Blogging is very educational. All of you bloggers that I visit and read have helped to widen my knowledge of the world and opened my mind to so many new ideas and experiences.
This post is a good example of your influences. This is in a way, a continuation of the concept from the last post which developed from a kernel of an idea sowed by Steve of Bloggertropolis. I learn a lot about the appreciation of prose from Janice at Drink the Moon and from Mark, the Walking Man. From Mago of 63 Mago, I learn a lot about music and perhaps more importantly, an appreciation of the history of music. Then I was totally oblivious to the existence of virtual worlds like Second Life until the very humble JMB introduced me to it and also to the stunningly alluring Moggs Tigerpaw over at Nobody Important.
So what makes this post special is that I have found a very historical video clip which I have included here for your viewing pleasure. It is historical on at least two levels. First of all, the video is the recording of the first ever broadcast from a purpose-designed virtual space. This was done sometime in 2006 on Second Life. Imagine. You avatar can go to a virtual place with others to listen to a virtual live concert or an interview. Mind boggling.
However, it is also historical because we also learn about the start of the MP3 format and the inspiration that drove its inventor to make crucial improvements to it. Meet the voice and song that gave “birth” to MP3.Vodpod videos no longer available.
Of course, I am thrilled to learn all this as I am Suzanne Vega fan and Tom’s Diner is one of my favorites. You have heard virtual Suzanne sing the song a cappella (if you viewed the video above). Now enjoy the version that sold over 3 million copies when it first came out. Anyone guess how this post is related to the last post? (Clue: It’s in the video)Vodpod videos no longer available.
Some other interesting facts about the song. Tom’s Diner is actually based on Tom’s Restaurant, a diner located on the corner of Broadway and 112th Street in New York. Suzanne Vega actually often stopped there for breakfast or for lunch when she worked nearby as a receptionist. Incidentally, the outside of the restaurant is used for scenes in the TV sitcom Seinfeld to represent the fictitious Monk’s Cafe.
The “bells of the cathedral” mentioned in the song are those of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine which is located a block away. And when the song referred to “a story of an actor / who had died while he was drinking”, this was actually William Holden whose death made the front page of the New York Post.
And finally a quote from Karlheinz Brandenburg, the developer of MP3 on why he would use this song to test his invention; “I was ready to fine-tune my compression algorithm…somewhere down the corridor, a radio was playing “Tom’s Diner.” I was electrified. I knew it would be nearly impossible to compress this warm a cappella voice.”