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Weekend Soundtrack

"The Heart of Saturday Night"

Bill Radke

Michael Raphael

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At the South Pole
(Nathan Tift)
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Bill Radke: This sounds like a weekend soundtrack. Nathan, why is it yours?

Nathan Tift: I first heard of Tom Waits and I actually first started listening to him when I worked in Antarctica at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. We worked 12-hour shifts. I was a meteorologist and there was one other meteorologist, so we had 12 hours on and 12 hours off.

So there really weren't any weekends. When I put this song in, it reminded me of a lot of things that I had been living without when I was living in Antarctica. These were things like traffic, gas stations, telephones, strangers and money. You can really imagine yourself cruising down any main street in the U.S. on a Friday or Saturday night. It was like getting in a car and going for a drive when I listened to this song.

Help us picture Antarctica. What did it look like?

At the South Pole, it is just incredibly barren in all directions you go. It's flat snow and horizon as far as the eye can see. And I did get the opportunity to go snowmobiling about 10 kilometers away from the station. It's amazing being in these places that are out from the South Pole where you know that so few people have ever been that, when you're walking around, you're probably setting your foot on a place where no human has ever set their foot.

When it's 100 below zero in the middle of winter and you're walking around outside, you know there's probably not anyone else on earth that's walking around in temperatures as cold as the temperatures you're experiencing.

Sounds like you're aching to get back, Nathan.

I would love to go back to Antarctica. Absolutely.

When's that going to happen?

Well, unfortunately, I don't think it will happen. While I was down there, I had a couple of seizures for some unknown reason. Now that I'm epileptic, it's unlikely that they'll let me go back. I think that's something that adds to the mystique, knowing that this is something that I did get to do once and probably won't get to do again. But I know that, and I'm really glad that I got to do it. It helps me to appreciate the things that I can do.

  • Music Bridge:
    In A Secret Garden
    Artist: Steffen Basho-Junghans
    CD: Late Summer Morning (Strange Attractors Audio House)
More stories from our Weekend Soundtrack series

Comments

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  • By Nathan Tift

    From Edina, MN, 02/23/2008

    You can contact Nathan at southpolenathan@gmail.com

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