DJs Complaining
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New Year’s Day, Berlin. An entirely fictional DJ - let’s call him Snorkel - sits on his sofa stifling a panic attack while watching a dubbed version of Rock Of Ages with the sound just low enough that it won’t wake his housemate’s cousin who is fast asleep on the floor, snoring and pumping out fetid second-hand whisky fumes like some kind of horrible Glade plugin in the shape of a fat plasterer. He’s too terrified to change the channel, and too nauseous to stomach the bacon sandwich sitting uneaten in his lap, and as a ray of bitter sunlight daggers through a crack in the drawn curtains, a thought occurs to him: “I can’t go on like this.” 
Addicts refer to this as ‘hitting bottom,’ the precise moment in which it finally strikes you that your lifestyle is unsustainable, and that you need to make some serious changes if you want to maintain your physical and mental wellbeing. Fortunately for Snorkel, this moment of clarity has arrived on the one day of the year when the entire developed world is resolving to live a better life, declaring which bad habits they are going to leave behind in the year just past. What better time to give up booze?
And so ‘Dry January’ it is. Along with millions of other well-meaners Snorkel pledges not to touch a drop of alcohol until February. Now for little Joey Bloggs 9-to-5ing it in the city this isn’t so hard, all he needs to do is skip the after-work pints on a Friday and he’s golden. For Joey, the spiritual vacuum left by the absence of beer can probably be filled by watching Gogglebox, or drilling a hole in a wall, or looking into the loving eyes of his child or some shit. But for those of us blessed with the god-given talent of mixing 2 records together, giving up the hard stuff is no mean feat. 
As a DJ you may only be playing one or two gigs a week, but the early morning sets and hurly-burly of aeroplane travel will have monged up your sleeping pattern so much that even on a regular day by the time you’ve woken up, played GTAV for 4 hours, had breakfast, had a shower, had a ‘number two’ and a furious, cistern-rattling ‘number three’, there are very few socialising options other than going for a drink. Alcohol is the lubricant that keeps the cogs of the music business so very slowly turning, and keeping up appearances means staying well and truly off the wagon. You wanna have a ‘meeting’ with that booking agent? It’s gonna be at the pub. You wanna sign that contract? You’re gonna do it over a pint. You wanna scope out that vocalist you’re thinking of working with? Well why don’t you go to their gig and oh maybe have a drink or two while you’re there. Been invited to your manager’s baby shower? Bring a clean pair of undies, because you’re probably going to need them tomorrow morning when you wake up in Rhyl handcuffed to a pedalo.
In any other profession - apart from maybe construction or being Oliver Reed - this level of functional alcoholism would be seen as a serious hindrance to your work, but for DJs the opposite is true: your debauched lifestyle is one of your selling points. Your fans aren’t paying the entry fee to see some Cuthbert up on stage sipping elderflower cordial and pushing his glasses up his nose, they want to see Davey fucking DeeJay sinking a rum & ginger and extravagantly adjusting an EQ. 
Snorkel’s resoluteness, however, is strong - he didn’t get to the upper echelons of the European DJ circuit by giving up on his goals - and for the first few days things go well. He visits his local kneipes with his freunds and stoically sticks to the lime & sodas, and it’s not nearly as difficult as he’d imagined. In fact a couple of days off the sauce begin to reveal a sharpness of mind that had been sorely missed for many a hangover-blighted year, and Snorkel envisages a new world opening up to him: a world of morning runs and evening classes, a world of going to bed at a reasonable hour and not missing the best part of the day, a world of yoga mats and .. fuckin… figs. He finally feels like a real adult human being, and the rest of his life, free from bullshit entrapments like booze and recreational drugs, stretches out productively in front of him. This is the day that everything changed for the better.
With this in mind, Snorkel sets of for his first gig of the year with the noble intention of remaining stone cold sober for the entirety, of treating his job as just that: a job. This will be the biggest test of his willpower yet, made doubly hard by the fact that the promoter will be doing everything in his power to make sure that Snorkel gets very drunk. The world of gig organising is a competitive one, and promoters love nothing better than to go running off to their little promoter friends and brag about how fucked up they got the artist: “Oh, so Ruud Pendlbaars snorted a Jägerbomb out of an albino’s bum-crack live on stage at your show? Yeah, well, we gave Skream 3 bottles of vodka and a gram of cocaine and he shat himself then had to have his stomach pumped. How d’you like THEM apples?”
In the end it doesn’t take much to cave Snorkel’s resolve. That puppyish promoter enthusiasm, seven shot glasses and six pairs of expectant young eyes backstage are enough to break him. They’re excited about having a drink with the big DJ man. They’re only 22, with their little Barbour jackets and their asymmetric haircuts. They haven’t realised that tech house is shit yet. Snorkel doesn’t want to be the guy that pours alcohol-free piss all over their chips. No, like any self respecting adult he drinks the drinks put in front of him, and It doesn’t take long for that familiar and reassuring contentedness to start flowing through the ventricles and firing through the synapses, dissolving Snorkels utopian vision of a sober life in its wake. Looking around him at the handsome young foreign people full of life and joy and youth, drinking and laughing and kind-of-dancing, he understands that this is his place in the world. This is what life is, not pomegranates and tantric sex.
And so we leave him in a schwarma house, pants on head, thumping the table and bellowing. Despite all of his hard work, Snorkel will wake up the next day with a hangover. Parched mouth, throbbing eyeballs and a distant sense of dread will be his unwelcome but strangely comforting companions for the day, like old school friends that you essentially hate but whose presence can’t help but fill you with a warm nostalgia for simpler times. And as we all know there is only one way to get through a day with friends like these: take them to the pub.

