There's an interesting snippet in the paper today about an Italian stamp being issued bearing the face of Luigi Calabresi, a policeman assassinated in 1972. So far, so good - a memorial to a murdered official is unsurprising - but the story's better than that. Three years earlier the anarchist railway worker Pino Pinelli had fallen to his death from Calabresi's office window, inspiring Dario Fo's comic masterpiece Accidental death of an anarchist, which is set in a police station just after a similar incident. Pinelli was being questioned about a bombing immediately before his departure from the building, and the suspicion was that it hadn't been as accidental as Calabresi maintained.
It would seem odd for most governments to issue a stamp commemorating as controversial a figure, but Sylvio's not really known for his tactful approach. The bombing that Pinelli was being questioned about, incidentally, was eventually found to have been planted by an extreme-right group rather than anarchists - he wasn't involved. Calabresi's death was pinned on three leftists. Apparently their conviction is controversial also, but a leftwing motivation for that killing seems likely.
If you havent seen the play, then you're missing something good. I've seen it twice on stage and once on television (an excellent version that I've never noticed being repeated - I've no idea why). It's a stunning, wickedly funny and at times brutal satire with obvious relevance to dubious interrogation practices today. One of the stage versions I saw had Craig Ferguson giving a very memorable performance as the Maniac (who impersonates an investigating magistrate) , at one point climbing the lighting rig to berate the audience from above.
Yesterday I got a big fat A4 envelope in the work post. My boss brought it through and asked nervously if there was anything we needed to talk about. I said I thought it was to do with the Genetics Society thing on Saturday that I won't shut up about, and it was insofar as it was loads of brochures about Edinburgh Uni's conference facilities (presumably in case I feel the need to organise one sometime). It hadn't really occurred to me that he might be particularly worried by the prospect of me leaving.
Six magpies by the road on the way in this morning. Two pairs making aggressive swoops at each other, and a third pair flying past overhead, blissfully uninvolved. Is that Gold or is that Joy, Joy, Joy? Are any of you experts on such things?
I've just had another mail, saying that ABI BigDye v3.1 kits (warning - 400k PDF) are available for only 400 quid, which is presumably quite a way down on when we started using them two or three years ago. That's quite a lot for something like a millilitre of actual go juice. And we used to get through it like water. By the time I left, the Sanger was doing between three and four million reactions a month. Seeing something like that brings a lot back. Happy days, in some ways. Not enough ways, though.