Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right

January 9, 2011

It is with great regret that I report today the passing of Gerry Rafferty. Gerry co-wrote and sang the song with what I expect may be the immortal line that is the title of this post. I remember cranking this up loudly whenever it came on the radio. I don’t remember much of “Stealers Wheel,” the group and the self-titled album that “Stuck in the Middle With You” was on. I did buy his solo album, “City to City” for the song “Baker Street,” which I played over and over again until it was worn out, and I think I still have it in a small stack of moldering vinyl in a back corner of the basement.

His obituary reports that he was a gifted musician but a reluctant star. These great songs were created at a difficult time:

Stealers Wheel recorded only three albums during the 1970s. The group’s turbulent history was marked by legal problems and a variety of personnel changes.

Mr. Rafferty said the legal issues helped him write “Baker Street,” which featured a moody saxophone solo.

“Everybody was suing each other, so I spent a lot of time on the overnight train from Glasgow to London for meetings with lawyers,” he told the Scottish Daily Mail in 1995. “I knew a guy who lived in a little flat off Baker Street. We’d sit and chat or play guitar there through the night.”

Clowns and Jokers are all around, all the time. As hard as it may be to accomplish, it is necessary to achieve an equilibrium before we can gain any knowledge. From a knowledge management perspective, we need to find that equilibrium, for without that sense of balance ,to use the Cynefin framework, we can not separate the chaotic from the complex.

I think that all KMers, when faced with a source or some claim to knowledge, should adopt his lyric as a silent mantra: “here I am stuck in the middle with you.” His songs remind me of a lesson that is hard to find and frequently forgotten.

Obituary is at

Blog post by Anthony Joyce

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