Saturday, September 15, 2007

Play that funky music

Things were not always this grim. I used to have a very interesting job. Once upon a time was a very popular Sydney DJ.

Don't laugh, it's true.

Well, I may be stretching the truth slightly, considering that maybe five percent of the people I ended up talking to about it had actually heard of me, but that's beside the point. What was most noticeable during these exchanges was the veritable tirade of questions that could be launched as a result of mentioning my occupation.

"Oh really! What clubs do you play at?"
"Oh really! What style of music do you play?"
"Oh really! You must be really worried about your future, yeh?"

I could never really understand the general fascination, but was always pleased with amount of conversational attention it elicited. I mean, most of the DJs I knew, while being completely lovable in their own right, were at heart music nerds of the highest order. Not unlike computer nerds in many respects.

Eventually, I made the decision to give it up. There were a multitude of reasons for doing so, but I very quickly found myself explaining them ad nauseum to a throng of incredulous scensters each time I went out.

"But why?" they would lament, shaking their beer to enunciate the point.

"I simply couldn't do it anymore." I would respond defensively. "Working 9 to 5 during the week, and then going out every Friday and Saturday night. Being forced to go to clubs when you didn't want to, missing peoples birthdays, going away parties, weddings. Hanging out with people younger than I was, who weren't my friends. And look, even if I did make it big, I really couldn't see myself being a travelling musician and being away from my (very hypothetical) wife and kids."

"I see." they would say, scratching their chin and nodding solemnly. "But tell me this, why did you quit?"

It wasn't long before the momentum of such conversations led me to feign drink emptiness and back away slowly, trying unsuccessfully to avoid eye contact.

It was pretty tiresome. The interesting thing was, no-one in the industry who was working a similar circuit to me ever questioned the decision. They understood completely, perhaps even better than I did. I think my closest friends Will and Spook were disappointed, mainly because it meant that they would have one less friend to heckle, draw texta on the face of, and buy indigestible concoctions of alcoholic beverages with questionably inspirational titles (The flaming funktrust, the kanga cricket, etc). But as they were well aware, there's only so long that your stomach allows you to drink something that was previously on fire.

During my last few months of DJing I began working at a place called Cargo, which was to all appearances a swish Darling Harbour nightclub. In reality, it was an arse pinching thoroughfare of oily haired bogans with delusions of class. It was here that I met Mikey, a beer swilling, sailor-talking ray of sunshine in this womanising wasteland. We had a simple approach to dealing with the place: Drink a lot of beer and make up jokes at other peoples expense.

It was during one of these cycles that I was approached by a girl of extremely questionable age who was obviously about to request something I'd never heard of, as was the usual fare in the place.

"Hi," She said, attempting to catch me in her doe eyed tractor beam. "Can you play [something I'd never heard of but five bucks says she saw it on video hits that morning]?"

"Sure," I said "Or alternatively, you could just wait until your next blue light disco and then hear it there."

I then erupted in peals of laughter, slapping Mikey in the stomach and retelling the story paying particular attention to my brashness and wit. When I turned around, she was still there, scowling at me. She raised her hand to her head, formed the letter 'L' with her finger and thumb, the international teen-symbol for 'loser'.

"Oh my God!" I bellowed, spilling my beer. "Could you BE any more from high school? You're like a really bad parody of yourself!"

By this stage Mikey and I were having the time of our lives; jumping around and spilling drinks all over ourselves. The track on the turntable could have been running out for all I cared, I was beyond doing anything but hoot with delight. I'm pretty sure the girl wasn't having quite as good a time as us, she made another offensive hand to mouth gesture (which made me almost die, I can tell you) and then left, never to be seen again.

Needless to say I didn't play her track. Looking back now, you'd be forgiven for assuming that I'm an arrogant, opinionated bastard. But you gotta admit, I'm a bastard who comes up with some pretty damn good drunken quips.

I'm going to pay for that night one day, I'm sure.


eleanor bloom said...

Oh yeah Davey, you're da man alright. You SO TOTALLY showed her.

Wouldn't it be funny if you realised later that she'd actually requested something really rare and of high quality?
'Course, that's not likely considering the mature hand gesturing...

I understand your arguments for leaving DJ-ing behind, I've heard the same from other DJs and musos. Can really wreck your social life... unless you're the real loser type who's into groupies. *Gag*
*hand gestures 'L' to forehead*

*rolls eyes*

*bows and departs*

The Man at the Pub said...

Ah a bit of DJ head-up-the-arse syndrome. At least you can play the part. Entertainment is like the hospitality game...when everyone else is partying, you are working your arse off. Sucks.

davey said...

Thanks guys, it's reassuring to know that your low opinion of me won't be affected after I tell stories like this!