Jason Kahn 
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Works for Radio
Text contribution to Brandon Labelle's
Audio Installation «Phantom Music»
as part of the Archipel Festival
Geneva, Switzerland

printable version

I had just moved back to Los Angeles from living in Denver for one year. I was in the 10th grade at North Hollywood high school. I don't even remember the class this memory is attached to, but I do remember the song and the person who kept telling me how "You gotta hear this song, it's so fucking rad, it will change your life." This person's name was Cindy. She used to sit in class breaking apart blue-colored diet capsules. She explained to me, "The pink balls are speed and the white balls are sugar. I don't want the white balls 'cause they're bad for your teeth, so I pick out the pink balls." She spent most of the class hour separating the pink from the white balls. She could separate five capsules' worth of pink balls in the course of one class period. Each capsule yielded between 20 to 25 pink balls. Cindy sat towards the back of the class and kept her purse up on the desk, so the teacher didn't notice her. I sat next to Cindy. Cindy had peroxide blonde hair, parted in the middle and long down to her waist. She usually wore tight Levis bellbottom cords, a halter top and Wallabies. Needless to say of someone with an amphetamine habit, she was bone thin. Her skin was so white it seemed to glow. She wore tons of make-up, nearly in done-up chola style but still respectfully detached from this: she was white and lived in an appartment house behind the Thrifties on the corner of Laurel Canyon and Ventura Boulevards. She smelled of menthol cigarettes. I wasn't in love with her but she fascinated me. When Cindy had enough of the pink balls she would crush them to a powder on the formica desktop with the bottom of a nail polish bottle. "Now, this is the best part," she said, as she swept the pulverized pink diet balls onto her make-up mirror. She took a dollar bill out of her purse, rolled it tight and inhaled the pink powder in one pass. Her timing was so perfect that the class bell rang five minutes after she'd finished. "You mean you don't know Peter Frampton? Get serious! 'Show Me the Way,' dude! I mean, like, he's playing guitar and, you know, like, he's singing and what he's playing on the guitar is what he's singing, so it's like he's singing on the guitar too. Way rad! And a total fox! What radio station do you listen to, anyways?"

Name of Song & Artist/Group from your memory:
Peter Frampton “Show Me the Way”

Location where your story/memory
happened (city, space…):
Los Angeles, California
North Hollywood High School // Classroom

Year of your memory: 1975