New Year’s Day, Berlin. An entirely fictional DJ - let’s call him Snorkel - sits on his sofa stifling a panic attack while watching a dubbed version of Rock Of Ages with the sound just low enough that it won’t wake his housemate’s cousin who is fast asleep on the floor, snoring and pumping out fetid second-hand whisky fumes like some kind of horrible Glade plugin in the shape of a fat plasterer. He’s too terrified to change the channel, and too nauseous to stomach the bacon sandwich sitting uneaten in his lap, and as a ray of bitter sunlight daggers through a crack in the drawn curtains, a thought occurs to him: “I can’t go on like this.” 

Addicts refer to this as ‘hitting bottom,’ the precise moment in which it finally strikes you that your lifestyle is unsustainable, and that you need to make some serious changes if you want to maintain your physical and mental wellbeing. Fortunately for Snorkel, this moment of clarity has arrived on the one day of the year when the entire developed world is resolving to live a better life, declaring which bad habits they are going to leave behind in the year just past. What better time to give up booze?

And so ‘Dry January’ it is. Along with millions of other well-meaners Snorkel pledges not to touch a drop of alcohol until February. Now for little Joey Bloggs 9-to-5ing it in the city this isn’t so hard, all he needs to do is skip the after-work pints on a Friday and he’s golden. For Joey, the spiritual vacuum left by the absence of beer can probably be filled by watching Gogglebox, or drilling a hole in a wall, or looking into the loving eyes of his child or some shit. But for those of us blessed with the god-given talent of mixing 2 records together, giving up the hard stuff is no mean feat. 

As a DJ you may only be playing one or two gigs a week, but the early morning sets and hurly-burly of aeroplane travel will have monged up your sleeping pattern so much that even on a regular day by the time you’ve woken up, played GTAV for 4 hours, had breakfast, had a shower, had a ‘number two’ and a furious, cistern-rattling ‘number three’, there are very few socialising options other than going for a drink. Alcohol is the lubricant that keeps the cogs of the music business so very slowly turning, and keeping up appearances means staying well and truly off the wagon. You wanna have a ‘meeting’ with that booking agent? It’s gonna be at the pub. You wanna sign that contract? You’re gonna do it over a pint. You wanna scope out that vocalist you’re thinking of working with? Well why don’t you go to their gig and oh maybe have a drink or two while you’re there. Been invited to your manager’s baby shower? Bring a clean pair of undies, because you’re probably going to need them tomorrow morning when you wake up in Rhyl handcuffed to a pedalo.

In any other profession - apart from maybe construction or being Oliver Reed - this level of functional alcoholism would be seen as a serious hindrance to your work, but for DJs the opposite is true: your debauched lifestyle is one of your selling points. Your fans aren’t paying the entry fee to see some Cuthbert up on stage sipping elderflower cordial and pushing his glasses up his nose, they want to see Davey fucking DeeJay sinking a rum & ginger and extravagantly adjusting an EQ. 

Snorkel’s resoluteness, however, is strong - he didn’t get to the upper echelons of the European DJ circuit by giving up on his goals - and for the first few days things go well. He visits his local kneipes with his freunds and stoically sticks to the lime & sodas, and it’s not nearly as difficult as he’d imagined. In fact a couple of days off the sauce begin to reveal a sharpness of mind that had been sorely missed for many a hangover-blighted year, and Snorkel envisages a new world opening up to him: a world of morning runs and evening classes, a world of going to bed at a reasonable hour and not missing the best part of the day, a world of yoga mats and .. fuckin… figs. He finally feels like a real adult human being, and the rest of his life, free from bullshit entrapments like booze and recreational drugs, stretches out productively in front of him. This is the day that everything changed for the better.

With this in mind, Snorkel sets of for his first gig of the year with the noble intention of remaining stone cold sober for the entirety, of treating his job as just that: a job. This will be the biggest test of his willpower yet, made doubly hard by the fact that the promoter will be doing everything in his power to make sure that Snorkel gets very drunk. The world of gig organising is a competitive one, and promoters love nothing better than to go running off to their little promoter friends and brag about how fucked up they got the artist: “Oh, so Ruud Pendlbaars snorted a Jägerbomb out of an albino’s bum-crack live on stage at your show? Yeah, well, we gave Skream 3 bottles of vodka and a gram of cocaine and he shat himself then had to have his stomach pumped. How d’you like THEM apples?”

