Saturday, 23 November 2013

Prof. Pennypacker's Pectarium

The passing of Prof. Philpott Pennypacker, who died, according to his obituary in the New Scientist, ‘peacefully, surrounded by family, friends and colleagues at his Berkshire home’ on October 28th 2012, was of little apparent interest to all female muscle fans (excepting those who study or work in the field of applied mathematics). However, the ensuing legal battle over the fate of the late Prof. Pennypacker’s estate, and yesterday’s High Court ruling that brought an end to that battle, is quite a different matter, revealing as it does, the nature of the professor’s final project.

The challenge to the will, brought by members of his immediate family, focused on one clause Professor Pennypacker had inserted into the will in 2010. The clause made provision for a fund to maintain, in the state in which he left it, a converted out-building on his property, and for members of the public to be allowed access to it. Initially, his executors had assumed the professor had used the building as a study/workshop, and his wish was to allow future applied mathematicians a glimpse of his working processes. Only after entering the building did they realise he had designed it for a purpose they could never had imagined.

They found the building is divided into six rectangular rooms of roughly equal size. In each room there are six large screens, two on each of the longer walls, and one on each of the shorter sides. [There has some speculation as to the significance of the 6 rooms and the 6 screens in each. In his 1972 work It’s Magic: How Anybody Can Prove Anything with Selective Statistics, Pennypacker noted that ‘If 3 is, indeed, as is claimed, a “magic number”, then surely it follows that multiples of three should possess that “magic” incrementally.’ However, it may simply be that the building lent itself or was previously divided along similar lines and that the size of the screens Pennypacker chose to adorn the walls were simply large enough to allow no more than six of them to fit comfortably along each wall.]

In the centre of each room sits a reclining swivel chair, apparently specially designed for the professor according to his specifications. From the chair, the screens can be operated by means of a touch screen control panel which is fixed to the left arm of the chair and can be lowered across the lap of the sitter. And it was once the executors had sat down in the chairs and used the control panels to turn on the screens that the true purpose of the building, the rooms and the screens was revealed.

Images of female bodybuilders, specifically, the pectoral muscles of female bodybuilders, started to appear on the screens. In some rooms, there would be six different images, one on each screen, followed by six different ones again, then six more and so on. In another room a single image travelled from screen 1 to 2 to 3 and so on around all six, followed by another image, and another. In yet another room the six screens all displayed a looped clip of a female bodybuilder performing cable flyes. Another room had combinations of each of the above, and it was soon established that the user/viewer could control the images exactly as they wished.

And on they went, images, loops, clips both long and short, some speeded up, some slo-mo. There was contest footage, even some artwork, and what they all had in common was the pecs of female bodybuilders and other muscular women.

The executors were, quite understandably, stunned. The final project of Professor Philpott Pennypacker had been nothing to do with the work he had made his career. Rather, it had been the result of his secret passion, kept private from all who knew him until after his death. His final project had been to construct his own personal temple of female muscle, a place where he could privately enjoy and worship his favourite part of his favourite type of women. He called it ‘The Pectarium’.

The fund he put in place to pay for the upkeep of The Pectarium naturally put a considerable hole into the inheritance of his beneficiaries, and consequently the will was challenged, ultimately unsuccessfully. In his summing up yesterday, Lord Justice Laws explained that ‘While a feeling of incomprehension at the curious uses to which an estate may be put is, in this case, quite understandable, there is no basis in law for revoking a will on those grounds.’ Fortunately, the FMS legal department is on hand to simplify that to ‘Just because you don’t understand why he wants his money used in this way, it doesn’t mean you can change it.’ And as a result, you, me, and anyone else who wishes to do so will, as soon as all the legal bureaucracy has been cleaned up, be able to arrange their own personal visit to Professor Philpott’s Pectarium.

If you can’t wait, FMS will this week be giving you a taste of what you might find there in the rough and ready way we can. And even more exciting perhaps, is the fact that we have also been granted access to Professor Pennypacker’s private diaries. In these diaries, he put down his thoughts on female bodybuilders, being a female muscle worshipper, and the place of female muscle and those who follow it in society as a whole. We are both honoured and delighted to be able to bring you some extracts to accompany a selection of items from within The Pectarium.


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