“Er, hi, my name is Eli Thorne, that’s Thorne with a silent e. I used to do the trees.

Actually not just the trees; pretty much everything that grew and might move in a breeze. Also rivers and streams, and such like. Stuff that moved. Or morphed. Or moved and morphed, like clouds. If it was far enough away so’s you couldn’t see different pieces of it move, that’s usually focused at infinity for the photographers here, it was considered to be scenery and someone else did that, usually Eric. He could paint. It looked right when he did it. I couldn’t paint, but I could do movement right, so more of a choreographer perhaps.

Actually, clouds were a point of contention between Eric and I, er me. Clouds were at infinity, and Eric could paint beautiful, static clouds, but the buggers had to move and morph otherwise the scene looked wrong after a few minutes. Cue me.

I did try to channel essence of Eric into my clouds, and in fact I think we worked quite well together. He’d churn out a sequence of cloud snapshots assuming a prevaling wind from left to right, and then another sequence for a wind from front to back. I wrote some code to morph between each pair of static snapshots and stitched the two sequences of snapshots into a virtual, infinite 2D spread of clouds, able to scroll in any compass direction.

Depending on the scene’s wind conditions of the moment, the clouds would usually, after a while, move and morph to momentarily match one of Eric’s original paintings. A bit like that Channel 4 logo on tv where the camera swings by an arbitrary grouping of shapes which for just a frame or two align to give you a glimpse of the 4 before the illusion is lost again.

So, anyway, I like to think I’ve been giving Eric a little jolt of pleasure every few minutes for the last few years.

But, actually I digress, and already overusing the word ‘actually’. Sorry.

I’ve been asked to give this presentation at the last minute by Jen, who was scheduled for now, and who you were expecting, and to whom once again I am pathetically grateful. It is humbling to stumble along in the wake of someone so relentlessly better at being a decent human being.

Why me, and why now, I hear you ask? Or I would if we were taking questions at this stage. I know the standard format of this conference is to encourage questions at any time, but I would beg your indulgence to hold off for a wee bit. I’d like to get to a particular point, in about fifteen minutes, pretty much where my notes run out. I only had a couple of hours notice of this presentation. And I’ll have to start winging it. Right then I’ll be glad of your support in the form of questions and we can start down any avenues you find the most interesting or the least clear.

So, Why?

I think I may be able to shed light on what happened to the Chapps, and to confirm that something has in fact happened. I know there’s been lots of debate about this. If I am right, then there will be a bit of mea culpa soon, since the likelihood is that it came out of something myself and Jen worked on a few years ago.”