emoticon? God help me.)

  9. Stephen says:

    “I’m not looking for treble”. Brilliant :)

  10. Manjit Bedi says:

    I really enjoy your work; thanks so much.

  11. Gilbert Wham says:

    If for nothing else, I love you for ever for the ‘want to get high’ pun.

  12. NumberCruncher says:

    Brilliant… Just brilliant…

  13. insomniac says:

    “she’s going to lay a beat down!”

  14. Thylacine says:

    Thanks for the latest episode (I was going blue in the face!). Uplifting art!

    You have a dedicated band of followers from the “Birmingham Steamgoon” community, ever since we discovered that Charles Babbage was a passenger aboard Nathaniel Ogle’s steam carriage in 1833. There were also “ladies” present, so it is just possible that one of them was our dearly beloved Ada Lovelace. :)

  15. Terry Pitt-Brooke says:

    for the truly enhanced commentary, you should have used the Augmented triad, although its famously bitter sound would not be in tune with the cheery tone of your Art. The Diminished does have a delightfully “silent film; steam locomotive bearing down on trussed-up maiden” sound. As to “treble”, I’m sure many of your faithful readers have no idea THAT WAS A RECORDER PUN!! And that Lady Lovelace is in deep sopranino already!

    T’ing Chih! My compliments on putting in some intelligible Chinese in as well! And with an expression worthy of The Magic Flute!

    All the best in recovering magnetisms of all sorts in your Danish sojourn!

    Terry Pitt-Brooke

  16. Tarliman says:

    Brava! Brava! Betwixt the puns and the historical references and the complaint of the Mandarin speaker, a brilliant performance. Incidentally, I witnessed a similar situation whilst in London, at the Chambali in Russell Square. A customer addressed the waiter in French, and was offended that the waiter didn’t understand such a widely spoken language. The waiter, impeccably polite, asked the customer if he spoke Hindustani, which was spoken by ten times as many people as French, and the conversation continued in English, with a much abashed customer.

  17. Alys says:

    I love the alliteration at the beginning! And “treble” – ha HA!!! And it’s so sweet how Ada covers the Chinese girl with her cloak; that’s a very nice touch. An excellent comic yet again! Thank you.

  18. Mary Ellen says:

    Go, Ada, go! Stun ‘em with charts, stupefy ‘em with FACTS!

    Would I be anticipating some sort of could-be denouement, or maybe even rapprochement, if I observed that mathematicians, dear Babbage notwithstanding, often adore music at least partly because they’re mathematicians? I’ve heard it said that mathematicians can appreciate, say, Bach in ways denied to non-numerists.

  19. Judy says:

    But the most important question, is when are you going to collect all of Lovelace and Babbage’s adventures into a book?!

  20. Ceridwen says:


    And, Puns!

    And, Welsh! W i’n dysgu Cymraeg, you know. (btw, IMO, Calon Lan is Sian James’s best YouTube offering.)

    Of course, I want the tee-shirts – the get high/treble panel, the some time later panel and the Ar Lan y Mor panel. I live for tee-shirts. I really need to check the site’s store.

  21. nekokami says:

    mphf – snort – mrhhAAhHaAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!
    Oh my word, I needed that today. Thank you. :D

  22. TuringTest says:

    AWE! AWE! AWE! And then some!

    There’s a bio page of Sydney Padua at Wikipedia now. Is that flattery enough for the next update (comic or the sporadic vignette, anything does) to come in the following month?

  23. Nimrod1943 says:

    Note to self: learn other languages (like Welsh)
    “Gasp” “Charts!” -Ahahaha!
    Grand as always!!! :)

  24. Jha says:

    I lost my shit at “I passed the written part”. Mostly because I’ve been working on a story which features scholar-gentry.

    “GASP! CHARTS!!!”

  25. jalf says:

    Squeeee, my heroine is in Denmark. If the Animation Workshop wasn’t in the wrong end of the country I’d so want to meet up and buy you a few nice Danish beers. Oh well. Hope you enjoy your stay. Viborg isn’t the most exciting place to be, but (judging from the two former students from AnimWorks that I know), the students are a pretty nice bunch, who can usually be persuaded to go for a beer and/or draw comics. ;)

  26. jf says:

    I’m always impressed by the erudition of this comic, particularly that you took the trouble to get the Chinese
    “??” right. I’m not familiar with the style of calligraphy, though ;-)

  27. jf says:

    Agh does ?? come out any better?

