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Interview:
Thomas Dolby lights the way for lighthouse preservation
 

By GARY GRAFF
@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

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Back in 1982, Thomas Dolby blinded us with science.

Now he's teaching us about lifehouses.

Dolby's "The Invisible Lighthouse Live" tour is a multi-media production that features a film he made about a decaying lighthouse near where he lives off the east coast of England. In concert he accompanies the footage with his own narration and keyboard playing, while sound and lighting engineer Blake Leyh provides live effects. The show also includes an "Inside the Actor's Studio" segment with a guest appearance by a special guest (in Royal Oak it will be Paul Sizer, Dolby's collaborator on the Map of the Floating City interactive game), as well as a selection of Dolby's older songs because "people won't let me leave the building without playing a couple of songs from the 80s," such as "She Blinded Me With Science" and "Hyperactive!"

"It's quite a full evening," says Dolby, 55, whose last album, "A Map of the Floating City," came out in 2011. "When I put together the film I thought it would make a very interesting live show. It's certainly different than just going up there and playing songs."

The film, meanwhile, has made Dolby a public advocate for lifehouses in general, including the 46 in the U.S. that are on what's referred to as a "doomsday list."

"It's one thing to arouse strong feelings from people, quite another to get anything done about it," Dolby notes. "Lighthouses were sort of a transitionary technology, bridging between celestial navigation and the smart phone. Nowadays with satellite and radar and GPS, the average weekend yachtsman has better navigation on his smart phone than he gets from lighthouses.

"So you have to question whether, given the fondness we have for them and the history surrounding them, do we have an obligation to preserve them, or should they be left to deteriorate? The little red lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge (in New York) was saved because of a children's book, so it's clear that we don't have to just let these things crumble and waste away."

Thomas Dolby's Invisible Lighthouse Live tour has moved from the Royal Oak Music Theatre to the Magic Bag on Sunday, Nov. 3. The Magic Bag is located at 22920 Woodward Ave, Ferndale. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25-$60. Tickets for the Royal Oak show will be honored. Call 248--544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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