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ILLUSTRATIONS BY JOHN OQUIST
to our lattes
An employee's rebellion
against coffee shop music
Making a music playlist to play
over the loudspeakers at Espresso
Royale seems pretty simple. For
the servers who compile them,
the ingredients usually involve
indie rock (Radiohead and Broken
Social Scene are common at both
the Espresso on State Street and on
South University Avenue), perhaps
some punk and a sprinkling of pop
- all of which is played softly while
customers sip their lattes, hold
office hours and do homework.
Matt West, a barista at the
Espresso on State, eitherdidn't get
the memo or didn't want to read it.
When he works, his playlist veers
toward the hard rock end of the
music spectrum, and not all the
customers are thrilled about it.
Last weekend, heavy rock waft-
ed through the otherwise tranquil
atmosphere of the caft as West
explained his unconventional
it's more on the heavy rock sort of
psychedelic rock side of things,
it's not really metal," he said. "It's
bands like Black Sabbath, and a lot
of the bands that they influenced,
bands like Witchcraft, who are a
Swedish retro-rock band, and The
Sword," he said. "I'd call it sort of
West has long red hair that falls
down past his beard. He sported a
worn leather jacket, matching worn
black jeans, a belt composed of bul-
lets and a small hammer around
his neck - the symbol for Thor, the
Norse god of thunder. It was cold
outside, so he wore a red scarf that
matched his hair and glasses. He
could have easily blended in at a
Wolf Eyes concert.
West makes drinks at Espresso
Royale's State Streetlocation,where
the servers choose music from a
vast iTunes library in a backroom.
When that isn't enough, some staff-
ers also bring in their own iPods
and CDs. At first, West was cautious
about his soundtracks.
"For a long time I didn't bring any
of my own music in and I just built
stuff out of what I had," West said.
That didn't last long. The one
list of acceptable songs West
would assemble was fairly short
and ended before his shift did.
he said. "Just so that the playl-
ist was longer than the amount of
time I'd be working every shift so
it wasn't the exact the same songs
over and over again."
Indeed, monotonous is the last
thing West's work soundtrack is.
Green living is a catchy but vague tagline for environmental conciousness. Here, Natural
Resources and Environment Prof. Don Scavia talks about what it actually entails.
- As told to Jessica Vosgerchian
r v /
Responses to his disc jockeyin
vary. Sometimes patrons come u
and ask to turn the music downc
"A lot of people think it's too lou
even when we think it's too quiet
On past weekends, students hav
been observed grumbling that th
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ig serious rock is unfitting for a cof-
p fee shop. But West says sometimes
or he'll see patrons' heads begin to
slowly bob. The manager regulates
d it, keeping the louder stuff mostly
for the weekends.
But even West's weekday
ve soundtrack, laden with songs like
le "Black Sabbath" and "Seat Leaf," is a
little bit louder than the songs you'd
typically hear at a caf6 that targets
the studious. In the end, though,
West says he reconciles his taste for
bass with patrons' preferences.
"Basically, the music is supposed
to be for the customers and not for
us, so we just do what they want us
to do," he said. "People have their
own stuff going on and we're all
pretty much happy for it to not be
just dead silence."
Muslim and Jewish
engineers take to the lanes
In an age of ever-mounting inter-
faith tension, progress is being made
on some unlikely fronts.
Last week, on a wintry Saturday
night, members of the Jewish Engi-
neering Association and the Muslim
Engineering Student Association
traded their calculus and mechanical
engineering homework for bowling