In the end it doesn’t take much to cave Snorkel’s resolve. That puppyish promoter enthusiasm, seven shot glasses and six pairs of expectant young eyes backstage are enough to break him. They’re excited about having a drink with the big DJ man. They’re only 22, with their little Barbour jackets and their asymmetric haircuts. They haven’t realised that tech house is shit yet. Snorkel doesn’t want to be the guy that pours alcohol-free piss all over their chips. No, like any self respecting adult he drinks the drinks put in front of him, and It doesn’t take long for that familiar and reassuring contentedness to start flowing through the ventricles and firing through the synapses, dissolving Snorkels utopian vision of a sober life in its wake. Looking around him at the handsome young foreign people full of life and joy and youth, drinking and laughing and kind-of-dancing, he understands that this is his place in the world. This is what life is, not pomegranates and tantric sex.

And so we leave him in a schwarma house, pants on head, thumping the table and bellowing. Despite all of his hard work, Snorkel will wake up the next day with a hangover. Parched mouth, throbbing eyeballs and a distant sense of dread will be his unwelcome but strangely comforting companions for the day, like old school friends that you essentially hate but whose presence can’t help but fill you with a warm nostalgia for simpler times. And as we all know there is only one way to get through a day with friends like these: take them to the pub.

We began ‘researching’ this ‘article’ a while ago, looking for ‘hilarious’ New Year’s Eve complaints. We thought we would write an acerbic think-piece about one particular tweet, poking fun at the ungrateful no-marks that rung in your new year with a spinback of their half-arsed whubbuda-whubbuda Katy Perry remix then complained about the lack of power outlets backstage. You’d read it and almost smile once. Around fifteen of you would ‘like’ it on Menshn or Grindr, and we’d congratulate ourselves and feel like Norman Mailer or some shit. 
It was a beautiful vision, but one that was entirely scuppered by the fact that we couldn’t find any complaints from past New Year’s Eves. Sure, there were a few token “delayed flight fml”s on New Year’s Eve morning, and a “hangover from hell” or two on New Year’s Day, but for the most part even the most unrepentantly complainy jockey appeared unusually optimistic on December 31st. 

It’s no surprise, because frankly there is little to complain about as a DJ on New Year’s Eve. A culmination of a year’s hard work, it’s equal parts annual keynote address and office christmas piss up - for once, everything is working in your favour. You don’t have to spend it in the company of your girlfriend’s boss; or on a barge, drunk on whisky with seven people that you don’t really like; or at a Salt-N-Pepa-themed party, dressed like even more of an arsehole than you usually are. You don’t have to spend it chasing a ‘good time’ that  magically evaporates from every single room that you enter. No no no, you are going to work, and you will spend it doing what you do best: playing music and demanding stuff. 

The promoters will be delighted that it’s the one night of the year that they probably won’t lose money. They’ll go out of their way to make sure that every little thing is exactly as you want it, and they’ll pay you double your normal fee for the privilege. You want some mashed potato? They’ll get you some mashed potato. They’ll get you enough mash that you can give mash to all of your mates backstage, leave mash all over the table and still have had enough mash that every time you burp for the next week it tastes of mash. Loads of mash! 

Best of all though, your usually fastidious crowd will have hit the town with an unfamiliar spring in their step, letting both their hair and their guard down for one night only, because even the most joyless techno blogger understands that they’ll look like a total bellend if they tweet about ‘weak transitions’ on New Year’s Eve. Everyone is out to have a good time, and as long as you play Voodoo Ray or Next Hype at midnight and don’t try to crowbar that difficult Romanian acid tune into your set you’re going to have the heaving masses excitedly gun-fingering their way in to a new annum. 

Ultimately, the punters are just relieved to be anywhere. After weeks of trying to find a night that’s not too expensive and not sold out, of trying coordinate friends and loved ones. After weeks of trying to avoid, at all costs, the terrible fate of having to stop in and watch The Hootenany with their uncle, finally the night is here and they are ‘out,’ and their anxieties dissolve as quickly as the tiny ice cubes in their £7 rum & coke. In a week or two when Nathan peeks over his iPhone in the staff room to ask them how they spent the big night, they will be able to say that they were somewhere, surrounded by some people of a similar age, getting tweaked on balloons and doing the cupid shuffle; not sipping on a dissorano and watching Jools Holland and Suggs ring in the new year with an elaborate honky tonk rendition of Auld Lang Syne. You helped make their night, and for those few precious weeks when 2014 is a blank and promising page as yet unsmeared by shit, you have helped make their year. 

