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Friday, May 12, 2006

 

Rock And Roll Made Me Want To Burn And Rob

I don't know if I should show you the WRMC foam finger I got yesterday. I'm afraid to photograph it. I love to wear it, however. As does Abe, who immediately took to running around the house with it, yelling "I poke you!"

As mentioned in the previous post, on Thursday I made a two-and-a-half-hour trek up to Middlebury College to join my friend Prof. Tim Spears on his radio show at the campus station. While I've returned to the school on occassion, I hadn't been to WRMC in the 13 years since graduation. Most of the posters and stickers on the walls have changed, the equipment has been updated, and of course all of the faces are different, but it was all exactly the same. The record library no longer has any records in it (almost all thrown out to gain space, along with a bunch of CDs deemed lame) but smells just as it did in 1993--a heady mixture of pine shelf, college kid and plastic. It was almost nostalgia overload, especially when I pulled CDs out of the stacks with handwritten comments from my best friends on the labels; Matt's precise, 4-point characters informing DJs that "track 4 is pleasant and fine" or Dave's big block letters warning of a poorly-produced album "THIS SOUNDS LIKE IT WAS RECORDED IN MY ASS".

The DJ before us happened to be the program manager, finishing up her final show before graduation. She laughed about it, but she seemed fairly upset. The end of college is like that. Her friends were there, all taking their last chances to furiously rip albums onto their laptops. I followed suit, grabbing out-of-print tracks from Paleface, Viva Saturn, Buttsteak (Kiss My Black Ass!), The Meices and others. If only I had a full day--but I made the most of my 90 minutes.

In fine WRMC fashion half of the studio equipment was malfunctioning, but we forged ahead, trading sets back and forth (Tim: Clash, Blondie, Television; Cole: Immaculate Hearts, Cub, Grifters) and yammering into the mic. Tim kept throwing new albums at me to copy--I walked out with the new Springsteen, My Morning Jacket and Gomez on my computer.

One mild surprise is that the station has instituted a rotation policy, asking DJs to play at least 40% of their sets from a select group of the "best" current albums--I've never liked this idea for college radio, as it seems to rig reporting to CMJ, not to mention homogenizing the shows. With no revenue considerations, why import formatting ideas from commercial stations?

Actually, now that I think about it, there's no reason for me to give a shit about any of that. All I know is that it was a blast to have the Groove Diggers blaring out of the WRMC studio speakers, probably for the first time in a decade. I had this big, goofy grin on my face most of the time I was there. Plus, Tim bought me a cookie. And a banana.

At the end, Tim suggested that we should make this an annual event. I'm already planning my set list.

By the way, Private, following the successful completion of last summer's mission to listen to Annie, here are your new orders. Operation: The Pipettes. Unlikely to make you want to burn and rob, but it may stir other emotions. Particularly when the chorus to "Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me" hits.

Comments:
You'd be amazed (well, actually, no one that knows me would really be surprised) at how many CDs in my collection have a track 4 that can be described as "pleasant and fine." And I'm OK with that.
 
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