Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The DJ Nightmare Detailed

I have mentioned the "soundboard nightmare" a few times here, and the accompanying "DJ nightmare" as well. For some unknown reason I had it again this morning. It was typical and serves as a description of how they tend to go:

I am auditioning to be the DJ at a huge roller-rink which has been converted to a nightclub. They want me to do a "Retro 80s Goth Night," and I am confident that I can do this, especially because most of the patrons are my friends.

Unfortunately the CD players aren't working so I am forced to use vinyl...this is a slower process and I don't have a lot of vinyl with me. To start off with a bang -- and prove my credibility -- I play an obscure and well-loved song that everybody dances to usually, but instead, the crowd just stares at me and goes back to talking to each other. They are not drunk enough for this particular song. It was a bad choice.

In the booth with me is an acquaintance who is trying to help me, but instead of doing so he is simply a witness to all my mistakes, and a more immediate and professional judge than the invisible bar owner. When I cue up the next song he whispers that it's actually being auditioned on the program channel, and he shows me how to cue the record properly, even though it's something I should have known long ago.

Scrambling to unpack my records, the only other vinyl I have on hand so far is Belinda Carlisle, and I am forced to play's either that or dead air while I find something else. A few people dance sarcastically, and others begin to request songs.

I try to listen to their requests while unpacking the records, mindful that the Belinda Carlisle song is coming to an end, but all the records I'm pulling out are the "long-shot" ones that I shouldn't even bother carrying around: totally obscure choices that nobody ever wants to hear. They're on the top of the pile, apparently. Meanwhile a girl is trying to describe a song she wants to hear, but she doesn't know the name or artist so instead she's talking about the artist's lifestyle. I know that she's describing a newer song -- not one from the '80s -- but I have to let her finish before I can tell her I can't play it.

Just before the Belinda Carlisle song ends I find The Cure's "The Walk" single, and frantically get it set up and played...but it's a B-side flamenco guitar version. Some diehard Cure fans dance, but they don't really want to be doing so.

I believe I have the perfect follow-up, which will also serve as my redemption: the live version of Depeche Mode's "Everything Counts." But I can't find the album. I keep finding OTHER editions of their live album, but never the one with "Everything Counts" on it. Finally the previous song ends and there is a moment of dead air as I slap a different Depeche Mode album down and play something randomly...and it's an "unplugged" version with extended acoustic guitar solos.

A drunken friend jumps onto the dancefloor and starts acting obnoxious, dancing ridiculously and invading everybody's personal spaces. The few people who WERE dancing have left because of him. Meanwhile, up in the booth, I've managed to play ANOTHER incorrect version of a song, and this one is only seventy-one seconds long...even though I now have everything unpacked I'm unable to find a follow-up song which matches it. I'm fumbling with records, all of which have unwieldy gatefold covers and oddly-shaped record sleeves which cannot be swapped between them.

I keep on thinking that I will do better soon -- finally get organized and "in the groove" -- but it just never happens...I have ruined the night for everybody.