Have a good one lads, and thanks for reading.

We began ‘researching’ this ‘article’ a while ago, looking for ‘hilarious’ New Year’s Eve complaints. We thought we would write an acerbic think-piece about one particular tweet, poking fun at the ungrateful no-marks that rung in your new year with a spinback of their half-arsed whubbuda-whubbuda Katy Perry remix then complained about the lack of power outlets backstage. You’d read it and almost smile once. Around fifteen of you would ‘like’ it on Menshn or Grindr, and we’d congratulate ourselves and feel like Norman Mailer or some shit. 

It was a beautiful vision, but one that was entirely scuppered by the fact that we couldn’t find any complaints from past New Year’s Eves. Sure, there were a few token “delayed flight fml”s on New Year’s Eve morning, and a “hangover from hell” or two on New Year’s Day, but for the most part even the most unrepentantly complainy jockey appeared unusually optimistic on December 31st. 

It’s no surprise, because frankly there is little to complain about as a DJ on New Year’s Eve. A culmination of a year’s hard work, it’s equal parts annual keynote address and office christmas piss up - for once, everything is working in your favour. You don’t have to spend it in the company of your girlfriend’s boss; or on a barge, drunk on whisky with seven people that you don’t really like; or at a Salt-N-Pepa-themed party, dressed like even more of an arsehole than you usually are. You don’t have to spend it chasing a ‘good time’ that  magically evaporates from every single room that you enter. No no no, you are going to work, and you will spend it doing what you do best: playing music and demanding stuff. 

The promoters will be delighted that it’s the one night of the year that they probably won’t lose money. They’ll go out of their way to make sure that every little thing is exactly as you want it, and they’ll pay you double your normal fee for the privilege. You want some mashed potato? They’ll get you some mashed potato. They’ll get you enough mash that you can give mash to all of your mates backstage, leave mash all over the table and still have had enough mash that every time you burp for the next week it tastes of mash. Loads of mash! 

Best of all though, your usually fastidious crowd will have hit the town with an unfamiliar spring in their step, letting both their hair and their guard down for one night only, because even the most joyless techno blogger understands that they’ll look like a total bellend if they tweet about ‘weak transitions’ on New Year’s Eve. Everyone is out to have a good time, and as long as you play Voodoo Ray or Next Hype at midnight and don’t try to crowbar that difficult Romanian acid tune into your set you’re going to have the heaving masses excitedly gun-fingering their way in to a new annum. 

Ultimately, the punters are just relieved to be anywhere. After weeks of trying to find a night that’s not too expensive and not sold out, of trying coordinate friends and loved ones. After weeks of trying to avoid, at all costs, the terrible fate of having to stop in and watch The Hootenany with their uncle, finally the night is here and they are ‘out,’ and their anxieties dissolve as quickly as the tiny ice cubes in their £7 rum & coke. In a week or two when Nathan peeks over his iPhone in the staff room to ask them how they spent the big night, they will be able to say that they were somewhere, surrounded by some people of a similar age, getting tweaked on balloons and doing the cupid shuffle; not sipping on a dissorano and watching Jools Holland and Suggs ring in the new year with an elaborate honky tonk rendition of Auld Lang Syne. You helped make their night, and for those few precious weeks when 2014 is a blank and promising page as yet unsmeared by shit, you have helped make their year. 

Have a good one lads, and thanks for reading.

Hey Ben. Benny Ben Ben Ben Ben. It’s ok, friend. We remember what it was like. We remember the early days. We remember the first European bookings, the excitement of being alone in an airport, never quite getting over the fact that someone else has paid for your flight. We remember splashing out on a warm can of Heineken on the plane, quietly hoping the businessman sitting next to you will ask you what your travels are in aid of. “I’m DJing tonight” you will say, turning your head to watch the purple clouds sail past the window. “How about you?”
Yes, it feels good. And a couple of years pass, and the bookings mount, and before you know it every weekend is spent in a strange yet familiar airport, tired and hungover, 800 euros in your pocket and a solemn pride in your loins. You stride across the twilit tarmac at Łódź, or Copenhagen, or wherever the hell this is, a lonely record box-dragging figure lagging behind the pack of normals rushing to board. These people have no idea what you were doing at 4 o’clock this morning. These people have no idea what kind of car you were driven to this airport in. These people have no idea how much money you’ve just earned for 1 hour’s work. They wouldn’t, because you are sitting there like it’s nothing; expressionless, exhausted, a steaming hangover mounting behind those Raybans. And you will do it all again next weekend, or perhaps even tonight, like the goddamn professional that you are. Your silence belies your strength. You sit there like it’s nothing. It is nothing. You’re exhausted. It’s nothing. You’re quiet and strong. You get out your phone and open up twitter.
We know the feeling well, Bennypants. Yes we could join you on the road and, as you put it, “write a real article about our experiences and be the Kurt Eggers of the scene.” But reading about being on tour is about as boring and exhausting as actually being on tour. And we’re not sure if you meant Dave Eggers or if you were actually comparing us to renowned Nazi-sympathiser Kurt Eggers, but we are sure that even such esteemed memoirists / fascists would struggle to make a week on the road sound interesting. There are only so many ways you can write about being tired, or eating a burger, or being in an airport, or being tired, or being in a slightly different airport. And you lads have got that covered.

