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Watching Duke Dumont get bottled and spat on broke my heart

No chart-topping grafter deserves this

  • Words: Patrick Hinton | Image: Alex Jenkins
  • 11 October 2016
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Last month, two weeks deep into a North American tour, Duke Dumont went up to Edmonton in Canada to play Union Hall, and the night went disastrously. A balcony overlooking the stage rained hell onto the DJ, with its occupants launching a tirade of bottles and spit onto the poor Duke, who halted the music, called out his aggressors and stormed off, cutting his set short. When he first hit Number One and imagined future fans salivating over his sets, we doubt this is what he had in mind. “If you’re brave enough, come the fuck down now!” he shouted down a mic in the direction of the balcony.

The whole thing’s heartbreaking to watch. The head of the Blasé Boys Club losing his cool while being booed. The Duke of the scene relegated to a ridiculed court jester. Within a country whose overt politeness is a source of mockery from its noisy southern neighbours, and a city named like an Oxbridge college, no less.

As Duke Dumont left the stage in fury, the highs of his best-selling singles, those moments where life seemed so perfectly on track, must have felt like ancient history, disintegrating like Roman ruins before his eyes. The thrill of the Grammy nomination now minimised in memory to the level of enthusiasm shown by Homer Simpson’s bellhop in Homer’s Barbershop Quartet, as bodily fluid and sticky alcohol dripped down his exposed skin.

Art imitates life, as the saying goes, so without stretching at all, it’s fair to say Duke Dumont’s fall reflects the fall of society. Just look at the facts. Today, notorious homophobe James Arthur sits atop the UK singles chart, having just ousted accused sexists The Chainsmokers. Meanwhile, a previous darling of the masses who made inoffensive bangers was hounded offstage by a medieval mob brandishing 21st century weapons of spit and bottles in place of pitchforks. A harrowing scene to behold.

As Duke Dumont left the stage, he made a final apology to the “99.9 per cent” of people behaving respectfully, but this majority was of no comfort. As his career high noted, he needs 100%. And now summer 2013’s biggest anthem will be forever tinged with wistful sadness.

Patrick Hinton is Mixmag's Digital Staff Writter. Follow him on Twitter

Alex Jenkins is a freelance illustrator and regular contributor to Mixmag. Follow him on Instagram