Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Memory: Meeting Thomas Dolby

Thomas Dolby by thanasim25 on flickrI had just started working at JavaSoft. I had a meeting and arrived at the conference room a little early to find the previous meeting just letting out. I wandered in and noticed a man packing up a Mac by himself. The executives weren't paying any attention to him and left. Something seemed familiar about this man. Then it hit me. It was Thomas Dolby. I looked around and found that we were the only two people in the room. So I wandered over and opened with a tentative "Mr. Dolby?" He looked up at me, "Yes?" "Um hi ... Dude I love your music!" I blurted out. He smiled and seemed pleased that someone recognized him. "What are you doing here?" I asked. It turns out he was working on a musical plugin for Mozilla, and was seeing if there was any synergy with Java. I believe this was the beginning of Beatnik, Inc. We pleasantly chatted for a bit, and I found out he was living in the Bay Area. That's why he had swung by Cupertino to arrange the meeting. Finally he apologized, and told me that he had to run off to another meeting meeting, else he would love to keep talking.

A few years before, I was at E3 in Los Angeles. I was wandering around the floor with a friend of mine checking out the booths and the sights. E3 was still pretty crazy back then. We came across a booth that people waiting in a long line. It was the Rocket Science booth, and they were giving away tshirts. I asked a random fellow "what are you waiting in line for?" and he replied "some dude is signing shirts." Puzzled I walked to the front to see who it was. It was Thomas Dolby, but no one seemed to realize this. I turned to my friend and said "get in line." "Do you who know who that is?" I excitedly asked my friend. He shook his head. "Dude! Come on! It's Thomas Dolby!" Blank look. I sighed "You know, 'Blinded Me with Science'?" "Oh!"

So we waited in line and finally it was our turn. My friend wanted to drop to his knees and start the whole "We Are Not Worthy!" routine, but I threatened to kill him if he did. He rolled his eyes and mumbled "whatever." Dolby seemed pretty bored, and no one was talking to him. So I strolled up and asked "So, how come 'My Brain Is Like a Sieve' is not on your 'Best Of' album. He blinked and looked at me, then said "You know, that is an excellent question." He then introduced me to his manager who was standing next to him. And then he started chatting to me. My friend told Dolby of his "Not Worthy" plan and he smiled "that would have been funny!" My friend shot me a dirty look. It all seemed a bit surreal at the time ...

So there. I've met Thomas Dolby. Twice. I'm sure he doesn't remember, but they are great memories for me.

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