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The next world over

"I was living in Copenhagen and I'd been playing in the town of Odense. Denmark is mostly islands. You get on a train, then take the ferry--Well I got on a late train at 2 in the morning, then the boat, and woke up at 3:30 in the morning and went topside. There was nobody else up there. I was looking out on a perfectly clear night sky, one of those where the stars are all the way down to the horizon! All of a sudden I realized that the stars are obviously below the horizon, too!! And then you realize they are down underneath you, and you can feel the fact that you're sitting out in the middle of it all. It was a tremendous rush and I wanted to get that feeling back.

"First thing I did was to try to feel the turning of the earth. You find the end of the shadow of a telephone pole and put your foot on it. Then you think about it all. Try to look up and find where North is and feel it. It takes some time. Then look down at your foot, and the shadow has moved and now you know why, because you've been working on it, trying to feel the turning of the earth.

"Then a guy gave me a telescope and we went out in Maine, and I saw Venus! I thought, oh my God, it's the next world over! I could see that! The three- dimensionality became obvious. Plus, you could see the thing moving across the field, which is the turning of the earth.

"Then I got some [astronomy] magazines. I had the fortune to get in on this just before a revolution happened in amateur astrononmy. It was caused by one person named John Dobson. He developed not only a new way of making mirrors, but also of constructing telescopes so you could make them out of junk, almost. He said, get rid of all that other junk, here's how to put the fucking thing together, pardon my language, and get out there and look at the cosmos!--Very, very interesting." quote from John Koerner, 1999 from article in On The Tracks magazine issue #20, original title To Sing Like a Bird.