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  • When we were growing up, at some point in my preadolescence years, my brother and I (who were just 1 grade apart in school) somehow managed to merge our two separate group of friends into just one big group. We would spend time playing soccer together, pass time at each others house playing songs in the guitar, and lots of other fun things including, during one magical year, organizing great parties.

    I still can't remember who came up with the idea, but I do remember that the place chosen for the first party was our house, for the simple reason that my brother and I had (and still have) the coolest parents. I remember my dad arriving home and immediately being surrounded by all these boys promising to wash the car, wax the tires, take the trash out, and a million other things, in exchange for the chance to organize a party at our house. After some resistance, my parents agreed with the idea and said they would let us use the house for the party, as long as we cleanup everything after it.

    I can also easily recall why we wanted so badly to organize these parties. We (the boys, that is) had arrived at that wonderful age when we start to really notice the girls (which of course were already at that same maturity point for a while by then). This age is wonderfully described through this line from High Fidelity (movie / book):

    "One moment they weren't there — not in any form that interested us, anyway — and the next, you couldn't miss them. They were everywhere."

    The idea for the party was very simple. The first step was to find a suitable house, then invite the girls we went to school with (from my grade and from my brother's grade). Each person invited would bring either something to drink or to eat, and we would all get together and have a great time dancing, with a chance of getting to kiss the girl we liked, if we got lucky. And in order for this last part to happen, there was once crucial role to be performed: DJ.

    At that time, being a DJ for a party meant that you would have to spend hours next to the radio, with the tape all set to be put to record once the song you were looking for started playing (and then pray that no weird announcements with the radio station's name would come through while you were recording). Since I always loved slow dance songs, I was put in charge of recording a mixtape with those. And boy, did I work hard on that!

    I spent weeks crafting the perfect mixtape, which was a mix of popular ballads from that time, songs to please everyone, some a little faster, some a little slower... and right there, buried in between the tracks, the one song reserved for the moment when you finally get a chance to dance with the girl you like: "November Rain" by Guns N' Roses. Yes, it was a great rock ballad, but above all, it was a song that lasted almost 9 minutes (!!), which was the longest time you would ever had to pick up enough courage to make a move on the girl you liked, while you were dancing together for all those long minutes.

    In the end we were just a bunch of kids, learning about love (and rejection), about friendship, about how wonderful it was to enjoy life among friends and good music.

    Those were magical times... :)

    The gorgeous photo above is from
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