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Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:05 PM

A Music Homage to Gay Icon Alan Turing

London's electric, indie band Fiction is releasing its debut album, The Big Other, this March, and the final track, "The Apple," pays a modern musical homage to Alan Turing—whose tragic demise inspired band member Mike Barrett to write the song. "'It's one of the oldest songs on the album and has always been a favorite to play live," Barrett explained.

Turing was a brilliant UK mathematician during the 1930s-1950s, who was found guilty of "gross indecency" with another man back when British law condemned homosexual activity. He was given the difficult choice between being sent to prison or chemical castration. "He chose the latter and was forced to take female growth hormones, which inevitably had a grave effect on his body and mind," Barrett explained. "When he died two years later from cyanide poisoning, a half eaten apple was found next to his bed. Some suspect his suicide was a recreation of a scene from his favorite fairytale, Snow White."

Barrett shared that he first learned about Turing from reading his work on algorithms and his contribution at Bletchley Park—which during the WWII was the site of the UK's main decryption establishment, the Government Code and Cypher School. " subsequently read about his trial, and the circumstances of his death came as a bit of a surprise... Here’s a genius—a man that arguably invented the computer, who made a priceless contribution to defeating the Nazis—put on trial for his sexuality. Of course, countless others were tried in the UK, and continue to be around the world, but Turing’s story illustrated to me so graphically the sheer absurdity of prejudice, and 'The Apple' is a small attempt at understanding his personal torment at that time."

http://www.out.com/entertainment/music/2013/02/22/exclusive-music-homage-gay-icon-alan-turing

This is just one of the many reasons I am such a vocal activist in the LGBT community. This is only one of many many tragedies.

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Reply A Music Homage to Gay Icon Alan Turing (Original post)
William769 Feb 2013 OP
DreamGypsy Feb 2013 #1
William769 Feb 2013 #2
gollygee Feb 2013 #3
Starry Messenger Feb 2013 #4
DeschutesRiver Feb 2013 #5
indepat Feb 2013 #6

Response to William769 (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:41 PM

1. The lyrics and an audio are available at the link from the post.

Turing laid many of the cornerstones in our understanding of computability and also laid a foundation for mathematical biology. A great man.

For those of you who link video as well, I found this:

(you may also want to look at lyrics - clarity is good, but not great from the video)



Thanks for the post, W769.

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Response to DreamGypsy (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:47 PM

2. My pleasure.

And thanks for the video.

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Response to William769 (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:49 PM

3. What a tragic story



I had never heard of him, or that such a horrible law was being enforced in such a horrible way at so late a date. Thank you for posting about this.

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Response to William769 (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:08 PM

4. k&r

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Response to William769 (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 04:21 PM

5. I recently saw a movie about Turing, and then heard a RadioLab show about him shortly thereafter

and until then, I'd only associated him with computer science. The whole cruel farce of how society treated him, what it did to him, what it says about us, and yet the only thing I hear commonly mentioned credit for his contribution to computer science? How about what was done to him as a fellow human? What about further contributions from that brilliant mind that will never be, due to what was done to him as a human?

The whole story of his life was something I'd never known, until I saw the movie and it was tragic. That is such an understatement, even. I was also angry, and keep thinking "who does this to people?" But of course, it happens every day, in some form or fashion - I get that cruelty is part of human nature. Doesn't mean I have to be okay with it, or not shove back against it.

But I did find this esp. shocking to learn, and I taped the movie/special to share with dh, who was shocked to hear "the rest of the story" of a guy whose name and achievement we'd known of, but not of the barbarity of his treatment at the hands of his fellow citizens and country.

Thanks so much for sharing the news of this musical homage. I'd also read that it took until recently for Turing to posthumously receive a pardon for his "crimes" from the British government after some people pushed hard for it. Like they had to be pushed to do the right thing, even in this day and age, but that comes back to your point in a way, ie that people have to get vocal to right wrongs and avert tragedy wherever possible.

We've come far, but clearly the road is a long one on this and other issues.

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Response to William769 (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 09:12 PM

6. Too few of us know of his genius, the crucial role his contribution played in Allied victory

in WWII.

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