The Organist Pt 3

This entry is part 3 of 12 in the series The Organist

So,  this took way too long.  Also, it’s very disorganized and I’m not thrilled with a lot of the transitions, but I comfort myself with the thought this is not an actual comic, merely a theoretical comic. Anyways, let us not loose sight of what’s really important, which is, WE WON THE HOCKEY.

On to The Organist Part 4!


— The tableau of exploding street musicians is a wee tribute to Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom, possibly the greatest animated short of all time.. it’s also notable (Babbage includes this important information in some of his little charts of the street music menace) that a large portion, or at least a visible one, of the street musicians of London were foreigners.

With that in mind, a little 2dgoggles soundtrack for you:

Hurdy Gurdy:



— The modest lineup of scientist there waiting for the Difference Engine includes George Airy, Babbage’s real-life nemesis, who I’m happy to say looks suitably Scrooge-like in his caricatures (centre of the 3rd row down). Also Michael Faraday, there’s some sort of thing where he was supposedly bad at math that I’m totally running with, at the very least he told told Babbage that he ‘could not understand his great work’. Next to Faraday is Mary Sommerville, if anyone in the history of science ever screamed ‘KNITTER’ it was she.. she was a good friend of both Lovelace and Babbage and there’s plenty I could write about her but geez these notes are already huge.

And next to her is Darwin (good call on the beard there Darwin), I couldn’t resist that quote of his because it’s the most freaking’ adorable quotation ever:

I have been much amused with an account I have received of the wars of Don Roderick & Babbage— what a grievous pity it is that the latter should be so implacable, & if one might so call the calculating machine, so very silly.

The only possible response to that is, :D!!!!!!

— You wouldn’t think that quote would be toppable but check out this letter from Brunel to some poor bastard:

“Plain gentlemanly language seems to have no effect upon you. I must try stronger language and stronger measures. You are a cursed, lazy, inattentive, apathetic vagabond, and if you continue to neglect my instructions and to show such infernal laziness, I shall send you about your business. I have frequently told you, amongst other absurd, untidy habits, that that of making drawings on the backs of others was inconvenient; by your cursed neglect of that you have again wasted more of my time than your whole life is worth, in looking for the altered drawings you were to make of the station they won’t do.”

HAHAHA If I worked for Brunel I would be SO FIRED.

— ‘confound you all’ is from source for all goodness in this comic, Babbage’s autobiography, the quotation on the frontsipiece is “I’m a philosopher. Confound them all— Birds, beasts, and men ; but no, not womankind.” From, as fate would have it, Byron’s Don Juan.

— Just a reminder for those using the comic as a source for their history papers, the Prime Minister during the 1830s and 40s was actually Robert Peel, helpfully pre-caricatured for me by various Punch cartoonists (which is good because he’s not very funny looking as Victorians go). Robert Peel is most famous for founding the first (non-mathematical) police force, which is why the London Constabulary are known as “Bobbies” or “Peelers”. I guess Babbage and Lovelace are therefore referred to as “Wellies”.

Wellington’s explanation of being more prominent in this comic on account of being ‘cooler’ shows his rudimentary understanding of the physics of the Pocket Universe– our current advanced understanding of this subject can best be expressed by the well-known equation that applies also to our own universe:


except in the Pocket Universe the ‘E’ represents ‘Entertainment Value’. It is thus not surprising that the massiest objects in the PU are Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace, because they are really, REALLY entertaining. Incidentally this provides an explanation for what some of you may be wondering, viz., what has become of Lovelace’s husband, Lord Lovelace. After exhaustive investigations I have determined that his Entertainment Value or E is precisely zero. Hence, according to the above equation, either his mass, or the speed of light, must therefore also be zero, and if the speed of light was zero then you wouldn’t be able to see the comic.

Work is picking back up so comic production remains MOST INEFFICIENT and full of ERRORS, but then you all knew that didn’t you? But at some point, we finally meet The Organist:

On to The Organist Part 4!

Series NavigationBack to the Previous Gripping Episode!Next Thrilling Installment!


  1. Peter Judge on November 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    I have not read the whole story yet, but feel sure that Charles Wheatstone should be involved.
    As a mathematician and scientist he invented to the Playfair cypher and the Wheatstone Bridge (and helped found what became BT).

