In the jungles of New Guinea there’s a species of bird called the Bowerbird. To attract a mate, the male Bowerbird builds an elaborate love nest. The door is made of woven grass. Its graceful shape beckons. He’s got Marvin Gaye playing on a cassette deck. Let’s get it on.
But he’s not done yet.
Now the intrepid male goes out and collects a wild array of stuff, shells, bottle caps, bits of colored plastic, the shiny wing feathers of beetles and arranges it around the perimeter, marking out a circle around the front door. This whole time he’s barely eating or sleeping. He’s wound up tight. He’s burning calories like a madman.
When the nest is just right, the male Bowerbird breaks out in song.
Four notes over and over.
If he can keep up a steady beat, any female within earshot knows he’s got good genes or whatever. Probably they aren’t thinking about genetics at all.
What strange birds are we?
I read an article in Scientific American Mind about music preferences in humans. Different personality types prefer different levels of complexity in music art and literature. Extroverts love mainstream pop, they love magazines, and Mark Rothko. Introverts love dissonance, byzantine novels, and Albrecht Durer.
Extroverts want their expectations fulfilled.
Introverts want to be confused.
These are gross generalizations, but see if they ring true for you.
(You’ll see where I’m going with this in a second.)
We were having dinner at the Bombay Cricket Club with our niece Elizabeth and her husband Don. He was talking about when they were first dating.
“Elizabeth asked me, ‘what kind of music do you like?’ Don said, ‘I like this and I like that, and…um…I like a little country.’ I was embarrassed about it, you know? Then I look at her CD collection and it’s like country, country, country.”
At this point in the story Don gives me this look like, ‘Yup…that’s when I knew.’
Zip back 35 years, to 1975.
I loved the Mahavishnu Orchestra. No girls liked this stuff. It was jazz-jock music for psychos. Music for Introverts. No girls had even heard of them.
Then I met Valerie Day.
Not only had she heard of them, she saw them play at the Paramount.
That’s when I knew,
She was the one.
Bye for now.
Nu Shooz Band
P.S. Weirdly enough, it was "Birds of Fire" that became "our song". How's that for my unconscious mind starting this blog with a bit about birds?
P.S.S. Was music a part of YOUR mating dance? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below...