Sign O’ The Times

September 14th, 2005

So a couple days ago I was on a crowded BART train, riding back to the East Bay from KQED's San Francisco offices, when at a downtown stop (I think it was Powell) a man in Secret Service-type garb came striding through our car. He was talking loudly into a little high-tech microphone, saying something like, "I have lost visual contact -- repeat -- I have lost visual contact!" And then ... he strode off the train, the doors closed, and we headed off toward the next station. For a few moments, we passengers all just stared at one another -- possibly trying to decide, collectively, whether we should be worried about something. But then we all seemed to share a collective shrug; there were a few chuckles, and then we were all back in our semi-private worlds. We live in strange times, methinks. ...

By the way, the Prince song "Sign O' The Times" (which I'm listening to now on my iPod) is an amazing piece of music: funky, spare, moving, beautifully structured. Somewhere Marvin Gaye is smiling. ...

Entry Filed under: let's digress


  • 1. princessofcairo  |  September 15th, 2005 at 10:18 am

    how do you spell “plant?” bart is a scary place to be. trapped.

  • 2. PrinceRocks  |  September 15th, 2005 at 5:12 pm

    I have to agree. Sign O’ The Times is also a killer double album. I thought it was the last great album Prince produced. And the concert movie he made to go with it, though somewhat contrived, is amazing and records for history what an absolute talent he is. His acoustic, gospel version of “Forever in My Life” on that concert film is a barn burner.

    Not to mention it features Sheila E. — the sexiest drummer of all time — in skimpy outfits beating the heck out of the skins.

  • 3. Josh Kornbluth  |  September 19th, 2005 at 1:53 pm

    Thanks for the tip about the Sign O’ The Times concert film! I’m definitely going to check it out.

  • 4. Tony  |  September 23rd, 2005 at 10:46 am

    Maybe the mysterioso guy in the suit was actually doing som sort of performance art? How did his presence make you feel about the universe? No one said anything at all? We sure accept a lot of odd stuff without questioning it these days… Or maybe he was an outpost ‘Agent’ of Improv Everywhere, that great guerilla street improv group from NYC.

  • 5. Josh Kornbluth  |  September 26th, 2005 at 2:43 pm

    You know, Tony, it didn’t occur to me until recently that it might have been a “performance piece.” It felt totally real — so maybe that was a tip-off as to its inauthenticity? … By the way, a couple of days later I was riding BART again and I saw a cop with a bomb-sniffing-type dog patroling a platform — not street theater, I’m pretty sure. … After the jolt of seeing that, I instantly thought of George Clinton’s song “Atomic Dog.” Which then got me to wondering whether I was entering a phase where each security-related thing I saw on BART would lead me to thinking of a funk tune (perhaps in lieu of going into a funk?).

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