Friday, March 10, 2006

On Accusing My Girlfriend of Being Rude About Other People on the Internet

When seeing a post on that said about Stewart Lee:

He's not funny, or pushing any boundaries. He's just dull. Laura 05.10.05

I thought, aha! I bet I know which Stewart-Lee-disliking-Laura who saw him on his Autumn 2006 90s Comedian tour this was. And I sent my girlfriend an email in no uncertain terms accusing her of writing this and what had she got to say for herself, eh?

Of course, she denies it. But what are the chances of there being two Lauras (a name ranked 92nd most popular for girls born in 2001) who saw Stewart Lee around this time? Eh? OK, probably quite high. Let's say about 1000 people saw him at his Soho Theatre shows then, and probably about 650 of these were boys, because, let's face it, nerdy deadpan scatalogical highbrow humour is something that appeals to boys more. Let's say that 3 or the 350 women were called Laura. This leads me to believe (based on a statistically insignificant base, with numbers made up off the top of my head, on a Friday afternoon when I've had quite a tiring day at work) that a shocking 2/3 or more of Lauras actively dislike Stewart Lee, with some even going to the lengths of posting things on the internet about it, which I believe is some kind of difficult and technical thing involving computers and code and hacking. If I were Stewart Lee (and the chances are that I aren't), I would be less worried about Christians hating him than Lauras hating him.

Or Christian Lauras. I'm going to sit and make up statistics about Christians now. I'll probably be some time...

Expect there to be a rash of articles on Monday morning proclaiming '96% of All
Church-Going Christians Are Called Laura (and That's Just the Boys!!!)'.

Enjoy your respective weekends, freeeeks.


  1. I guess we can assume that we have a guassian distirbution of lauras' opinions of Stewrt Lee, ranging from "not too bothered" to "really really hate him" - the mean being "quite like". Therefore your 3 out of 350 Laura's is really 3 plus or minus 0.15 (0.15 being one standard deviation) and therefore 2/3rds of Lauras disliking Steward Lee can be said with a 95% confidence level. Is that right?
    You did A level maths jim, you should know!
    I think you also need to do a chi squared test to prove the significance of the two to three ratio for completeness. Then you'll be ready to publish.

  2. Firstly, long experience has taught me that we can't assume anything about Lauras, perhaps least of all that they conform to gaussian distributions.

    Secondly, I did do A-Level maths, but I'm seriously worried that at the current rate of knowledge loss I'll be innumerate by my mid-thirties, illiterate at 40, unable to remember how to walk and eat by 42 and living my life by horoscopes by 45.

    I don't think I'm going to be able to hold onto my Chair in Advanced Made-Up Numbers at the Correspondence University of Severn Sisters Road much longer. Do you want it Keri? Very prostigious. You will have a fully carpeted office located conveniently above a launderette. CVs via me, please.

  3. I too am rapidly losing any knowledge gleaned from my A-level maths, but could you not use a Poisson distribution on the number of Lauras in the audience? Since the number is likely to be low, but in theory it could be endless... Er, hang on, no it can't - there a finite number of audience memebers - bugger! Maybe you could use a binomial expansion, the p/q (is that right?) ratio worked out from the popularity of the name Laura in whatever year she was born. Still, you'd have to also work out the average age of the hecklers, sorry, fans and whether or not the like/hate graph was a normal bell curve, or skewed (probably significantly) towards the hate end of the scale...
    Oh, sod it, just make it up Jim, it's much more fun.

  4. ...ah....but do lauras obey quantum physics? If they do the chance of determining any probablity of them disliking anyone is now imply IMPOSSIBLE to determine since they obey Heisenberg's uncertainty principle: you can't know their position AND views on Stewart Lee simultaneously. Since we know their position (in the audience) we can never know what they think............

  5. Was your girlfriend born in 2001? You pervert!

  6. I love you guys of crouch end. I really do. I see famous people

  7. I'm concerned about the number of assumptions being made about Lauras. As Mr 'Tash rightly acknowledged nothing should be assumed about the Laura species.

    Although I would say that the quick wit and sparkling good taste universally exhibited in Lauras (see Dr Robert Winston's volume on "Superhumans: the Laura Phenomenon")would leave them predisposed to disliking Stewart Lee and only a foolish, foolish non-Laura would force a Laura to see the "90s Comedian".

    Furthermore there have been isolated instances of kamikaze non-Lauras taking Stewart Lee merchandise into the household of a Laura. I would seriously advise against this course of action...

    Few survive the chemical reaction which occurs when a whiff of Stewart Lee meets a Laura. Those that live to tell the tale tend to go on to miserable passive existences eating only mushrooms fried in their own juice, surrounded by goldfish bowls filled with filthy small change, and watching a looped video of Ben Elton. Pitiful.

  8. Hmm, I think we can all hazard a reasonable guess at the first name and gender of the person who just posted that Laura-obsessed entry.

    Thanks for all the maths, people. You'll all be credited as co-authors, which means you get to share in the ignominy and professional shame that I'll get when I publish my 500-page report on 'Stewart Lee Hatred Predilection Amongst the Laura Population'. The anger will mainly be generated by the fact that I spend 450 pages of the report making beagles smoke, because I thought it would make the report more scientificky. And also beagles enjoy smoking, and they look cool doing it.