  28. John says:

    Oh, dear, I managed to fall behind in reading this! Oh, what has my life come to!?

    Anyway, “she told us it was a real word!” was so close to being my favorite moment, until the chart ZIPped down from nowhere. In college, my roommates and I used to dream of the day when we could have useful charts at our fingertips.

    Oh, and I played the violin during Junior High. Given my skill level at the time and the years passed since unpracticed, we should totally avoid jamming, sometime!

    (Seriously, though, don’t worry about the delays. This is fun. If it’s not fun for you, then what’s the point? And a couple of months to wait is nothing in a world when other things show up faster than they can be filtered out, and hey, it gives me an excuse to re-read the old episodes to get re-acquainted.)

  29. teppelina says:

    Wow, you’re in Denmark? Copenhagen, I take it? That’s awesome :D I hope you enjoy your stay, we’re really quite nice people. Mostly.

  30. Jonathan says:

    Oh good lord. I’ve just discovered this comic thanks to a link from Will’s Commonplace Book. Now I am awestruck. Between the instant chart and “I smell steam!” panel much earlier I am completely unable to choose the higher genius. And, you know, about three hundred other moments and lines. Thankyou so much for doing this, it’s marvellous.

  31. sydney says:

    Thanks for all the kind words everyone! I found this episode really slow to gel for some reason, I’m glad to hear it worked!

    Terry –>for the truly enhanced commentary, you should have used the Augmented triad

    CURSES! I shall have to update that gag for the directors cut dvd extras edition of the comic.

    Jah –>Mostly because I’ve been working on a story which features scholar-gentry.

    Heh– I was thinking of the famous exams of Imperial China! In my head the Triads are busking around Europe and procrastinating on studying.

    Jalf–>Viborg isn’t the most exciting place to be..

    What?? With the cardboard box factory museum right around the corner (I’m not making that up)?? Viborg is actually a very lovely and relaxing place and the students are adorable, shame we can’t meet up! Someday I will have to get to Copenhagen.

    John –> I played the violin during Junior High. Given my skill level at the time and the years passed since unpracticed, we should totally avoid jamming, sometime!

    What could be more delightful than an amateur violin-and-piccolo duet!

  32. Terry Pitt-Brooke says:

    Perhaps an amateur violin-piccolo-banjo trio?

  33. ShaunOTD says:

    Well worth the wait, as always – the dialogue with the Triads is priceless!

  34. jalf says:

    Oh man. They have a cardboard box factory museum? I retract my statement!

  35. Ceridwen says:

    If you bring the violin, piccolo and banjo, I’ll drag along the guitar and accordion. We can go for coffee and pretend we jammed.

  36. Ken says:

    Covering the sleeping Triad with her cloak is a priceless detail.

  37. Mary Ellen says:

    If you cats are going to avoid jamming, could I avoid coming too? I once got a firm round of applause at a folk festival campfire with my kazoo fantasia on “The Stars & Stripes Forever”…

    Sydney’s love of erudite detail (not to mention the invisible backstories – busking round Europe to avoid Imperial exams, yeh!) adorn this comic like candles on an old-time Yule tree.

  38. paul says:

    I can’t stop laughing at don’t want any treble. what a hilarious comic.

  39. Meredith says:

    Clearly I need to move in much nerdier circles, as I have just discovered this BRILLIANT comic.

    Happiness! Joy! Rapture! And other over-the-top adverbs (I think, since they are not really describing the subject of the sentence…)

    And as if Footnotes, Math Fairies, (almost) Flying Monkeys and Lady Lovelace, Poetry Slayer were not enough, THERE ARE RANDOM WELSH HARPISTS!!

    Madame, I adore you and hope you update soon!

    Many thanks,

  40. Riz says:

    “Wanna get high?” / “I’m not looking for treble.”

    I’m not looking… for treble…!
    It’s probably ridiculous how funny I found this particular pun, but I absolutely love it.

    (I’m well aware I’m three years late in commenting on this comic (just refound your website on Ada Lovelace Day) but I had to share my joy!)

  41. Gareth Ernst says:

    The tin whistle dealer is GENIUS! :)

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