Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Guv'nor? I Hardly Even Know Her.

I rarely look forward to visiting London. To me, a London gig's sole pro is that it's a relatively short flight for a transcontinental fee. The city's con list is longer: it's expensive, dirty, induces claustrophobia and, worst of all, is full of Londoners.

As a youngster, I worshiped London as the epicenter of cool, which slots it perfectly into my theory regarding the inverted perception of coolness between youth and adulthood. For example, when I was a youngster, James Bond inspired awe within my little-boy soul with his exotic autos, post-kill bon mots and suaveness with the femmes, but sometime shortly after puberty (watching a Bond marathon on Spike at the age of 24), James suddenly seemed a hokey, chauvinistic douche (forgive all of my fran├žais today -like all well-educated people, I tend to lapse into it despite myself).

One thing London does have going for it (and the reason for my frequent bookings there) is a fairly healthy club scene, and by "healthy" I mean full of puking, wasted, tripping, coked-up and/or k-hole'd paying customers between the ages of 18 and 21. This was definitely the scene when I arrived at my gig at Stamford Arms on Easter Thursday, the start of the holiday weekend in London.

Sometimes it's best (and easiest) to let others do the talking for you, so let's head over to a the review thread at a popular dance music site to get some idea of what people thought of the party:

I should point out, however, that some commentators got the details wrong:

Move D is another DJ I played with that night, and the commentator is assuming that the DJs were taken care of by the promoters. Perhaps Mr. D (known to friends as "Move") was, but I certainly wasn't. In fact, the low point of my night (perhaps tied with the bloke leaning over the barrier and vomiting repeatedly over the DJ setup) was trying to get into the club itself unassisted. The following comments may provide an idea of what the 50 or so yards of near-rioting kids, all pushing towards a sliver of open door manned by a shaved-headed, black-clad doorman version of Jaws, was like:

Only a person possessing Bond-like finesse could maneuver (or in this case, maneuvre) through such a scene holding a bulky, 50 pound bag of of vinyl and CDs. Yet despite lacking the requisite finesse (and a burning desire to turn tail and flee back to my hotel), I managed to get to the front of the mob after about fifteen minutes of involuntary moshing. The only thing that kept me from retreating was my ruthless sense of professionalism and a growing fascination with the unfolding sociological experiment I was witnessing: in virtually every incidence of smacking a person or persons with my record bag or crushing them against a wall in my salmon-like effort to swim upstream to the entrance, I'd be repaid with a Jeckyll and Hyde-like behavioral pattern that went something like this:

Me: Excuse me (smash!)
Them: (Glaring or shoving back) Wot the fock, you wanker! You little cunt!
Me: I'm really sorry, I'm the DJ and I'm late for my set. I know, this is terrible.
Them: (Wide smile spreading across face, adopting sycophantic tone) Aw mate! No worries! Can you get us in, mate? (Shouting ahead) DJ coming through! Make room for Mr. DJ! He's gonna get us in!

I'd say this happened 98% of the time, the remaining 2% involving single, insecure-looking men slimmer or shorter than I.

Now, remember Jaws? I had to face him when I finally swam up to the door. A surge in the crowd propelled me and my bag into the slim gap leading into the venue, and helpful Jaws responded by slamming the metal doors on my record bag (presumably to stabilize me) and ramming his elbow into my sternum (this part I didn't understand). Thus rooted in place with my chest now doing an ET, I politely told the goon that I needed him to open the fucking door because I was the DJ, he had just assaulted me and he was crushing my records. Jaws replied by digging his formidable elbow further into my sternum and telling me he didn't care who I was. At this point, I loudly told him I was about to leave and he could explain to his bosses why the DJ didn't show up. Somehow that worked, and I was allowed not merely to live but to be let inside, only to immediately get frisked for weapons and drugs.

There's nothing worth saying about the actual gig, and soon enough I was headed home in a cab to the my hotel and thankful for the night to be over. Can't wait to go back.

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