Sunday, February 3, 2013

No. 487 – Radio Friendly Unit Shifter

Performer: Nirvana
Songwriter: Kurt Cobain
Original Release: In Utero
Year: 1993
Definitive Version: MTV Live and Loud, 1993

I bought In Utero as soon as it came out, of course, but it wasn’t until the New Year’s Eve show on MTV that I connected with this song. I love the extended feedback raveup as the band takes the stage.

I recorded the performance and made an audiotape copy for the car that included selected tracks, including this one, and Divine Hammer by The Breeders, who were one of the show’s warmup acts, as I mentioned awhile ago. That tape was a regular play in the winter and early spring of 1994 when I’d make my late-night job-application runs.

I had found that Clarkston, about 15 miles away from Grand Blanc, was the location of the nearest 24-hour Kinkos. This was useful for a couple of reasons. First, I had the vampire shift. Sure, I could go anytime, but late at night, I’d be the only one in the store besides the poor schlub behind the counter, and I had free run of the place. This was crucial, because, second, Kinkos had Mac stations for rental, and at 2 a.m., as you might imagine, there was no waiting.

I still had the old IBM clone Zenith computer at home, but I shifted my resume and any cover letters to Mac files—I bought a Mac floppy—so I could use the Kinkos printers to make my materials look nice.

So, after making that Kinkos discovery, whenever I found a job ad that looked appealing, I’d pack up my Walkman and job-hunt briefcase and head to Clarkston. I’d type up my cover letter as Nirvana blared, update my resume as needed and print out everything. Then I’d make copies of clips to send. The Clarkston Kinkos became my office away from my office.

Eventually, however, I decided a better use of my time was to compose the cover letter ahead of time to minimize the rental time on the Mac at Kinkos. (And if I didn’t get there late enough, I might have to wait behind a few college students who had also discovered the Clarkston Kinkos.)

The only other place I knew of that had a Mac I could use was The Journal. I knew it wouldn’t go over well if anyone caught me typing up a cover letter for a job somewhere else on company equipment, so I again used my vampire powers to my advantage.

I’d go in to The Journal after midnight when the newsroom was dark. The only people in the building at that time were my fellow sports copy editors on the third floor upstairs and the security guard firmly ensconced in his post on the first floor downstairs. I’d fire up the Mac, slip my floppy into the drive and type away in the dark with one eye on the staircase.

I used my ID to get in, just as if I were working that night. Then, when I was done, I’d slip out again unnoticed—the perfect crime.

No comments:

Post a Comment