Perspective's a bitch, ain't it? That's me, second from the left. Yes. The short, grumpy one.
The Shadow Orchestra recently had a bunch of promo shots done, and we made the mistake of taking most of them standing up. I also made the mistake of standing next to Nick, who is approximately 18 feet tall, in most of them.
I never realise how short I am until I see myself in photographs. Being somewhat close to the ground in the area of height for most of my life, I should have figured it out by now, but it always takes me by surprise. Friends and colleagues are also taken aback when they realise quite how small I actually am (5 feet three quarters of an inch. That three-quarters of an inch is really important).
Sure I’m no supermodel, but there’s something about me that gives the impression of extra height. And, inspired by my trip to see Uncaged Monkeys at the Hammersmith Apollo last week (featuring my awesome sister Helen Arney doing her nerd-uke thing) and listening to Professor Brian “The Ladies Love” Cox expounding on the wonders of the cosmos, I’ve come up with the answer.
Suddenly it all makes sense. In our universe, there’s a whole bunch of stuff that scientists can’t account for. The universe actually appears to be bigger than it is when they measure it, but they can’t actually see the extra stuff that’s there.
This is Dark Matter which, admittedly, is a better name than “stuff”. I wonder what other names got nixed before they decided on that one – “Universe fluff”, “Tardis Juice”, “Macavity” …
Most physicists and cosmologists believe that dark matter exists – we just don’t have the tools to see or measure it yet. But it’s there.
To extrapolate (or is it interpolate, given that I’m smaller than the universe? I nver know) – because I appear to be bigger than I actually am, I must have a significant quantity of Dark Height.
Therefore I’m actually a 5’10” leggy Amazonian, instead of a rather dumpy nerd. You just can’t detect it yet.
PS: If you want to know more about dark matter and other mysteries of the universe, I’d recommend Michael Brooks’ brilliant 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense – it’s pretty much the only book with physics in it that I’ve ever actually enjoyed. Or finished.