How to Turn a DMV Letter Into a Setlist

15 Sep

Any journalist who is worth their weight in salt (or shit for that matter) should have a notebook, journal or at the very least a pen with a pad of paper.  I have attended upwards of a dozen live shows this year and it wasn’t until a month ago that I remembered to bring along a recently purchased notepad and audio recorder.

Prior to that I was taking notes via text message, or more likely, writing notes and setlists on pieces of mail.  If you find yourself in a pinch, the latter can really come in very handy for taking notes.  It is a simple 4-step process outlined below:

Step 1:  Select the most annoying piece of mail in your pile.  In this case, I had a vehicle registration renewal invoice from the Department of Motor Vehicles to the tune of $58.  I have recreated the DMV letter below.

Step 2:  Open said piece of mail and remove the contents, making sure to place it somewhere where you will forget about it entirely.  I suggest using the contents as a bookmark or a coaster.

Step 3:  Gently tear the envelope’s sides with your index finger and unfold.

Step 4:  Fold the envelope back on itself lengthwise to expose the most free space.  Begin with the artist’s name at the top of the envelope.  Depending on your familiarity with the artist, either place the song title next to its sequential tracking number or the lyrics from a hook so that you can look the song up at a later date.  Make sure to use your most illegible penmanship.

The Result

Side 1

Side 2

This particular setlist was for a Sharon Van Etten and Conor Oberst show that I attended a few months ago.  I was able to fit approximately thirty songs (including encores) from two sets on one two-sided envelope–a convoluted mess.  I finally recognized the error of my ways, and like a true journalist, dropped $3.99 on a pocket notebook the last time that I was in the checkout line at Barnes & Noble.

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