Once again, Enthusiasts, we are in Mr. Completely’s debt: a comment he just left has inspired me and I hope that my inspiration shall move us all…
You’re a monster.
No conversation about tapes can be without a sidebar on Dead Shorthand. All sub-cultures have jargon, a shared and allusive pidgin that evolves memetically; it serves two purposes: first, any group of humans with a shared and specific intent has need for different language than the masses, as concepts that may not even exist outside the group are vitally important within; second, jargon serves as a shibboleth and identifier of group membership far better than any uniform ever could.
There was the common tongue of the lot, and certainly one backstage, but the one most Deadheads are familiar with is Dead Shorthand: the tape code. At first an impenetrable glop, like Polish had sex with a broken typewriter, the cypher quickly opened itself and one could get down to what’s important: nitpicking details and arguing about ephemera. Did the transition arrow look like “->” or did it look like “>”? Was it GDTR or GDTRFB? Playin or PITB? (The answers: no dash, GDTRFB, and Playin. My brain reads PITB as a Bronx cheer, and it makes the experience less pleasant than it could be. I do not need Dead songs giving me raspberries.)
But as I said, Dead Shorthand is at first a complete hash, and perhaps there are younger readers or those new to the Dead who may still have problems with the initialisms. (The Dead’s abbreviations are not acronyms, but initialisms. An acronym makes a new word out of the first letters of other words (NASA); an initialism just pronounces the first letters (IRS).)
In an effort to lend a hand to those joining this ship of fools, TotD now presents a Guide To Dead Shorthand:
BIODTL Beat it on Down the Line.
NFA Not Fade Away
KHPOA Keith has Passed Out Again.
S>T>S>LBC Smoke>Tune>Lackluster Beatles Cover.
SIOMWTMBA Stuck Inside of Memphis with the Memphis Blues Again.
AWSTAAITBWTSTST Are We Sure that an Abbreviation is the Best Way to Shorten this Song Title?
IHDFMTWATSM If Humans Descended from Monkeys, Then why are There Still Monkees?
D Deal. (Rarely used.)
MNFW My Nipples Feel Weird.
SJW Spanish Jam Warriors. (These are people who feel that the Mind Left Body Jam is offensive to those with Dissociative Disorder.)
GDTS Grateful Dead Ticket Sales
GDTSS Grateful Dead Time-Share Sales. (This was Rakow’s idea.)
JGB Fuckin’ Jerry Band.
JGWMLDOTGDOI Japanese Guy who Makes Lego Dioramas of the Grateful Dead on Instagram.
DMF>HJ This doesn’t mean anything; don’t worry about it; move on.
TRCRTWWC The Road Crew Refuses to Work Without Cocaine.
UJB Uncle John’s Band.
BJS Big John Studd.
TMGLTMKITGROA To Make Gentle Love to Michiko Kakutani is the Greatest Review of All.
MDTH Mickey Dosed the Horses.