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The Open Bar Guest DJ Series: Lance Cleland

For your Monday afternoon enjoyment, we bring you part IV of our guest DJ series. You may know him alternately as DJ Mas o Menos or front man for Dick Cheeseburger & The Sliders from Mars, but today, he’s plain ol’ Lance Cleland, Associate Director of the Tin House Summer Writers Workshop.

I used to handout presents to the prettiest girls in my middle school. On all major holidays I could be found roaming the halls armed with Dollar Store stuffed animals and toxic smelling lotions, all in the hopes of attracting attention to a somewhat slick witted, bad-haircut sporting, shirt-three-size-too-big wearing Romeo. Having convinced my poor mother that I was involved in some sort of schoolwide gift exchange program, she always seemed a little perplexed why I came home from those days empty handed and broken-hearted. I still can’t go into a discount store without wondering just what became of those poor stuffed tigers and elephants birthed out of unrequited adolescent love.

Flash-forward to high school and my game got much worse. Rose-petal bath gels were replaced by sad-bastard mix tapes left on window sills (this was before stalking became so en vogue). As if a cassette filled with The Smiths (Robert, Elliot, and Moz) were not enough to prove my angst, I often included instructions on how to listen to the mix.

Wait until it is raining and then listen to the first three songs on the back of the bus. Alone.

After you get in a fight with your boyfriend, play songs 5-8. Call me.

While this might not be the best method to court someone (boyfriends tend to get their hands on these sorts of things), there is some truth in dictating how a person listens to a mix.

Music, more so than other art form, is influenced by the context in which you experience it. Certain songs sound better in the car, or at night, or in the bedroom. Certain mixes are meant to be heard on the dance floor, or alone, or on the back of the bus on a rainy day. This is why when you create a comp you should always have some sort of perfect listening situation in mind. It probably won’t happen, but at least you gave it a shot.

So from me to you, left on your window sill, with a cheap stuffed animal beside it, is a mix tape titled Winter’s Sunglasses: A Walking Mix. And the note inside of it reads:

Wait until there is a break in the clouds.

Go outside and grab a coffee.

Walk around.

Listen Here

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  1. [...] romantic round of Plotto inspired stories had us reminiscing about old flames, listening to mix tapes, and eating large amounts of [...]

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