Friday, October 5, 2012

In Search of Lost Mellow


Bikes are allowed to pass through, I asked

Freshman year in college, I decided to be a DJ at the college radio station. I had never done it before, but it seemed like it might be fun, so I signed up. The first night, a Friday night shift starting at 10pm as I recall, which was pretty easy to get since everyone else was either partying or studying at that time, and I was really nervous. As in, unaccountably terrified.

It wasn't about working the equipment myself, alone in the station, which was straightforward, but more about talking into the microphone and feeling nerves about the unseen people listening. I guess. Anyway, I decided to try to enjoy myself, and just play music that I liked.

That first shift went fine, I took a few requests, and managed not to screw anything up too seriously. Toward the end, though, I was still wondering how I did, and questioning if DJing was something I wanted to keep doing. One of the phone lines lit up, so I answered it, and the caller said to me, "Hey, I've been listening to your show tonight, and I just wanted to say I'm surprised to hear such good music. I like your mellow style." When he said that, I thought to myself, that's it exactly, all I'm trying to accomplish with this DJ thing: play good music, and with my voice reach out to listeners who for whatever reason might appreciate some strong cool mellow.

Over time, that phone call became like some sort of idealized moment for me. As in, and I know the actual answers to the following questions but I keep asking them anyway, couldn't all jobs and work be similar to that, just mellow people together enjoying what they're doing? Couldn't strangers connecting by something as tenuous as a distant voice carried over radio waves be cool to one another? Could life be my radio show, with people who happened to tune in because they shared my taste in music, and appreciated some mellow words? 

Of course, I learned that reality / life generally doesn't work out that way. It's been a long quest or challenge to recapture that lost mellow. Or at least it was, until I rediscovered cycling. In particular, I have found that the hour or so I spend each day commuting on my bike has allowed me to recapture that lost mellow feeling. That's really all this post was about, but considering how much and how long I wondered what it would take to find it, I'm glad I did.

It also strikes me that assessing those around me, checking who's got a strong level-headed mellow on most of the time vs. who's a stressed out mess opens up a world of complex understanding of both human interaction and also my place in that chain. But I would rather not overthink it just now, and would prefer to spin some records for you. Who's got a request?

      

7 comments:

  1. I would like to hear some mellow Elvis Costello, if you would. "Allison", I think.

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  2. How can a Metalhead be mellow?

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    1. I have my metalhead moments, but also mellow moments, too. Sure, I may be listening to something fairly metallic currently. But my music tastes are vast, divergent, and various. I like mellow music too, from Greek Rembetiko to L. Subramaniam to Steely Dan, sometimes one must chill.

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  3. some strong cool mellow is now my new mantra. thanks.

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  4. Seems like as good a place and as good a way as any to say this. We lost Old Fool, and he will be greatly missed. The song on the turntable is Bodhisattva by Steely Dan, and it goes out for him.

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    Replies
    1. Old Fool was so cool. Thanks for letting us know.

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