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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  1. Gareth Ernst on April 12, 2014 at 3:17 am

    The tin whistle dealer is GENIUS! :)

  2. Riz on October 25, 2013 at 10:15 am

    “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!)

    • Dee on January 15, 2016 at 6:48 pm

      That was a long way for a joke–couldn’t we have gotten the cleft notes version instead?
      My husband, ladies and gentlemen…
      *long suffering sigh…*

  3. Meredith on December 12, 2011 at 3:07 am

    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,

  4. paul on December 2, 2010 at 9:23 am

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

  5. Mary Ellen on November 16, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    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.

  6. Ken on November 16, 2010 at 4:58 pm

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

  7. Ceridwen on November 16, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    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.

  8. jalf on November 15, 2010 at 3:30 am

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

  9. ShaunOTD on November 14, 2010 at 10:31 am

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

  10. Terry Pitt-Brooke on November 14, 2010 at 6:01 am

    Perhaps an amateur violin-piccolo-banjo trio?

  11. sydney on November 13, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    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!

  12. Jonathan on November 10, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    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.

  13. teppelina on November 10, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    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.

  14. John on November 10, 2010 at 2:04 am

    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.)

  15. jf on November 7, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Agh does ?? come out any better?

  16. jf on November 7, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    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 ;-)

  17. jalf on November 7, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    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. ;)

  18. Jha on November 7, 2010 at 4:10 am

    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!!!”

  19. Nimrod1943 on November 7, 2010 at 12:42 am

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

  20. TuringTest on November 5, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    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?

  21. nekokami on November 5, 2010 at 8:24 pm

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

  22. Ceridwen on November 4, 2010 at 2:44 am


    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.

  23. Judy on November 4, 2010 at 2:32 am

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

  24. Mary Ellen on November 4, 2010 at 12:21 am

    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.

  25. Alys on November 3, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    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.

  26. Tarliman on November 3, 2010 at 11:41 am

    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.

  27. Terry Pitt-Brooke on November 3, 2010 at 6:17 am

    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

  28. Thylacine on November 3, 2010 at 5:22 am

    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. :)

  29. insomniac on November 3, 2010 at 2:52 am

    “she’s going to lay a beat down!”

  30. NumberCruncher on November 3, 2010 at 2:44 am

    Brilliant… Just brilliant…

  31. Gilbert Wham on November 2, 2010 at 9:32 pm

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

  32. Manjit Bedi on November 2, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    I really enjoy your work; thanks so much.

  33. Stephen on November 2, 2010 at 7:35 pm

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

  34. Wikkid X on November 2, 2010 at 7:21 pm

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

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

  35. Kaaz on November 2, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    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!!

  36. Peltier Cooler on November 2, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    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.

  37. Sara Davis on November 2, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    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!

  38. Roberto Keller on November 2, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Delightfully great! Love all the puns!

  39. Morris on November 2, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    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.

  40. Steve Gilmore on November 2, 2010 at 2:20 pm



  41. Craig Stuntz on November 2, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Wonderful! I love the tin whistle* dealer!

    *or are they flageolets…?