Hey Ben. Benny Ben Ben Ben Ben. It’s ok, friend. We remember what it was like. We remember the early days. We remember the first European bookings, the excitement of being alone in an airport, never quite getting over the fact that someone else has paid for your flight. We remember splashing out on a warm can of Heineken on the plane, quietly hoping the businessman sitting next to you will ask you what your travels are in aid of. “I’m DJing tonight” you will say, turning your head to watch the purple clouds sail past the window. “How about you?”

Yes, it feels good. And a couple of years pass, and the bookings mount, and before you know it every weekend is spent in a strange yet familiar airport, tired and hungover, 800 euros in your pocket and a solemn pride in your loins. You stride across the twilit tarmac at Łódź, or Copenhagen, or wherever the hell this is, a lonely record box-dragging figure lagging behind the pack of normals rushing to board. These people have no idea what you were doing at 4 o’clock this morning. These people have no idea what kind of car you were driven to this airport in. These people have no idea how much money you’ve just earned for 1 hour’s work. They wouldn’t, because you are sitting there like it’s nothing; expressionless, exhausted, a steaming hangover mounting behind those Raybans. And you will do it all again next weekend, or perhaps even tonight, like the goddamn professional that you are. Your silence belies your strength. You sit there like it’s nothing. It is nothing. You’re exhausted. It’s nothing. You’re quiet and strong. You get out your phone and open up twitter.

We know the feeling well, Bennypants. Yes we could join you on the road and, as you put it, “write a real article about our experiences and be the Kurt Eggers of the scene.” But reading about being on tour is about as boring and exhausting as actually being on tour. And we’re not sure if you meant Dave Eggers or if you were actually comparing us to renowned Nazi-sympathiser Kurt Eggers, but we are sure that even such esteemed memoirists / fascists would struggle to make a week on the road sound interesting. There are only so many ways you can write about being tired, or eating a burger, or being in an airport, or being tired, or being in a slightly different airport. And you lads have got that covered.

How is Richie Hawtin tweeting from the side of a 10,000 ft mountain? Perhaps he hires some kind of 3G chinook heli-router to follow him at all times from a safe distance, ensuring that he can tweet the moment inspiration strikes. More importantly though, why is Richie Hawtin tweeting from the side of a 10,000 ft mountain? Surely zig-zagging down the alps is much easier without a phone in your hand?

DJs are concerned with connecting with people, but by the very nature of their job they must do this without words. Apart from the occasional bit of twaddle screamed into the ear of an eager fan, DJs rely on the medium of other-peoples-music to create these bonds. Twitter, then, is the ideal tool for connecting with devotees on a more human level, the perfect platform to show the world the real guy behind the guy behind the decks. What’s that you say John Digweed? You’re enjoying a pre-gig Mojito in the Napa Valley? I enjoy Mojitos too! We could probably even be friends. Do you like t-shirts? What about wasps? NO I HATE THEM TOO OMG!!!
There’s nothing wrong with seeking a little bit of solace from ones stresses on the top of a mountain, and it can’t be easy being Richie ‘Hairstyles’ Hawtin. Like anyone with such a baffling level of success there must be myriad pressures on the man’s head. He must have to invent at least one new slightly-different-from-the-last-one kick drum and/or bleepy noise every single day. And it’s not surprising that he should want to share these troubles with his followers, to show the music world that he’s not some bequiffed techno droid incapable of human emotion. 
But the unavoidable conclusion is that perhaps Rich would find it easier to get a bit of headspace if he could enjoy that mountain without obsessively spurting every thought that enters his perfectly coiffeured head into cyberspace. Put your phone away, Richie. Put your phone in your skin-tight mirrored ski suit, and breathe in that mountain air. Breathe it in, son.

How is Richie Hawtin tweeting from the side of a 10,000 ft mountain? Perhaps he hires some kind of 3G chinook heli-router to follow him at all times from a safe distance, ensuring that he can tweet the moment inspiration strikes. More importantly though, why is Richie Hawtin tweeting from the side of a 10,000 ft mountain? Surely zig-zagging down the alps is much easier without a phone in your hand?

DJs are concerned with connecting with people, but by the very nature of their job they must do this without words. Apart from the occasional bit of twaddle screamed into the ear of an eager fan, DJs rely on the medium of other-peoples-music to create these bonds. Twitter, then, is the ideal tool for connecting with devotees on a more human level, the perfect platform to show the world the real guy behind the guy behind the decks. What’s that you say John Digweed? You’re enjoying a pre-gig Mojito in the Napa Valley? I enjoy Mojitos too! We could probably even be friends. Do you like t-shirts? What about wasps? NO I HATE THEM TOO OMG!!!

