15 September 2008

What you hear is not a test

Donna Summer's "I Feel Love", Led Zep's "Stairway to Heaven", the full 12" version of New Order's "Blue Monday". These and many other classic five-minute-plus songs fall in to that magical category of toilet songs, ie are most likely to be played when the DJ needs to urgently answer the call of nature, giving them enough time to get there and back before the crowd get hostile/restless/fall asleep at the wheel.

Perhaps the greatest of all these tracks, and a personal favourite of mine, is "Rapper's Delight" by The Sugarhill Gang, starting off at over seven minutes on the 7", with the full 12" clocking in at an amazing 14 minutes and 37 seconds, more than enough time to get a beer on the way back from the toilet, call your broker, cook up some fresh pasta with a delicate pesto sauce, update your twitter (Unkie Dave is cooking fresh pasta while djing), put some more change in the parking meter and catch the end of 'Entourage' before slapping on the next tune. Magic.

I have, however, often wondered what do the Sugarhill Gang play when they need to take a 'health break', and last night I had an opportunity to find out. Yes, my friends, 28 years after they launched the first commercially successful rap song and sowed the seeds for the future destruction of East/West Coast relations, Wonder Mike, Big Big Mike and Master Gee (real name, Guy O'Brien) finally made it to Master Gee's ancestral homeland and played the Spiegeltent as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival.

They played for just over an hour, spinning five songs out to fill the whole set by the masterful inclusion of two rounds of audience participation, a dance competition, and a freestyle rap competition. Both were unbelievably embarrassing not just to the individuals concerned and their pitiful attempts at rhythm and/or rhyme, but were, in fact, a stain on our national pride so large that not until the days arrive when current junior cert students can be classified as sufficiently Old School will its shame be cleansed.

For four guys in their forties and fifties they were, however, remarkably energetic (as evidenced by the amount of blurry photos I took, these guys were pure Brownian Motion). The five songs they did play went down a treat, and the tent was most definitely both hipping and hopping, albeit in a most arrhythmic fashion - if you have ever wondered why traditional Irish dancing looks like we're all paralysed from the waist up, just take some time to watch us try and dance in any other way, the priests were only thinking of the health of their parishioners when they forbade us to move, touch or gesticulate in any direction. St John's Ambulance were out in force last night dealing with injured eyes, noses and other victims of errant limbs, thrust boldly in random directions that no computer model could accurately predict.

Injuries aside, a good time was indeed had by all.


At 11:50 am, Blogger Kate said...

I come out of dj retirement tonight when I play Electric Avenue (I'll take you both there whenever you manage to make the journey - sheesh! 65000million miles in a winbego(sp) and you can't manage 100 on the train?)

I'm quite nervous about it - not because of the music (my fav. toilet songs are Stevie Wonder's 'sir duke' straight into 'I Wish' (or the other way around - I can never remember until I listen to them) many, many minutes of funky wonder.

I'm nervous of it because I don't know if I can handle the late night/early morning thing anymore. Old age has robbed me of my stamina and I fear that tomorrow morning I shall be crying into my keyboard and whimpering quietly.

I shall update then.

At 12:59 pm, Blogger Unkie Dave said...

hush! Old age is never a barrier to playing, and since you could just as easily be exhausted tomorrow morning from staying in and watching the Tuesday movie on RTE, you might as well be exhausted for doing something you love.

Good luck tonight, and I am there in spirit, if not in body, and remember, lucozade+panadol cures everything.


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