    But he also patented the English concertina – a form of street musical instrument to which I feel sure Babbage would have objected (and given its later association with the Salvation Army, folk musicians and Morris dancers, I fear he would not have been alone).

  2. Charlotte on February 12, 2011 at 2:58 am

    This is all so glorious I may cry.

  3. Me on June 6, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    loose sight?!

  4. […] On to The Organist Part 3 […]

  5. Inconstant Reader on March 31, 2010 at 12:24 am

    The city may be less fabulous, but this comic isn’t. I second (third? fourth?) all the accolades for the bird. And, of course, Brunel.

  6. insomniac on March 29, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    “since Babbage began his reign of terror, this city becomes daily less fabulous“…

    the organist is sir elton john?

  7. Roberto Keller on March 28, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    As always, absolutely brilliant!!

  8. EFH on March 27, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Pure awesomeness. We missed you Sydney.

  9. Killaaahh on March 18, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    Absolutely Brilliant. Keep up the good work.

    The world still runs on STEAM !!! hahahaha


    “I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success… Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything.”
    – Nikola Tesla

  10. Porosity on March 16, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Oh. Oops. Didn’t see the link to part 3.

  11. David H. on March 11, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    I adore your Brunel, and really like the way you’ve balanced out his appearances — he’s not on-panel too often, so when he is on-panel his presence is pure concentrated awesome. I kind of want him to have an advice column, even though I know his answers for every problem would be “make it bigger,” “make it faster,” and “use more steam.”

    (And poor Ada. Minor trivia note: tapping on the arm of the chair for an extended duration was one of the frequent habits of Joseph Merrick, aka the Elephant Man. His doctor, Fredrick Treves, thought it a sign of Merrick’s frustrated musicality — Merrick’s difficulty speaking made him incapable of whistling, singing, or humming well — but looking back with the advantage of over a hundred years of advances, it’s well-recognized as a depressive’s tic.)

  12. Estara on March 11, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    I take whatever you have time for, and have been enthusiastically linking you at the Book Smugglers Steampunk week. For example here:Steampunk Week – Book Review: The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling

  13. Anon, a Mouse on March 11, 2010 at 2:04 am

    Too many notes? Which ones did you have in mind?!

    This episode is FABULOUS! An exploding tabla! Wellington! Peel! A young Darwin! Ada with POETRY! BRUNEL!!! And Babbage in what can only be described as a mad scientist state of mind… Absolute genius.

    Sorry, there are no intelligent contributions forthcoming. I’m just going to squee over your latest episode and all the footnotes and links!

  14. Bella Green on March 11, 2010 at 1:16 am

    Fantastico! Fantastico! I swear my I.Q. goes up every time I read this not-comic. Seriously, I can feel myself getting smarter!

    More Brunel, please! *squee* It seems to me they already have that 40s movie love-hate thing going on, from those scenes in The Economy.

    The bird! Hahaha! made me spit beer!! —

    Also, there can never be too many notes. Never.

  15. Ceridwen on March 10, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    Loved Wellington’s self-assessment.

    Lovedlovedloved Brunel! Alpha male – absolutely! I like the interplay between B, B&L, with a second being the watchful-when-present Wellington.

    The locked cupboard, the storm breaking over the house, the long, dark shadows and the Forbidden Book…

    On pins and needles for the next part. I may even pull one of those popular Victorian swoons.

  16. Brian on March 9, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    “Very well — where’s the other one?”

    Best line.

  17. Zen Trixter on March 9, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Do you realize just how grin inducing it was to play all three clips simultaneously while re-reading Pt III?

  18. Paul on March 8, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    This (non)comic is absurdly funny. Every episode so far has made me snigger to myself with geeky glee, but this episode made me laugh out loud more times than previously. This, of course, means that the comic is actually getting *funnier*.

    This concerns me, because I already suspect that my neighbors might think I’m a bit weird, and I’m worried that periods of silence punctuated by raucous laughter might persuade them that I’m actually mentally infirm.

    Of course, if the comic were to exist in a more tangible form (*hint hint*), I could read it at my leisure on a remote hilltop, or down a long-abandoned tin-mine, where loud laughter would not be considered remotely odd.

