06 February 2013

Science Online 2013: day 2, open mic

I’d forgotten that open mic night was at the end of my first day of the conference. As I mentioned earlier, I was wearing a kilt that day. And online, I’d said I would rap at open mic night. It was kind of a joke (I said I’d either rap or heckle, giving me an out), but kind of not.

I wanted to cover Buck 65’s “Indestructible Sam” for a couple of reasons. It’s about a man digging all day. I dig to collect sand crabs. It’s about someone who keeps going and can’t be stopped. That also seemed apropos, given that Scicurious and I were co moderating the “Blogging for the long haul” session.

Rapping on stage was nerve wracking enough. I get even more nervous because partway through the night, I could feel my throat getting sore from talking through a good chunk of the day. (Co-moderating two sessions will do that.)

Adding the kilt to the rapping mix made it... Well, Tara Smith tweeted:

...and now @DoctorZen rapping in a kilt. Not something I thought I'd ever type. #scio13

When open mic started, David Shiffman and Jacquelyn Gill set up an order the acts were supposed to appear. However, because there was a lot of (somewhat inebriated) improvisation, the line-up kept changing. I was never quite sure when I would be called upon to be next.

This led to terrifying moment when Baba Brinkman got up on stage.

Baba Brinkman had been the Converge speaker that morning. I was already familiar with Baba's work: I'd heard him on The Science Show years ago. Baba has had several rap shows related to science, including the Rap Guide to Evolution.

Baba knows what he’s doing when it comes to rap.

Baba freestyles a birthday wish, rocks the house, and all the while, I’m watching, thinking, “I might be next, and I’ve got to follow that? And my throat is about to give out? Oh crap...”

Fortunately, a few other acts went up before me. And when I did get up and start telling the story of Samuel Dombay... people got into it. I did it a capella, but people were able to pick out the beat and started clapping along. Thank you, all who felt the flow.

Of course, a recording can never capture the feel of a live performance, but for what it’s worth, here’s what I did.

And as I said on stage, that is a true story that was wrote on account of ol’ Sam workin’ so hard... and that’s how I reckon it oughta be.

Here’s the original artist (ignore strange sounds in for 25 seconds or so of first video):

And later that night, I danced onstage with a lemur. Because I do like to move it move it.

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