Picture yourself, the man in the street, arriving to work one morning to find that the most basic tools you need to carry out your day’s labour are missing. No PC. No hole-punch No ploughing horse thing. No plank of wood with a nail in the end of it. In their place stand instruments completely foreign to you, and yet you are still expected to perform your job to your usual high standards. Go on, try writing that annual sales report with an etch-a-sketch, or stunning that heifer using only a flapjack. How do you like it? Now imagine trying to execute this impeded days work with ACTUAL YOUNG PEOPLE standing there watching you. Young people with unnervingly self-assured opinions about literally everything. Young people talking loudly to each other about your inability to do your job as you get redder and sweatier and more flustered until you finally collapse in a whimpering heap.
This is the situation that the international touring DJ finds him or herself in on an all-too-regular basis. Sure, it may seem slightly brazen to rock up to Europe’s top city-break destinations and expect thousands of pounds worth of nuanced music equipment to be magically waiting there for you. It may appear even more brazen to then tell your legions of twitter followers what a useless twunk your promoter is when you discover that all is not exactly as you’d requested, rather than, say, having a polite word with him or her. What’s this? American Audio Usb Players? A professional CD/MP3/WAV player with Midi capabilities so DJs can control their favorite music playback software featuring a large 6-inch (150mm) jog wheel, 9 on-board DSP effects, and a large bright display that shows track titles and artist ID tags? FUCK YOU.
The truth of the matter is that the DJ’s very reputation depends on these shiny flashing lumps of plastic. The merest whiff of a mis-matched kick drum and some haircut in the corner will have whipped out his iphone, logged on to hardcorecontinuum.net/forum and started a thread about the decline of the DJ in austerity Britain using you as the poster-boy, all before you can say “but the headphones are broken!”
All you ever wanted to do was bring a bit of sunshine in to a few bleak lives, and now a 19-year-old stranger with a Victorian briefcase and an ironic meerschaum is knocking on your door and informing you that they’ve all had a meeting, and they’ve decided that you’re a dick.
Originally published in Mixmag, March 2013.