Dear Friends

DF 30 - Caramba competition results

May 2003

Dear Friends

Competition results:

Thanks to those of you who sent entries, we had a massive response. As you may have guessed, we did not have in mind a single, definitive answer to the question... What is the time?

So, we were looking for something original or touching or witty, (always remembering that brevity is the soul of wit - Ed)

A large number replied '5.17pm', and an equally large number replied 'Now'; both correct in a literal sense.

Some sent poems, some sent theses, and some sent indecent proposals. Some sent bribes and some copied out whole sections from school text books.

We thank those entrants for whom English is not your native language; we spent extra time to make sure of understanding them.

It was a stimulating challenge to find the winners, and we have ended up with two first prizes and three second prizes, because we could not separate them. The third prize was awarded because of the third paragraph in the answer.

We started a pile of MIDs (mentioned in despatches) for high quality contenders but that got dumped as we passed one hundred.

So once again thank you all. Look forward to meeting you prize winners at your choice of concert.

Cheers, ig

Question: What is the time?

1st prizes:

VIP package, two tickets and backstage passes for any Deep Purple show,
plus a signed galley print copy of IG's new (and as yet unreleased) book.

  • From: (Karin Wieslander)

    This is the time when I see an unscholarly but mighty leader invading the country of another of the same, but not quite as mighty, and the living little people suffer.

    And the world stands by watching in anxiety and anger, powerless while money talks.

    This is the time when cherry blossoms spring and blackbirds sing. And three pairs of jackdaws nest in our chimney. Nature calls upon its power to heal and lift the spirit of troubled minds.

    This is the time to let music fill your mind.


  • From: (John Rice)

    Any problems I may (or may not) face with answering this question stem not from the relatively simple use of the noun "time", but from the perplexing insistence of the questioner on using the definite article "the". "What is time?" would be a relatively simple question, just ask Einstein or Douglas Adams! OK, so the answer would have to acknowledge such currently unprovable concepts as quantum flux, and it might have to account for the existence of multiple parallel universes, or even deal with questions of philosophy, faith and general all-round existence ... but it would be conceptually contemplatable.

    "What is the time," on the other hand, is a real pig of a question! Its a nasty slippery little interrogative that changes every time you ask it (or get asked). As a phrase, it is filled with doubt and disquiet. Despite the obvious desire to fix down something specific, to produce a definitive, once-and-for-all answer and to stop time from moving on, there is also a perverse little undercurrent in the words, revealing (though it might prefer to conceal) a fear that "time" might -- at some point (or points) -- just forget about being linear, pack its bags, and float away in several directions at once. My favourite time? Mostly, I'd say next week, but often I don't think so when I get there.

    John Rice

2nd prizes:

VIP package, two tickets and backstage passes for any Deep Purple show.

  • From: (Poustie, Richard)

    The Time is a British newspaper for the sibilantly-challenged.

  • From: (Hadden, Colin)

    Actually a very deep and meaningful question.

    Where I am (The Land Down Under) it is 10.32am Wednesday 23rd April.

    In California it is 5.32pm Tuesday 22nd April.

    In Ian's backyard it is time for a beer and archery practice.

    In Steve's cockpit it is time for guitar practice.

    In Paicey's stables it is time for a bet.

    In Roger's bathroom it is time to have the nose tattoo removed.

    In Don's lounge it is time to have a chat with Jon.

    In Jon's mind it is time to reflect on Tony Ashton and his good will.

    In Baghdad it is time to get back to life.

    In Queensland it is 1827.

    At Caramba it is time to accept the award for great website.

  • From: (Steve Boyd)

    Depends on what your definition of "is" is... Since time only exists in ones perception of it, I would have to suggest that time doesn't even really exist at all. I've certainly never seen it...

3rd prize:

A signed copy of IG's biography.

  • From: (Paul Ryan)

    What is the time?

    Time is a relative, abstract concept that cannot, by its very nature, be defined. Once an attempt is made to establish a definition of what the time is, the definition is immediately untrue. Perhaps a better question would be what is a time, as this imposes no definite article upon something which cannot be definite.

    The SI unit of time, the second, is based on the frequency of cesium 133. Before this unit was established, did seconds not exist? We live in a world of standardisation, wherein the whole of the UK is living on the same standard time, all in order to get the trains to run on time. What s wrong with a bit of approximation in life sometimes? We have more time on our hands than ever before, but we are so stressed about getting from a to b in the shortest possible time while life passes us by, or rather we pass life by!!

    The most annoying example of precision timing comes into music. Ever used Cubase, Pro Tools or any other digital music software? Why on earth would anybody want to nail down a tempo to the fourth decimal place!!!!? The beauty of music creation is the chaos factor, where mistakes (or musical inconsistencies!) become what used to be known as the feel. Please, gimme back some feel.

  • The usual rules were applied: The entries were arbitrarily judged by the Caramba team, and the winners' answers are published, as promised.

    Ian Gillan

    Copyright © Ian Gillan 2003

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