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The Secret DJ: Car trouble

Our new regular columnist explores the DJ life - and dispenses the odd bit of DJ wisdom. This month: the pick-up

  • The secret DJ
  • 11 November 2016

With getting picked up at the airport comes an existential dilemma: the old “Will I pass out with exhaustion or talk to the driver animatedly?” thing. I’ve never really understood the fact that many expect, even prefer, the DJ – as both foreigner and ‘star turn’ – to be suitably aloof. It’s something you can get away with, but I tend to see it in bastards, addicts and lunatics generally. You are either the type who never talks to ‘the help’, or the type who sees them as fellow humans. I know people with practically nothing who treat everyone they interact with in the service industries like shit. It’s got nothing to do with your perceived level of importance, it’s something you have deep down whoever you are. Sometimes this is linked to issues of self-esteem. Sometimes it’s just that you’re a proper rotter. When you are exhausted it’s OK to ask to be left alone. It will be written all over your face and half-expected. But you will have fully gone over to the dark side if you use this merely as an excuse not to talk to people.

You exist in a solo bubble much of the time, at the vinyl coalface. Now and then, however, you do share the road with peers. Particularly at festivals and in Ibiza. I was once collected cheerfully in Ibiza by the obligatory harassed and poorly paid sunburnt urchin. En route to the car he asked if it would be possible to wait 30 mins for a ‘major US duo’, otherwise it would mean two trips, breaking speed limits and possible sackings. Of course! I waited and waited and unsurprisingly it was two hours before two portly titans in inappropriate basketball-wear appeared. Was it possible for humans to walk more slowly? I’ve never seen it done before, or since. Neither looked happy – and neither did our poor driver who was struggling with two trolleys full of giant bags full of their belongings.

Immediately it was clear that something was wrong. “We’re not getting in that” mumbled one. They had a weird skill of freaking out and causing aggro a bit like a horse refusing a fence. They would, quite daintily and quietly, just stop and avert their heads at anything (most things) they didn’t like – and it was for those around them to work out what the issue was. At this early stage we had all yet to learn their rules of engagement, so it was particularly difficult. Once our driver had worked out that it was the car (many DJ contracts stipulate a make or ‘quality’ of pick-up car) I tried to leap to the rescue by opening the door and greeting our heroes.

I was, as they say, ‘left hanging’. “What’s wrong with the car?” asked the driver, plaintively.

“S’dirty” said one.

“I don’t mind! I’m in it!” I chimed helpfully.

“Yeah… you are,” said the other – in a manner that clearly implied what a loser I clearly was. A dirty loser, in a shitty car,
who didn’t have the class to care.

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