Confused by the title? I’m not surprised. I’m a little confused myself. Though this is a common experience in science and nothing to be ashamed of.
I was thinking about the Boomtown Rats since I was using their celebrated second album, A Tonic for the Troops, to keep me running around Hyde Park in the warm sunshine last Monday afternoon. More often than not I use music these days to help drive myself along. And as I plodded, I was thinking to myself, “You know, this really is good stuff. I’ll bet there’s plenty of people younger than a certain age who have never heard of them”.
That really is the way I think. But I digress…
The Rats’ peculiar brand of nihilistic hedonism matched the mood of my teenage years back in the very early eighties (though this probably gives an entirely mis-leading impression of what I was like then). Funnily enough, it still seems to suit the lifestyle of a wizened academic. So I thought I might send out a tweet after I got back (and dried off) — explaining that people should start at the third album, The Fine Art of Surfacing, and work back through albums two and one.
After Surfacing, it took the Rats three more and rather indifferent albums to realise that the ship had sunk. But that should not take away from the musical and lyrical genius of their first three recordings.
I then realised I wouldn’t be able to fit all that into 140 characters. Plus, when I got back, waiting in my pigeon-hole was the information pack from the guys organising the I’m a Scientist, Get me Out of Here event that I have signed up for. It’s being run by a company called Gallomanor, with funding from the Wellcome Trust and they seem to be a pretty professional bunch.
The pack, served up in a bright pink folder, gives us a heads up on how to prepare to engage with the schoolkids that we’ll be talking to online. Our first job is to fill out a profile, to give the students an idea of who they are dealing with. There are some really tough questions to answer:
- How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
You see? No easy feat. You can check out my answers — which are very much a work in progress — on my burgeoning profile page. Feel free to make suggestions. Perhaps surprisingly, given what I’ve said above, the Boomtown Rats didn’t make the cut in my answer to question 2.
I gather this goes live for teachers early next week. I guess the school students will cotton on to it soon after that, though the event itself doesn’t start for about a fortnight.
It’s all starting to get a bit… real.