There’s nothing wrong with seeking a little bit of solace from ones stresses on the top of a mountain, and it can’t be easy being Richie ‘Hairstyles’ Hawtin. Like anyone with such a baffling level of success there must be myriad pressures on the man’s head. He must have to invent at least one new slightly-different-from-the-last-one kick drum and/or bleepy noise every single day. And it’s not surprising that he should want to share these troubles with his followers, to show the music world that he’s not some bequiffed techno droid incapable of human emotion. 

But the unavoidable conclusion is that perhaps Rich would find it easier to get a bit of headspace if he could enjoy that mountain without obsessively spurting every thought that enters his perfectly coiffeured head into cyberspace. Put your phone away, Richie. Put your phone in your skin-tight mirrored ski suit, and breathe in that mountain air. Breathe it in, son.

An international jet-setting DJ sits alone in an airport eating a reasonably priced and well seasoned burger, checking his twitter mentions between bites using the free and speedy wifi. There is no one else around apart from an attractive young waitress who occasionally brings him a frosty bottle of locally brewed pale ale. He is surrounded by power outlets. 
This has never happened. Our team have constructed this scenario by reverse engineering the reams of DJ airport tweets we receive every day. Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past few months over at DJs Complaining Worldwide HQ, it’s that DJs do not like airports. They don’t like having to wake up before noon to get to the airport, they don’t like the traffic on the way to the airport, they question the architectural integrity of the airport when they get to the airport, they don’t like having to remove their Watanabe belt in the security queue at the airport, they don’t like having to explain what their midi-controller does to airport security staff, they don’t like having to pay over the odds for a substandard burger made with frozen sodding bread in the airport, but most of all they don’t like having to share floor space with people who actually seem to be enjoying the fucking airport. 
Airports are not a place of fun for DJs. They are a place for nursing hangovers and solitary examination of self, and the sugar-freakout kids running around spilling slush puppy on your trainers and screaming about which jelly bean shop they’re going to next only exacerbate matters. DJs professional lives are spent in large, loud rooms filled with strangers, and sometimes they just want a bit of peace. They’d go to the multi-faith prayer room, only you’re not allowed to use your phone in there.
Some might say that DJs should get a grip. Some might say that just because some breaks festival in the Benelux is paying for your plane ticket don’t mean you can swan about Stansted like you own the fucking place. Some might say that if you can’t just spend your airport time half-heartedly perusing the perfume section like the rest of us then you certainly shouldn’t be airing your grievances on social media. Some might say. We’re not saying that that’s what we’d say.

Originally published in Mixmag, July 2013.

An international jet-setting DJ sits alone in an airport eating a reasonably priced and well seasoned burger, checking his twitter mentions between bites using the free and speedy wifi. There is no one else around apart from an attractive young waitress who occasionally brings him a frosty bottle of locally brewed pale ale. He is surrounded by power outlets. 

This has never happened. Our team have constructed this scenario by reverse engineering the reams of DJ airport tweets we receive every day. Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past few months over at DJs Complaining Worldwide HQ, it’s that DJs do not like airports. They don’t like having to wake up before noon to get to the airport, they don’t like the traffic on the way to the airport, they question the architectural integrity of the airport when they get to the airport, they don’t like having to remove their Watanabe belt in the security queue at the airport, they don’t like having to explain what their midi-controller does to airport security staff, they don’t like having to pay over the odds for a substandard burger made with frozen sodding bread in the airport, but most of all they don’t like having to share floor space with people who actually seem to be enjoying the fucking airport. 

Airports are not a place of fun for DJs. They are a place for nursing hangovers and solitary examination of self, and the sugar-freakout kids running around spilling slush puppy on your trainers and screaming about which jelly bean shop they’re going to next only exacerbate matters. DJs professional lives are spent in large, loud rooms filled with strangers, and sometimes they just want a bit of peace. They’d go to the multi-faith prayer room, only you’re not allowed to use your phone in there.

Some might say that DJs should get a grip. Some might say that just because some breaks festival in the Benelux is paying for your plane ticket don’t mean you can swan about Stansted like you own the fucking place. Some might say that if you can’t just spend your airport time half-heartedly perusing the perfume section like the rest of us then you certainly shouldn’t be airing your grievances on social media. Some might say. We’re not saying that that’s what we’d say.

Originally published in Mixmag, July 2013.

