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Alan Turing – The Creator

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On Saturday I went to the UK premiere of “The Creator”. An Abandon Normal Devices preview commissioned by the Cornerhouse and Creative England, coinciding with Alan Turing’s 100th anniversary and the Olympic Torch’s visit to Manchester.

“The Creator” explores the legendary myth behind Turing using CGI to take us into his mind and last days. We see him lay on a therapy couch playing out an imagined conversation with his Jungian psychiatrist just before his death. The film plays out the myth of Turing spinning on the tragic fairytale end, blurring together the tides of history and myth. Al and Al the creators of “The Creator” explore the extreme contrast between arriving from a point of rational mathematics, to the heightened sense of the world and otherness Turing experienced during his time lived in Manchester. Here the narrative shows the computers as sophisticated “thinking machines” who want to discover their originator, juxtaposed against their originator’s mind that has been warped with suicidal thoughts through his arrest and conviction for being gay. The film was fitting in helping me reflect on what I know about Turing, what a fascinating figure he was and the injustice of his end in life.

I didn’t know of Turing till I was healthily into double figures, in fact the first time I think I’d heard of him was when I walked through Sackville Gardens in Manchester and saw his statue sat on the bench. I learnt that Turing is often hailed as the father of modern computing and that he was chemically castrated for being gay. I became morbidly fascinated by the fact that he took his own life through eating an apple laced with cyanide, because of the obvious Snow White connotations and on a more personal note because I knew someone who was collecting the seeds from apples because of the cyanide they contain to try and kill cancer. The story of Alan Turing is such an intriguing mythologised tale that my quest to know more about him and his work will definitely continue and undoubtedly it will do for a much wider audience with the centenary and also the rumours that Leonardo Dicaprio is set to play him in a new biopic!

Turing was only 41 years old when he died, born in 1912 he worked as a code breaker during World War II. It was in 1948 he came to Manchester to work in the Maths department at the University. Here he created what we know as the “Turing test”, a test for measuring how intelligent a machine is. Turing’s idea was that a computer could be said to “think” if a human could not tell it apart from another human being through conversation. It was in 1952 that Turing was investigated by the police for his relationship with another man, he was faced with the choice between a prison sentence or oestrogen injections that would cause him to become impotent and grow breasts. Turing was left unable to work and found dead in 1954 with a half eaten apple by his bedside table. The cause of Turing’s death was cyanide poisoning and the conclusion was that he had taken his own life through eating an apple laced with cyanide , though the apple was never tested.

Now 58 years on, Turing’s death has been called into question again by Turing expert Prof Jack Copeland. The myth of Turing’s life and death will continue to be surrounded in uncertainty and speculation, because of the fascinating mind that carried out extraordinary creations.


Stockport Silver Beer Festival

Round one. After three years of coming to Stockport beer festival, I was pleasantly surprised that this year I made it to the opening day, when the beer supplies were not in danger of running out. First 1/3 had to be Quantum, AAA 5 %, style: American Amber Ale, launched for its debut at the festival by good friend of mine and Port St; Mister Jay Krause. It was really good, deliciously hoppy with Bravo and Summit whilst staying true to its name with a rich Amber colour, it went down a treat and so I went back for another half. Ordinarily my rule is to move on, but this was extra special. Over to a nip on the dark side, which came highly recommended by the Port St crew Pied Bull, Black Bull Porter 5.2%, with an amazing sophisticated dry smokiness to it. I went from excellence to a mere ick with a nip of Off Beat, Way Out Wheat 4.5%, style: watered down coriander, so I plucked for 1/2 of the Outstanding, Silver Magnet 4%, brewed especially for the beer festival and The Magnet Freehouse, Stockport. This was a real good palate cleanser, on the nose a whiff of citrus, a really good example of a session ale that has something more complex going on. Next to a pass on by my sister, who was battling her way through. I had no problem with this amply malty Hardknott, Infra Red IPA 6.5% with Cascade and Centennial hops and Crystal malt leading to a rich ruby hue. Moving nicely onto the dark, Summer Wine, Barista Espresso Stout 4.8%. I’m a big fan of Dark Star, Espresso 4.2%, so this had some to live up to; I was not disappointed as this coffee stout had everything going for it. It was bitter as decent coffee brewed with ground Arabica, dark and not too creamy, there was nothing forced about the taste. Last one for the night Acorn, Simcoe IPA 5%, always a nice move, this is the 4th in their second series of American IPA’s, golden in colour and taste.

There were plenty more to try with 150 beers, ciders and perrys, they hadn’t put any Marble on yet and I like to try the Summer as it changes year by year. I never got round to some of the good old faithful brewery’s like Dark Star and Thornbridge, so I made up for this with a delightful Friday evening in Port St where they had on the exceptionally good Ramsgate, Common Conspiracy 4.8%: Amber American Ale. I tried a nip but alas it ran out, only to be replaced by Thornbridge, Sequoia 4.5%, which was excellent. I made up for Summer in bottle form, with Brooklyn, Summer Ale 5%, delightfully good on what felt like the hottest day of the year.

Large beer festivals are always a strange occasion, as they are most definitely about drinking the beer and the chances to talk about it are quashed by the masses. It was good to see a large selection of old and new beers on at Stockport that were more than your average. They had a wide variety of ciders and perrys, which although are not for me are great for those who prefer these to the ale. The next beer festival I will go to will be at The Albert Club in West Didsbury, as it was a real hidden gem last year and quiet enough to sit in the bowling green with time to ponder the flavours. There won’t be as many beers to try, but it’s free entry and definitely worth a couple of pints, 24th-26th June.

For a full listing of the beers that were on at this year’s festival go to http://www.stockportfestival.org.uk/BeerList.pdf

And for the flyer that advertises the West Didsbury beer festival http://www.thealbertclub.co.uk/home/noticeboard

 A blog post for http://portstreetbeerhouse.co.uk/blog/

Twitter Follow @babamonchichi @portstreetbeer


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