You sometimes hear (mostly old) people say “Ooh he doesn't suffer fools gladly”. One could reply, “Who does?” As I can't think of anyone who might actually relish having to deal with idiots… but there you go. I would, though, say that this definitely applies to me. As DJs I'm sure we've all suffered fools on many an occasion and some time ago I thought it might be somewhat entertaining to write down these encounters. I always have a notepad with me, so I started scribbling them down and sharing them with friends. Sadly one 'friend' subsequently shared them with the joyless git who was at the time employing me and I was promptly fired! It seems he was the only one who didn't find these anecdotes amusing.
So, in the hope that you have a better sense of humour than my former employer (you do), I share with you now a small selection of the conversations I've had with punters over the years. However, before I start, I want to make two things clear. Firstly, they are all absolutely genuine. If they weren't there'd be no point my writing this. In fact some are just so ludicrous I couldn't have made them up myself in a million years! Secondly, I am well aware that I come across as a cantankerous old curmudgeon, but sometimes we'd all rather be someplace else wouldn't we...
I'll start you off with a recent one. This woman is sixty-something but thinks she's a teenager and I've suffered her inane meanderings many times. This is a good example of her work though:
HER: THAT LAD WHO'S GOT A LOVELY VOICE.
HER: ALWAYS ON HEART TV (Can you get Heart TV?). SAM SMITH IS IT?
ME: OK – WHICH ONE?
HER: SAM SMITH. HE'S ALWAYS ON THE RADIO.
ME: YES BUT WHICH SONG?
HER: THE ONE THAT'S ALWAYS ON THE RADIO.
ME: WHAT'S IT CALLED?
HER: I DON'T KNOW!
ME: SHALL I JUST PLAY ANY ONE THEN?
HER: NO! I WANT THE ONE THAT'S ALWAYS ON THE RADIO!
ME: WELL YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT IS THOUGH DO YOU!
She then stomped off in a huff. I'm not sure what else I could've done there, or why it's my fault that she loves a song so much yet couldn’t tell me the title or indeed anything about it. If you think she was rude, then let me tell you about the time I was playing Bob Sinclar's 'Love Generation' and I was apprehended by this charmer:
HIM: CAN YOU PLAY SOMETHING DIRTY AND A BIT LESS GAY?
ME: I'M SORRY?
HIM: SOMETHING DIRTY MAN!
HIM: DON'T YOU KNOW WHAT DIRTY MEANS?
ME: NOT IN A MUSICAL CONTEXT, NO.
HIM: DIRTY! JUNGLE!
ME: AH, RIGHT. LIKE WHAT?
HIM: I DUNNO - SOMETHING DIRTY. NOT F**KING GAY.
His mother must be so proud. To be honest, I'm amazed I was that polite to him. I have a rule that I'm always extremely polite to someone unless they're rude to me – then I'll be twice as rude back, or do something like this next tale. It was about ten minutes from the end of the night and not very busy. I was finishing off with a few ‘90s guitar tunes… Shed Seven, Ocean Colour Scene, Airhead… that kind of stuff. Suddenly, two – let's be polite – not terribly classy young ladies came racing over. The smaller of the two spoke/shouted:
HER: TURN THIS OFF NOW! SKIP IT!
HER: TURN IT OFF NOW! NOW!
So I did. I hit pause and everyone looked round to see what had happened. I then announced over the mic that “this girl here has just screamed at me to stop it right now” before asking her what I should do now. They just turned and left...
I'd also like to use this piece as an opportunity to vent my spleen about a certain word that I swear wasn't used (much) when I started DJing in the mid-‘90s but is commonplace now. That word is 'cheesy'. I hate the word for many reasons. Mainly because it's used by music snobs to belittle anything popular or remotely catchy. I also dislike its use because it means so many things to different people. As well as being something negative, people use it in a positive way too - “Oh get the cheese on!” they beam. Lastly though, the biggest problem is that it's subjective. One man's cheese is another man's chalk. Here's a good example:
HER: CAN YOU PLAY A SONG FOR ME, IT'S REALLY, REALLY CHEESY?
You might like to have a guess at this point what she was going to ask me for. I was thinking 'YMCA' or 'AGADOO'. It's “really, really cheesy'” let's not forget...
ME: THAT'S FINE YEAH, I WILL. WHICH?
HER: ROBIN S ‘SHOW ME LOVE’
Now, that illustrates my point about how stupid a word 'cheesy' is. What's “really, really cheesy” about Robin S? If that's “really, really cheesy” then what's 'Agadoo' (keep it clean)? I also once had someone book me for a wedding and was instructed via scrawls on the booking forms, and again in person upon my arrival, that the bride did not want “any cheesy music played” (yes, god forbid anyone might actually enjoy themselves). So what then was the first thing the bride came and asked me?
HER: “HAVE YOU GOT ANY SPICE GIRLS?”
Then you get the people that you just cannot please. Or understand. I'd been playing nothing but ‘70s and ‘80s all night. I had just started to play a ‘90s track – 'The One & Only' – and then this bloke staggered over:
HIM: CAN YOU PLAY SOME ‘70S AND ‘80S?
ME: I AM! I HAVE BEEN ALL NIGHT!
HIM: YEAH, BUT LIKE SOME ‘80S AND THAT.
ME: (BITING MY LIP) OK, LIKE WHAT? NAME SOME ‘80S BANDS THAT YOU LIKE.
HIM: I DUNNO - JUST ‘70S AND ‘80S AND THAT.
ME: THAT'S WHAT I'VE BEEN PLAYING!
HIM: SOME EARLY ‘80S MUSIC, YOU KNOW, REALLY EARLY ‘80S.
ME: LIKE WHO?
He then paused and spent a few seconds in contemplation:
ME: THE PRODIGY? THEY'RE ‘90S, NOT EARLY ‘80S!
HIM: HOW MANY 18 YEAR OLDS ARE THERE IN HERE?
ME: I DUNNO, WHY?
HIM: I'M A MIDDLE-AGED MAN. THERE'S SOME MIDDLE-AGED MEN OVER THERE. WE DON'T WANT SH*T FOR 18 YEAR OLDS.
ME: WHO'S PLAYING SH*T FOR 18 YEAR OLDS?
He then got really pally with me for some reason:
HIM: I'M NOT HAVING A GO AT YOU MATE.
And with that he shook my hand and wandered off.
The full article can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 85, Pages 52-55.