We are living in a world on the brink of full scale nuclear war and economic collapse, but a world that nonetheless manages to facilitate a thriving community of 15 year old DJs who travel the globe in 1st class and use twitter to scream at hotels. That’s not how they used to make ‘em, though. The old-school disc jockey is a diminishing breed these days (especially in the wake of operation Yewtree) but occasionally, one of them will intrude on our modern media and demonstrate an alternative to all the solipsistic moaning. Witness Tony Blackburn.
Whether he is discussing the merits of the M25, a holiday on the vegas strip with his 2nd wife Debra, or the recovery from his recent ‘procedure*’, you can be sure that Tony will approach his day-to-day life with a chirp and vim that is just not present in the young DJ of 2013. Tony does not take his success lightly because he is from a generation of DJ who had to graft for their sterling. There was no internet, there were no memes, no donk remixes and no instant fame. Tony had to put the hours in, and it has not always been clean sailing. He’s been shifted from slot to slot, slowly buried in an ever-changing media landscape obsessed with ‘celebrity’ and ‘listening figures’ and ‘humour’ and ‘not being an irritating bastard’. Tony had a very public on-air breakdown in the midst of a divorce, playing Chicago’s ‘If You Leave Me Now’ over and over again, endlessly pleading with his wife as a nation bit their knuckles. After that he lived alone for 17 and a half years, surviving on ‘a daily diet of tinned lentil soup and processed peas (plus the occasional potato added as a treat)’. And if twitter were around then, he’d certainly have said something like ‘Delicious lentil soup tonight! Love the sound of the rain on the windows in a quiet, empty house! Have a fucking nice night everyone!’ 
In the future, our robot servants’ default personality will be ‘Blackburn’. Their relentless sunny optimism in the face of blown diodes, robo-hernias and pointlessly cruel abuse at the hands of their human overlords will initially prove refreshing. But like Blackburn, eventually you’ll start wondering what’s really going on in there. Their outward lightness surely has to be matched by something pitch black behind the eyes. But until Blackburn (and his hordes of robot progeny) reveal their plans, we can simply bask in the comforting glow of a man that seems unassailably content. “I hope you slept well”, he says. Yes we have, Tony. Yes we have.

*An operation to fix a hernia, which probably made his scrotum the size of grapefruit yet did nothing to dull his optimism

Originally published in Mixmag, June 2013.

We are living in a world on the brink of full scale nuclear war and economic collapse, but a world that nonetheless manages to facilitate a thriving community of 15 year old DJs who travel the globe in 1st class and use twitter to scream at hotels. That’s not how they used to make ‘em, though. The old-school disc jockey is a diminishing breed these days (especially in the wake of operation Yewtree) but occasionally, one of them will intrude on our modern media and demonstrate an alternative to all the solipsistic moaning. Witness Tony Blackburn.

Whether he is discussing the merits of the M25, a holiday on the vegas strip with his 2nd wife Debra, or the recovery from his recent ‘procedure*’, you can be sure that Tony will approach his day-to-day life with a chirp and vim that is just not present in the young DJ of 2013. Tony does not take his success lightly because he is from a generation of DJ who had to graft for their sterling. There was no internet, there were no memes, no donk remixes and no instant fame. Tony had to put the hours in, and it has not always been clean sailing. He’s been shifted from slot to slot, slowly buried in an ever-changing media landscape obsessed with ‘celebrity’ and ‘listening figures’ and ‘humour’ and ‘not being an irritating bastard’. Tony had a very public on-air breakdown in the midst of a divorce, playing Chicago’s ‘If You Leave Me Now’ over and over again, endlessly pleading with his wife as a nation bit their knuckles. After that he lived alone for 17 and a half years, surviving on ‘a daily diet of tinned lentil soup and processed peas (plus the occasional potato added as a treat)’. And if twitter were around then, he’d certainly have said something like ‘Delicious lentil soup tonight! Love the sound of the rain on the windows in a quiet, empty house! Have a fucking nice night everyone!’ 

In the future, our robot servants’ default personality will be ‘Blackburn’. Their relentless sunny optimism in the face of blown diodes, robo-hernias and pointlessly cruel abuse at the hands of their human overlords will initially prove refreshing. But like Blackburn, eventually you’ll start wondering what’s really going on in there. Their outward lightness surely has to be matched by something pitch black behind the eyes. But until Blackburn (and his hordes of robot progeny) reveal their plans, we can simply bask in the comforting glow of a man that seems unassailably content. “I hope you slept well”, he says. Yes we have, Tony. Yes we have.

*An operation to fix a hernia, which probably made his scrotum the size of grapefruit yet did nothing to dull his optimism

Originally published in Mixmag, June 2013.

