The first working title for this post had a reference to “This one time in Jamcamp…” but the metaphor fell down a dark gurgling hope. But time cannot pass without reflection on the experience of “Nobody’s Listening” ds106radio crew 6 hour music jam at Northern Voice.

I think my ears are still reverberating; and that intense, in your head beat is a feeling I hope to not forget.

But the experience has me thinking about amplifiers.

photo by D'Arcy Norman

Not just Marshall stacks– which are everything their reputation builds them up to– but the gathering of Northern Voice is the amplification of online relationships. To me, me wrong way of thinking of amplification is “turning it up louder” or more volume. Anyone can twist a knob, even me (but darned if I could ever find the right knobs in the dark).

Done well, it is an increase of intensity of many senses- not just louder, but bigger, bolder, richer, and a whole lot of BA-DA-DA-DADA-DA…. That’s what I got out of going to Vancouver, now traveling on my own dimes, to Be There. Northern Voice is continually my favorite conference to attend, but it has nothing to do with the conference, it is now, for many of us, an Experience. I go to amplify the connections I make all year long in the online space.

I’d be very content with the relationships of the people I meet and cross paths with online, but it goes to a whole new experience, when you meet. So yeah, the conference was the excuse/justification to go, the people where the reason to be there.

And it si both people I have known a long time, and people I joyfully got to meet the first time. It makes the future online connections even richer to tap back nto this shared experience.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by D’Arcy Norman

The things about the Jam (and the space) was there was no barrier to not try, no reason not to grab an instrument you never played before. No one there was going to criticize you if you could only make noise out of the bass (that was me), or could only make chaotic, beatless noise on the drums (ditto). It didn’t matter if you could not sing. And there is no one, I challenge you, no one, that cannot find great joy in making Theremin sound.

cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by @DrGarcia

I could prattle on and on about this, and it feels senseless to describe the jam experience in words.

I feel my life is amplified by hanging out with the band, and hell yeah, I want more jam.

More amplification, more signal and noise. More.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. absolutely agreed. it was a fun place for… i dunno… joyful play? i tried 2 instruments i’d never even held before (bass and drums) and had fun messing around. it was just a cool, safe place to play with friends. musically and otherwise.

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