Tuesday, October 24, 2006

In theory, it was a good song

After the business meeting, we moved to the adjacent room for the concert of Lady X and the Positive Eigenvalues. We were not supposed to bring alcohol in the conference rooms. There was of course beer at the business meeting, but only because Satish had smuggled it in. But there is a hotel security guy in the hallway, and he should not see us walk out of one conference room and then into another with our beer. And so, following directions given by Satish, a group of distinguished theoreticians, plus me, with their unfinished drinks, takes a back door and tries to get to the next room via the kitchens. This is a worthy start for the rest of the night. (The detour is ultimately unsuccessful, because the back door of the other conference room is locked, so we have to wait for the security guy to leave.)



Lady X is the lead singer, and the band, the Positive Eigenvalues, includes Christos Papadimitriou, Mike Jordan, guest star Anna Karlin, and a number of other Berkeleites (for some reason, all Italians).



They play a number of covers of rock songs that everybody but me recognizes. The crowd of theoreticians sings along, gets warmer and warmer, and starts dancing. The program committee chair surveys the room standing on an eponymous.



Then they play Smells like teen spirit, that even I recognize, a theory pogo breaks out, and those pogoing next to James Lee fly off in all directions. I make my way to the opposite side of the stage.

They also have one original song, titled In Theory. It starts
Picture a carpenter of sorts
he has the flu, he has the blues
he burns his oil every night
all night frustrated and confused

and worst of all he can't complain
in theory his job is plain





At the end, the crowd keeps asking for encores, and, by the time the concert ends, it is almost midnight.

(Pictures courtesy of Madhur Tulsiani.)

4 Comments:

  1. Blogger jittat
    10/24/2006 03:19:00 AM

    Wow!

     
  2. Blogger jyby
    10/24/2006 05:18:00 AM

    Wow, now I really wish I had come.
    What about a Blues concert at SODA in New Orleans? I bring my Clarinet and Armonica!

     
  3. Anonymous Anonymous
    10/24/2006 04:47:00 PM

    while I'm happy to take credit for the flying bodies, it should be noted that Mihai's force in the mosh pit was at least as impressive as his three papers in the conference...

     
  4. Anonymous Anonymous
    1/07/2007 04:22:00 AM

    OK, here is the whole song, copied from a sheet distributed at the concert that I just discovered in my pocket:

    ________________________
    IN THEORY


    Picture a carpenter of sorts
    he has the flu, he has blues
    he burns his oil every night
    all night frustrated and confused

    and worst of all he can’t complain
    in theory his job is plain

    (chorus)
    build something sturdy, beautiful and useful
    he’s always short in one goal
    he juggles true with elegant and useful
    and he keeps dropping one ball

    His buddies, like him alright
    except they love and criticize
    they go and rip his stuff apart
    with clever words, with clever eyes

    and worst of all he can’t complain
    in theory his job is plain

    (chorus)
    build something sturdy, beautiful and useful
    he’s always short in one goal
    he juggles true with elegant and useful
    and he keeps dropping one ball

    Some nights a girl comes to his shop
    to sip his tea, learn something raw
    his misty brains, his tangled soul
    want her to stay but let her go

    and worst of all he can’t complain
    in theory his job is plain

    (chorus)
    build something sturdy, beautiful and useful
    he’s always short in one goal
    he juggles true with elegant and useful
    (spoken) and he keeps dropping the same ball

     

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