[The remake song “The Sound of Silence” on their first album was well received, So they titled their second album “The Sound of Silence”. They were a duo going by the name of Tom and Jerry…]
“I know! I know this!”
Jin Q frantically raised his hands before the question even showed. Chulhwan laughed as he told him to calm down.
“Mr. Jin Q, please go ahead.”
“It’s Simon & Garfunkel!”
“Correct. Simon & Garfunkel, The Sound of Silence. Let’s return after the song.”
As the song began to play, Jin Q triumphantly looked at Minho. He seemed to say that no matter how good Minho was at solving quizzes, Jin Q wouldn’t be falling behind in musical knowledge.
‘Punk. He sure is trying hard.’
Minho mentally applauded. The quiz was not what was important right now. He was drawn to the pop song that was flowing out from the speakers.
A scene from the movie ‘The Graduate’ from the year ‘67 played in his head. And the sentiments of the song played through his head even though he didn’t know the lyrics. He was relishing the entrancing moment of the harmony overlapping the guitar, and the scene of Dustin Hoffman holding the hand of the bride as he kicks open the doors and leaves the wedding hall.
Minho opened his eyes and met the eyes of Chulhwan, who was chuckling as he watched Minho enjoying the music.
“Sunsaengnim, have you watched ‘The Graduate’?”
“Of course. In our time, everyone saw that movie. But how does a young man like you know about such an old movie?”
“My father used to like it.”
Minho roughly made up a story. And he grinned to himself because he was able to feel all sorts of sentiments due to the sparkling headphones.
[five seconds left.]
Chulhwan brought his mouth to the mic and spoke.
“The Sound of Silence. Even the people who don’t know the title might feel that they’ve heard this song somewhere. It’s a song famous as the OST* of ‘The Graduate.’ Minho, I heard you’ve watched this movie as well?”
“I only remember a few snippets of what my father was watching. I think the actress from ‘The Graduate’ was very beautiful.”
Chulhwan and Minho laughed together.
“Many people know the song titled ‘Bridge Over the Harsh World’ which is the korean translated version of Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’. This duo parted ways during the time this song came out. I think the year was ‘69 or ‘68…”
Minho spoke as he looked over to Chulhwan who was fumbling through his blurry memory.
“They parted ways after their fourth album, so it was 1970.”
“Ah, that’s right. Year ‘70. You’re said to be the quiz winner so you do know a lot.”
Chulhwan nodded in a sign of gratitude.
Jin Q was dumbfounded to be overlooked as soon as they began to speak about the music even though he was the one who had answered the quiz correctly.
Producer Ahn, who was searching the notice board, spoke.
“The listener’s reactions are explosive today. Especially for this guy, he’s something. He could be a substitute on the days Bae Sunsaengnim has off.”
“He really could.”
Writer Shim was watching Minho and Jin Q as they made their finishing remarks and she nodded with a contented expression.
Producer Ahn gave the commercial signal to the DJ and held up his cellphone when he felt it vibrate.
“Hello, Kyungchul Ahn speaking.”
Producer Ahn was listening to the voice on the phone, then abruptly stood up and shouted with an angry face.
“He quit? What are you saying all of a sudden? The contract for fixed casting is six months?!”
The staff in the studio all turned their eyes to him as he raised his voice.
“I don’t know how well off AT Entertainment is, but I haven’t seen anyone be successful after backstabbing me this way! What? He’ll appear today? Forget it!”
While Producer Ahn was fuming, Minho and Jin Q came out after finishing their last remarks. The two people recognized the weirdly chaotic atmosphere and felt they had to tiptoe around Producer Ahn.
Writer Shim quickly came to their side and greeted them.
“Good work, the two of you.”
Jin Q, whose spirit was squashed mid way through the section, walked out forlornly.
“Today was fun.”
Minho walked out after saying goodbye.
Producer Ahn threw the script that was in his hands on the floor as soon as the two people walked out.
“Ugh! This is just infuriating!”
Chulhwan, who was getting a drink of water during the commercial break, turned his gaze outside.
“Producer Ahn, what’s wrong?”
Producer Ahn plopped down on the seat and spoke when Chulhwan asked through the mic.
“You know the guy who’s been doing the live singing in the second part? He said he contracted with AT entertainment and he’s not going to do it anymore.”
“He got picked up by a big agency. That’s good.”
Producer Ahn, who had been shouting, repressed his heightened temper because of Chulhwan’s indifference.
“Think of it positively. He was a rookie that you brought in hoping he’d do well.”
“I told him not to come in because I was angry. We’ll just play songs in the last part of our second section.”
Chulhwan contemplated for a bit, then spoke.
“See if a singer named Sanggun Lee is outside.”
Jin Q was standing in front of the Studio Three door. He repressed his boiling anger and spoke to Minho, who came out behind him.