  19. Redshift on March 8, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    As always, well worth the wait!

    I fear to speculate what the Pocket Universe version of Darwin might be working on…

    And Eadwacer, can anyone really be held responsible for knee injuries in Morris dancers?

  20. mordicai on March 8, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    This not-comic comic is…amazing.

  21. Sara on March 8, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Brunel is the hottiest of hotties!
    Hello! How much more arrogant, macho and Alpha Dog could he be! I suggest that Brunel and Lovelace need to have a subtext of love/hate ala 40’s hollywood movies.

    One of the best part of the comic is the notes. I love the notes!

  22. Marrock on March 8, 2010 at 2:06 pm


  23. John on March 8, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    “We all agreed I was cooler, so I win.” Two thoughts:

    First, if that’s really the way it works, then there should be a certain animator/amateur historian as Prime Minister. Huzzah! Or am I not allowed to huzzah myself?

    Second, that also appears to be how politics works in the United States. That’s the only way I can explain it to people outside the country, because nobody believes the “the taller guy always wins” theory any more.

    And the bird, indeed, is brilliant. Err, you were brilliant for adding the bird, rather. I don’t have any way to measure the bird’s intellect, since you’ve tied up the Difference Engine.

    Oh, right. We might be fine if the speed of light dropped to zero. As we wait, and we drum our fingers like poor Ada up there, our faces approach infinitessimal distances from the screen. This should explain…but totally doesn’t:

  24. tikitu on March 8, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Now that was worth waiting for.

    The only reason I didn’t spit milk on my keyboard was that I happened to be between spoons when I noticed the bird. The bird! Genius!

    Can I add an instrument to the soundtrack? The Swedish nyckelharpa is something like a hurdy-gurdy on steroids crossbred with a violin. Video with bonus shush:

    (On your transitions: the Brunel scene is perfection itself. Seriously.)

  25. Smallpotato on March 8, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Heee! And isn’t Brunel totally Miles Gloriosus? (‘Stand aside, everyone! I take large steps!’)
    And Babages’ face when Brunel shoots up to him! And Robert Peel and Wellington! And all the mathematicians/scientists! *sigh!* Nothing wrong with your transitions, luv. The comic is brilliant as ever and really works like a comic should.

  26. Smallpotato on March 8, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Ada, Ada, Ada… Just Say No!

    Love Brunel’s… erector set. No way is this compensation, is it? Not Brunel!

    *giggles like the fangirl she is*

  27. Robin on March 8, 2010 at 7:13 am

    I was so excited to Brunel charging down the street!!! Great stuff! Thanks for putting in all the work so I can have a few minutes of enjoyment!!!

  28. MadRat on March 8, 2010 at 7:04 am

    BRUNELLLLLL!! I imagine if he were a regular character in 2D Goggles he would be working on building a ship the size of an island or a bridge across the Atlantic Ocean or a rail line faster than a Japanese bullet train. There was a real life event where he was in the tunnel under the Thames he and his father had designed, the wall was collapsing, the river was rushing in and everyone was running for their lives… while he stood and watched it in fascination. They pulled his unconscious body out of the flooded tunnel (thinking he was dead) seconds before he would have drowned.

  29. Meghan Wilson on March 8, 2010 at 5:07 am

    I absolutely love Brunel in this one. He kicks so much ass

  30. Eadwacer on March 8, 2010 at 3:15 am

    So, how does Babbage’s CCTV tell the difference between a slowly played tabla and the clipclop of a horse? Or the rumble of a bass erhu and a rolling barrel of bass? And will he be held responsible for knee injuries in Morris dancers? Inquiring minds want to know.

  31. Tim Jones on March 8, 2010 at 2:08 am

    I, too, will have to part company with Babbage, at least if erhu are to be affected by his dastardly device. Erhu sound wonderful. They are the instrument for which the word “plangent” was invented.

    I am concerned about Lovelace, as she appears to have grasped Poetry as a class, rather than any individual instance of it. I fear this may be too much for even her redoubtable mind.

  32. Bob Bruhin on March 8, 2010 at 2:01 am

    Darwin is my favorite!!

  33. Jha on March 8, 2010 at 1:42 am