25 February 2012

Back in my day, harumph, harumph...

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Unkie Dave once was a DJ. Long before Dame Street, long before the pancreatitis, long before even the break for freedom from the world of corporate slavery, there was a glorious but all-too-brief period where Unkie Dave spent his spare time lugging decks and crates from house party to house party and even to the occasional paying gig. Hard to believe now, even for me, but once I was down with the kids (though not in the clerical way) with their haircuts and their hippity-hoppity songs.

Alas time and apathy take their toll and it has now been long enough since my turntables saw the light of day that I am afraid that opening them will release a host of vengeful seraphim, the sight of whom will melt any onlookers foolish enough not to close their eyes tight in fear.

My mixer, however, continues to see more action than its spinning siblings, and just occasionally I follow it along on its adventures out of sense of melancholic nostalgia, and watch from the sidelines basking in its reflected glory, like a parent at a child's football match channeling anger at their own unrealised aspirations into hurled abuse directed at the opposing tweens.

One day in a fit of madness consistent with my notoriously low money-to-sense ratio, I bought a Pioneer DJM 909 2 channel mixer, what I thought at the time would be the ideal accompaniment to a set of CDJ1000s, and almost certain to become the industry standard for nightclubs and DJ booths. Unfortunately it proved to be a little too top-end for most users, with the high price and steep learning curve coinciding with a move away from hardware and towards laptop-based setups that offered as wide a range of effects as the 909 at a fraction of the cost, and thus while it quickly gained a dedicated following amongst serious turntablists, it never became the industry monolith in the same way as its companion CDJ1000s.

However amongst some of these serious turntablists it remains an essential piece of kit, which can prove a problem when they visit Ireland and their promoters try and track one down for their gig, as there appears to be only a single one available for rent in the whole country. I know this because about three years ago a promoter called me out of the blue, having been given my number by the shop that first imported the mixer for me, to see if there was any chance I would hire out my one to him as the guys he was promoting required two, and thus began my rather bizarre tertiary career as a supplier of musical gear to the stars.

Those who can do, as G. Bernard Shaw said, those who cannot, rent, and despite it being an unwelcome reminder of my own unrealised aspirations, I suppose that it's better than if all that gear just lay in my studio unloved and accumulating dust.

Probably.

All of which should explain how it was that I found myself at three in the morning last night chatting to the Scratch Perverts after their gig in The Village about the good old days of lugging crates around from gig to gig, and how Armand van Helden apparently just shows up to gigs now with a usb stick, while packing up my mixer and trying not to freak out about the way in which one of the lads used my flight case as a Sarkozy-step for most of the night. It was a good gig but a weird crowd, incredibly young, mostly uninterested in the music, and there purely for the cheap pitchers of beer and Jägermeister. As a mate described it, the whole thing was like a Wesley school disco, with drunken teen rugger-buggers swigging from pitchers like pint glasses and young ladies in ridiculously high heels who were less steady on their feet than a newbie transvestite and whose highest aspiration in life is to be mistaken for a footballer's wife, not the type of audience one would expect at all, at all.

Well, let me rephrase that, its not the audience one would expect for Scratch Perverts, but entirely the audience you would expect for Dublin on a Friday night, where chart music rules and the Pod will go the way of Liberty Hall, replaced by a mega-Flannery's to compete with the SuperMacs of nightclubs, Copper Face Jacks.

I can handle the fact that kids are a political vacuum, apathy has always been their forte. What saddens me more though is that their lives are also a musical wasteland, timid and unadventurous. It would be bad for both of us if I had the same tastes as a nineteen year old, but surely it's just as sad to hear the same rubbish in most clubs as I could on 98fm on a Tuesday afternoon? The clubs give the kids what they want, and what they want is to be safe, and unchallenged. What the kids want is meh.

Why is Gen Z so damn boring?

Oh, and in case those of you in Galway were wondering, knocking pints back, chanting "Who's a sexy garda?" while stuffing a burger into your face as part of a mindless horde with bladder-control issues isn't rebellious or adventurous, it's just a Friday night in Coppers.

(This just in, grumpy old man complains about those damn kids, we'll have the full report at 11)

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