The reason I titled this self-indulgent exercise, this blog, "For What It's Worth" is not the obvious reason (that it's not worth much to anyone but me and maybe a few curious friends). If you know me at all you know my mind thinks in songs. Being a foreigner here in the UK, I keep walking around with Steve Stills voice floating through my thoughts: "there's something happening here; what it is ain't exactly clear." But with each day, I feel more at ease, and am finding my way around nicely.
Saturday, I went out with Tony Dickinson, a learning theorist, who took me to Hopbine's Pub, a 20 min walk from my flat. I used my new iPhone's GPS function to take me straight there through the open fields and twisty streets of Cambridge. Tony knew the band Jack well and introduced me to them. One of the guitarits, Kimberly, wrote the song Walking on Sunshine. His band was Katrina and the Waves (if you're from Louisiana that's got to sound like some kind of prophecy). The other guitraist, John, was quite a bit younger, but with your eyes closed could have been Carlos Santana (at leats almost, which is pretty damm good). There was a sassy lass on bass, a guy on drums I didn't meet, and a bear of a guy who does the singing. They started out with Walking the Dog and cycled through a playlist I could have written myself, including hits by the Doors, Santana, and Chuck Berry. They did a great version of one of my all time favs, All Along the Watchtower (Jimi's version). It was lots of fun. Hard to find this sort of low key event in NYC, where a really great bunch of musicians just play their hearts out all night while people down their pints and dance till closing time in a small intimate setting.
Although I've been working away on my textbook and on a couple of grants, there's not too much scientific brainstorming to report on yet since this has been a long holiday weekend. So I'll close this report by telling you what moved me to write the blog in the first place. I promise some science soon.
I got the idea of writing this blog after reading Peter Holsapple's two blogs about Rock-It Science, an evening of music that I helped put together with the assistance and support of Jennifer Brout and Tim Sommer, and their organizations,Knock Out Noise and the Sensation to Emotion Network. Rock-It Science featured some scientist/muscians (my band The Amygdaloids, Dan Levitin of This Is Your Brain on Music, Pardis Sabetti and Thousand Days, and Dave Solider), as well as some real rock stars, like Peter ( of the dBs and REM), Lenny Kaye (of the Patti Smith Band), Gary Lucus (of Captain Beefheart), Dee Snider (of Twisted Sister), Steve Wynn (of Dream Syndicate), Linda Pitmon, Stuart Chatwood (of Tea Party), Rufus Wainwright, The Kennedys, Coles Whalen, among others. Peter's blogs brought back wonderful memories of that evening in early March, and reminded me of details that would have slipped my memory had he not writen out his. Here's the link to Peter's second blog. http://halfpearblog.blogspot.com/2009/03/rock-it-science-pt-2.html
Here's a link to a review of Rock-It Science in Entertainment Weekly on line.
That's it for now. You'll have to keep reading to find out how my music toys got fried by my adaptor. And also to hear about my visit to The Corner House open mic last night. Did I or didn't I take the stage?