Life Lessons

First off, I feel like I have finally become certain about two facts:

1. DJing is fundamentally conservative. At THIS point in history. More: ok.
So back when electronic music was an emergent culture, DJing was playing "those" records, the "right" records, for "those people", the "right" people. It was about consolidating shards of metal into a sword. Ugh. And yet I can't consider a better metaphor right now. Suffice it to say, consolidating and activating a cultural idea. What is/was so exciting about it was the feeling that, on the one hand, the records that one was playing were challenging, both aesthetically, and, more importantly, culturally, socially, politically, and yet, people were dancing. The pleasure of one, a critique of another.

And yet now, when it's not culture, post-ideology, when music is good taste and not bad, there's only two possibilities: lose the floor or lose your soul.

I remember a decade ago. Walking into a nightclub in Washington DC. The DJ was playing banging, militant techno at 150bpm to an empty floor. Idiot. Yes. I mean, you know, build to it, right? Kiss first before fucking. But now I feel differently. Actually, I have for a while, but now I am damn sure. Because that idiot playing at 150bpm, who probably wasn't invited back next week, well, at least, at LEAST, he fucking believed. He believed. He did. And so he was able to, at least, say, yes, well, I'm playing the right records, it's just the people who are wrong. That's the attitude. Because. Well, I saw a friend play tonight. And he made the compromise, and it still failed.

He was building it, building all night long. NYC house classics. Good cuts, obvious cuts, yes, but good, and well-mixed. And then. He played an acid house record. A new one. Well, it came out last year. New enough. And it all went to hell. Not an especially abstract acid record. A banger. Cleared the floor. And he freaked out. Then Human League then Prince then De La Soul. And nothing worked. And he felt bad. And he shouldn't have. He set up that acid record perfectly. 99th percentile. First-class-ticket-to-Berlin-and-a-prime-slot-at-Berghain perfectly. And people walked. And so you have to say: fuck people. Seriously. The right record is the right record. It is. And if you don't get it, fuck you.

Acid house is almost thirty years old. THIRTY. You are out to hear a DJ spin house and you don't get it. It's on you. It's on you. Fuck it. Play that shit. I'll dance. Don't care if I'm the only one. Rather right and alone then wrong and surrounded.

2. I'm always just going to be the person who talks to "that person", not "that person". All the people I know who can DJ think I am a good DJ, but nobody else does. All the people I know who can write think I can too, but nobody else does. It's likely that I will be celibate for the remaining 40+ years of my life and graciously thanked by countless couples for my excellent relationship advice. And I have to learn how to not feel hurt. Because. The right record is the right record. It is. And if you don't get it, fuck you.



mistah charley, ph.d. said...

back in the twentieth century, i was at a party at a friend's house - the hostess was a very good friend of my fiancee, and they were mid30ish then

a guy was there who had been interested in the hostess, and it had become clear over the course of the party that it wasn't going to go

he was philosophical about it, and although i have forgotten his name and his general appearance (he was a white guy, though - i remember that) i will probably always remember what he said

"if the train don't stop at your station, it ain't your train"

may the creative forces of the universe smile in our general direction

:-p said...

Thanks for that, and thanks all for indulging my self-pity...