It was just past midnight last Saturday when Emma Page '11 noticed something was deeply wrong with the birthday party she was hosting. "I felt that something was off," Page recalled, "but I couldn't quite put my finger on it."
It wasn't until the first 28 seconds of Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" were cut off by the first 45 seconds of Cee-Lo Green's "Fuck You," only to be replaced by the first 37 seconds of Passion Pit's "Sleepyhead," that Page realized what was amiss: "I hadn't heard a complete song all night."
Page recounted how she hadn't selected a specific DJ for her party, opting instead to put out an iPod for general use. As it turned out, this seemingly benign decision would prove to catastrophically undermine her entire party.
Prior to 10 p.m., the party soundtrack remained relatively stable, dominated by Brian Colligan '11, an MCM concentrator with a self-identified music library of over 10,000 songs. Upon his arrival, Colligan compiled an unsolicited on-the-go party playlist, and he had been successfully defending it from outside requests ever since.
The first signs of conflict emerged at roughly 10:05 p.m., when James Hebble '11, a classmate of Page, arrived. Within moments of entering the party, Hebble made a beeline for the sound system. Despite his comparatively smaller music library, Hebble deftly outflanked Colligan by first complementing his selection and then suggesting that "it reminded him of another song," one that Colligan "would totally love." Hebble waited a moment before proceeding to change the track. Despite Colligan's personal enjoyment of the ensuing selection, he was unwilling to let his status as music superpower be usurped so easily.
Over the next two hours, a passive aggressive war of attrition for iPod supremacy was waged - much to the chagrin of sociable party-goers. With his on-the-go playlist revealed to be a veritable Maginot line, Colligan scrambled to pull together a counterattack. Eventually, he settled on an old trick he learned "back in Keeney." Instead of displaying outward displeasure, Colligan waited patiently for Hebble to leave the vicinity; then, when he saw Hebble getting another drink, Colligan switched the song to one of his own choosing.