Montgolfiere Weekly

An exploration of culture in its many forms



Ada Lovelace: adventures in dystopia

by Amy Flora

Last week I had the good fortune of attending the Ada Lovelace Symposium held at the University of Oxford in celebration of Ada’s 200th birthday. There was a series of brief lectures on Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, covering a broad series of topics: the “analytical engine”, Charles’s notorious grumpiness, Ada’s alleged drug addiction, etc. Unlike the now internationally celebrated “Ada Lovelace Day,” held on the second Tuesday of October, the symposium took a more critical view of Ada Lovelace and her legacy. Continue reading “Ada Lovelace: adventures in dystopia”

How I learned to listen: on ten years of writing music criticism

by Conrad Amenta

Note: This post has appeared on LinkedIn and Cokemachineglow.

About ten years ago, at the age of twenty-five and while visiting my parents over the Christmas holidays, I sat down at the computer in their study and submitted an application to write music reviews for Cokemachineglow. Over the intervening decade I would write about two hundred reviews and essays, dedicating what must have been thousands of hours to molding my unsolicited opinion into 500-word communiqués to a vaguely understood readership. It’s in the spirit of decathlonial retrospection that I find myself asking why I would ever do such a thing. Continue reading “How I learned to listen: on ten years of writing music criticism”

Tweeting the west wind

by Pat Rich

One of my main activities on social media for the last few years has been to follow on Twitter the life of a man who dies each year and is then reborn to die again the following year.

No, not him.

I’m referring to perhaps Canada’s only truly iconic artist — Tom Thomson. Continue reading “Tweeting the west wind”

Small Appreciations

Just Kids by Patti Smith

It’s the commitment that is the most striking aspect of Patti Smith’s memoir. That is, her commitment to the pursuit of art through hunger, sleeping rough and squalid living conditions in New York in the late sixties and the beginning of the seventies. That commitment was inspired by a rare family trip to the Museum of Art in Philadelphia when she was 12, where “…secretly I knew I had been transformed, moved by the revelation that human beings create art, that to be an artist was to see what others could not.” Continue reading “Small Appreciations”

Interesting links

Search on for “Soviet-era bootleg music recorded on discarded X-ray plates” to find a short piece about how “[u]nable to get hold of vinyl, the audio dissidents used home-made lathes to press recordings onto X-ray plates salvaged from hospitals.” There is a link to X-RAY AUDIO, Continue reading “Interesting Links”

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