“Let’s never cross paths again. Because I think I’ll write a buttload of diss lyrics about you the next time I see you.”
Minho didn’t feel like yielding like he had before because he had already taken off the sparkling headphones. But he didn’t feel any particular agitation at Jin Q’s grumbling either.
He had finished the broadcast well too.
“It was nice meeting you.”
Minho held out his hand. Jin Q glared at him for a bit then sighed deeply as he lightly shook Minho’s hand. Then he turned around and disappeared. Minho beamed a smile.
‘Anyway, where is Manager Gong?’
Minho took out his cellphone in order to message Manager Gong that he had finished. Then his eyes grew wide as he saw a person sitting in the lobby chair. It was a man in his early 30’s holding a guitar that was covered in a faint light.
‘The guitar is a cherished object?’
Minho’s eyes were drawn to the instrument. He was always envious of people who played the guitar well because he himself couldn’t even play the recorder when he was in school. It was obvious the guitar’s powers had something to do with playing it.
Minho ran over to him and the other guy flinched in surprise. He was tall but seemed very innocent for looking so big, so Minho just went with it and asked,
“I’m sorry, but can I play your guitar once?”
Minho nodded, his eyes completely filled with anticipation.
“Are you the person who was on the Music Journey broadcast just now?”
“Ah, that’s correct.”
“I enjoyed listening. You’re Minho Kang, right?”
The guy pointed at the live radio application on his cellphone.
“Wow, thank you for listening.”
The guy handed over the guitar with a naive laugh while Minho was thanking him. Minho took the guitar with excitement in his face and plopped down next to the guy.
He didn’t know anything about chords but he was able to know that was the A chord. It was well tuned as well.
Now what shall I do?
His body naturally answered that question. His fingers moved by themselves even though he didn’t know how to play any songs.
The tune that flowed out from the guitar was familiar. People who were passing by stopped their feet and turned their gaze toward the bench as a complex rhythmic tune played. The guy looked at Minho with a surprised look as well.
Minho was entranced playing the guitar and later came to realize the that song he was playing was the song of the Indie artist that he had heard in the morning broadcast.
‘What was his name again?’
“Mr. Sanggun Lee!”
Someone who was walking from the other end of the studio hall way shouted. The guy, who was listening to Minho perform, abruptly stood up.
“Mr. Sanggun Lee?”
Minho realized it was Writer Shim’s voice and stopped playing. Writer Shim bowed her head to him when she saw Minho was there as well. And then she got right to the point with Sanggun.
“I’m the composition writer for Music Journey. Are you able to sing live for our broadcast in 40 minutes?”
Sanggun nervously looked at Writer Shim.
“Chulhwan sunsaengnim was looking for you.”
“I’m going to have to go since the commercials are ending soon. But come to Studio Three for now.”
Writer Shim disappeared towards the studio walking with short and quick steps. Sanggun wasn’t able to discern if this was real or if it was a dream. And when he finally realized it was real, he bowed 90 degrees towards the studio.
Minho returned the guitar to Sanggun. Sanggun hastily took it back and disappeared towards the studio.
‘I wonder what happened!’
Minho tilted his head to one side, then took out his cellphone to contact Manager Gong. But a text message from him had already arrived.
[I’m in a meeting with the producer of a variety show. It’ll take about 30 minutes. There’s a cafe near the lobby, so please wait there. Oh, the broadcast was very good.]
It seemed like Manager Gong was indeed dividing up the 24 hours into 72 sections and meticulously using them. It seemed like there was no time that was used carelessly.
‘In any case, he’s diligent.’
Minho was thinking about staying at the cafe but realized he had drunk an immense amount of coffee today. So he turned his gaze towards the inside of the broadcast station.
‘Shall I look around?’
And if he met a celebrity while looking around, it would satisfy his eyes as well. It would be even better if the celebrity was a pretty female star like Eunha Seo.
“Why are you shaking so much, Mr. Sanggun Lee?”
Producer Ahn clicked his tongue saying that wouldn’t do as he watched Sanggun practicing live.
“We have 20 minutes left till broadcast. We’ll pre-record you if you feel you can’t do it, so try it properly.”
Sanggun calmed his breathing. Not only did Chulhwan give him a special chance, it was to sing live in the Music Journey. So Sanggun was very nervous.
Refocusing himself, he started to play and began singing again.
His voice was somewhat good but his guitar playing was still sloppy. There was a lot of shaking in his fingertips because of Producer Ahn’s gaze.
“How can we go on air with this? Mr. Sanggun, Let’s use a recording rather than you playing. Just sing.”
He hadn’t been able to get just an instrumental music recording because he was a poor Indie singer. But if he said he didn’t have any, Sanggun felt the chance would be taken away.
Sanggun contemplated for a bit and remembered Minho who had played his guitar in the lobby.
“Please wait one minute!”
