Sunday, October 19, 2008

The name is Levi Stubbs, sucker!

Today we say goodbye to Levi Stubbs, one of the legendary Four Tops and the voice of one of my favourite non-human film characters ever - Audrey II. Yes, Stubbs (whose real name was Levi Stubbles - he should have kept that) owned the sonorous baritone voice that we all try to copy when we shout 'Feed me!' He was perfect for the part of the carnivorous alien plant in the musical movie version of Little Shop of Horrors.

In a curious case of coincidence, a few days ago I was looking at the winning photographs from this year's International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge (there's a snappy title for you) photography competition. And I remembered seeing this shot:

These curious little Audrey IIs are, in fact, suckers found on the tentacles of a long-finned squid. Each sucker -about 400 micrometres wide, or a little smaller than the width of a human hair - is surrounded with 'fangs' of chitin, the hard organic material that insect skeletons are made from. It just goes to show that no matter how hard we try to imagine what aliens could be like, life here on our own small planet can be just as bizarre and surprising.

Sleep well, Levi.

Image captured from National Geographic website. Taken by Jessica D Schiffman and Caroline L Schauer, Drexel University/Science.

9 comments:

chris hale said...

I don't know whether you've noticed, but your Key Words are starting to take on a "Joined-Up Thinking" appearance. I mean, squid and the Four Tops? There's got to be the start of a new Round there!

willow said...

Nice tribute. He had a great voice, didn't he?

Feed me, Seymour!!!

Stevyn Colgan said...

Chris - I know ... curious isn't it? I knew I'd pushed the envelope by mentioning 'sucker' in the title but at least I didn't do something realy bad like New squids on the block. Ouch.

Willow - Fabulous voice. No one else could have pulled off the line 'Tough Titty!' with such menace.

Debby said...

Stubbles. You know, that runs quite nicely behind Stevyn. Too bad that your parents didn't think of it, sticking you with 'Colgan' instead. Stevyn Stubbles sounds quite comic-book-like or like someone you might run across on Blue Peter...

One of life's little tragedies, I suppose.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Debby - Yes, damn my parents and their silly traditional naming conventions! Stevyn Stubbles. Could be worse. I knew a chap called Struggles once. And another called Tibbles. Colgan ain't so bad and it has a glorious Irish origin. It means 'swordsman' apparently. Take that as you will.

chris hale said...

I suppose Stevyn Stubbles could be some kind of fringe superhero, it being fairly common for such beings to have alliterative names (vide Clark Kent, Bruce Banner, etc). But what would your power be? With a surname like Stubbles, maybe the ability to shave 'as close as a blade, or your money back,' to quote Victor Kiam. Or possibly gather in a field of winter wheat without the aid of a combine harvester.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Chris - Actually the surname is derived from the little-known Spanish martyr St Ubbles who is the patron saint of deep bass grooves and tasty rhythms.

Janet said...

You taught me something about Levi that I didn't know. How had I missed the voice-over story! Thanks.

Janet

Stevyn Colgan said...

Janet - I am a seemingly bottomless well of trivia. And, just to reiterate, I cannot even put up a shelf.