There was a high chance Minho had left already, but Sanggun ran out of Studio Three with a glimmer of hope. He ran out in the blink of an eye and looked around but all he could find were broadcast station personnels.
Sanggun slumped and teared up as he returned to the studio.
He’d been an Indie singer for so long. How could he throw away this chance that he finally got! He was still in the same place he was before. No wonder he couldn’t get popular.
“It’s all ruined……”
Sanggun lowered his head in front of the door of Studio Three. ‘No, he told me to keep my chin up.’
At that moment, he lifted his head and saw a young man peering around the radio studio on the other side of the hallway.
Minho was trailing behind a girl group that was making a radio appearance at 10:00. He was sorry to take his eyes off them when he turned his head.
Minho was sitting blankly holding a guitar while Sanggun was standing nervously in front of the mic. And Writer Shim looked back and forth between them, thinking that for the first time in 20 years of Music Journey, there might be a broadcast accident.
“Bae sunsaengnim. Please think this over again.”
Chulhwan laughed softly and answered Producer Ahn.
“Hey Producer Ahn. You and I like music. These guys are the same. So relax.”
[Where are you?]
Minho checked Manager Gong’s text message and sent a short reply.
[I’m on the second section of Music Journey.]
Minho could picture Manager Gong’s eye growing wide. Sanggun asked Minho in all seriousness to play once. But Minho accepted without much consideration because he was just happy to be able to brilliantly play the guitar.
“One minute left of commercial.”
Sanggun seemed to get more nervous with Producer Ahn’s voice. Chulhwan was watching Sanggun and quietly stood up.
“Sanggun, in one of the lyrics in your song–”
“Even the effort to dream is blurred at the youthful age of thirty-three. I feel that those lyrics are wrong. Don’t you still have a dream now? The dream to want to let more people hear your song. This place will be the stepping stone to fulfill that dream.”
The nervousness in Sanggun’s face began to subside. Minho admired the greatness of 20 years of DJ experience. Then he discovered the faint glow on the sparkling headphones on the table.
The light usually disappeared on the other cherished objects after he touched them once. So he had assumed that the light would disappear right away once he recognized the hidden abilities and touched it.
It was like that for the scissors he touched today, and as well as this guitar. But the headphones were glowing again.
‘Why is that?’
Minho picked up the headphones curiously.
“five seconds of commercial left!”
Sanggun turned his eyes towards Minho.
“Please, Mr. Minho”
Minho unconsciously put the sparkling headset on his neck. Then he prepared the intro to Sanggun’s song ‘Dreaming Youth.’
He started with the same chords but the rhythm was a bit different. Sanggun noticed it and his complexion changed. But he calmly sang the first lyrics since the beat was the same.
It was a warmer-feeling variation that was different from what he had heard that morning. Then Minho thought of the sparkling headphones. Maybe it was because of them, but Sanggun’s rhythmical original song seemed to have been seasoned with a more abundant harmony.
Sanggun was surprised even as he sang and looked at Minho. Minho just smiled and began to enjoy the peculiar phenomenon that was created by the headphones and the guitar.
The music that echoed in the booth resonated and spread across the country through the transmission tower. Finally the live singing finished and Sanggun turned to Minho with his eyes red with tears.
“Thank you, Mr. Minho.”
Minho laughed calmly due to the sparkling headphones. Sanggun thought that laughter strangely resembled Chulhwan’s.
Writer Shim was looking at the monitor and discovered the word ‘Music Journey Live’ ranking first on the search list. She was surprised and was about to faint. Usually TV programs ranked number one on Fridays but the radio had taken over that rank.
“Sanggun, why are you crying? You did well.”
“Thank you, sunsaengnim.”
Chulhwan contently looked at Sanggun, who was scratching his head. And then he turned his eyes to Minho who had so skillfully played the guitar. He liked Minho the more he looked at him.
“You too, good work.”
“It’s all thanks to you, sunsaengnim.”
“Thanks to me?”
Chulhwan smiled softly when he saw the sparkling headphones on Minho’s neck.
[five seconds before commercials end.]
The On-Air sign lit up and Chulhwan brought his mouth to the mic.
“The studio’s atmosphere became quite pleasant due to the two young men’s surprise performance. I believe those who were listening feel the same. What I think is this. I believe a good live performance is not about how similarly one sings to the original song, but about how much you bring joy or how much the people listening fill with emotion. We’ll finish Friday’s music journey. Produced by Kyungchul Ahn and written by Bora Shim. And I am your disk jockey, Chulhwan Bae.”
Object: Chulhwan’s sparkling headset
Effect: Shares the knowledge and musical sentiments of the DJ of 20 years
Object: Acoustic guitar belonging to a poor musician
Effect: Allows one to play Sanggun Lee’s song as well as its writer.
Cross Object: double set special session of headset and guitar
Effect: Makes it possible to play a warm variation of the song