Alone in the back of a limousine, it hits you. A chill that rises from the ankles, cascading through your veins at a paralysing speed. The black dog. The grey owl. The elephant on your shoulder. The monkey in the room. Melancholia. Loneliness. There are a thousand names for it, but none can ever accurately describe that familiar feeling. That feeling you felt as a 7 year old, watching Littlefoot’s mother bleed to death in a Land Before Time, your own mortality suddenly becoming a very real prospect to you. That feeling you felt in a makeshift bed in your friends house, having woken 3 hours before anyone else, too scared to get up and walk around the alien surroundings, so you just lay there in the morning darkness thinking about your microscopic standing in this universe.
And now here you are, a successful, fully grown adult human in the back of a giant car, en route to an engagement that will see you providing thousands of people with pivotal, life-changing experiences, connecting with each other through your (choice of) music. Some will fall in love tonight. This is your gift, but you wear it heavily. You have a serious job to do, and you will arrive and leave alone.
Somehow the lavishness of your surroundings throws it all into sharper relief. The more frequently one finds oneself in the back of an enormous limo, or in a giant diamond-encrusted onyx bath in the shape of a panther, or throwing coal at the peasants and laughing, or snorting a line of caviar, or flushing eight and a half kilos of foie gras down the toilet, or shooting faberge eggs with a heavily ornamented 18th century pistol, the more distantly alone one feels. Perhaps they call us stars for a reason; a burning point of light surrounded by trillions of miles of black nothing.
The lifestyle itself cruelly divorces you from others. You’d love nothing more than to drive your Mondeo to the bakery every morning, share a joke with your workmates about the mother-in-law, have a laugh over a ham sandwich, go for a ‘pint’ after ‘work’ and watch ‘the game’. But no. You know who you are and what you do. And this ermine robe and sceptre would probably make those things quite difficult.
Instead the only people that you interact with are the ones that exist to serve you. The limo driver opens your door courteously, calls you ‘sir’, then slips behind a leather-upholstered barrier and leaves you to plumb the depths of your own thoughts. The hotel concierge is similarly polite and efficient. “Anything you need, just give me a call” he says as he leaves you alone in your presidential suite. “Anything at all”.  There is one thing that he cant bring you, though.

Originally published in Mixmag, May 2013.

Alone in the back of a limousine, it hits you. A chill that rises from the ankles, cascading through your veins at a paralysing speed. The black dog. The grey owl. The elephant on your shoulder. The monkey in the room. Melancholia. Loneliness. There are a thousand names for it, but none can ever accurately describe that familiar feeling. That feeling you felt as a 7 year old, watching Littlefoot’s mother bleed to death in a Land Before Time, your own mortality suddenly becoming a very real prospect to you. That feeling you felt in a makeshift bed in your friends house, having woken 3 hours before anyone else, too scared to get up and walk around the alien surroundings, so you just lay there in the morning darkness thinking about your microscopic standing in this universe.

And now here you are, a successful, fully grown adult human in the back of a giant car, en route to an engagement that will see you providing thousands of people with pivotal, life-changing experiences, connecting with each other through your (choice of) music. Some will fall in love tonight. This is your gift, but you wear it heavily. You have a serious job to do, and you will arrive and leave alone.

Somehow the lavishness of your surroundings throws it all into sharper relief. The more frequently one finds oneself in the back of an enormous limo, or in a giant diamond-encrusted onyx bath in the shape of a panther, or throwing coal at the peasants and laughing, or snorting a line of caviar, or flushing eight and a half kilos of foie gras down the toilet, or shooting faberge eggs with a heavily ornamented 18th century pistol, the more distantly alone one feels. Perhaps they call us stars for a reason; a burning point of light surrounded by trillions of miles of black nothing.

The lifestyle itself cruelly divorces you from others. You’d love nothing more than to drive your Mondeo to the bakery every morning, share a joke with your workmates about the mother-in-law, have a laugh over a ham sandwich, go for a ‘pint’ after ‘work’ and watch ‘the game’. But no. You know who you are and what you do. And this ermine robe and sceptre would probably make those things quite difficult.

Instead the only people that you interact with are the ones that exist to serve you. The limo driver opens your door courteously, calls you ‘sir’, then slips behind a leather-upholstered barrier and leaves you to plumb the depths of your own thoughts. The hotel concierge is similarly polite and efficient. “Anything you need, just give me a call” he says as he leaves you alone in your presidential suite. “Anything at all”.  There is one thing that he cant bring you, though.

Originally published in Mixmag, May 2013.

Much like the jockey of the sporting world, Disc Jockeys are very short, usually Irish, wear brightly coloured caps, and like to adhere to a strict drug regime in order to ensure high levels of performance. For most DJs this means alcohol, and lots of it. Booze is to the DJ what Gatorade is to the NFL running back, what Jaffa Cakes are to Rio Ferdinand, and what cocaine is to your local MP. Alcohol acts as the DJ’s fuel, calmative and most importantly, mood setter.
Churning out the same music saturday after saturday can take its toll. Every time you play that tune you love, a fragment of its power vanishes into the ether, and no amount of fist pumping can hide it. And as anyone who has been stuck in a relationship in it’s dying embers will tell you, there is only one way to get that ‘magic of the first time’ feeling back: get really drunk. 
You want the crowd to feel every dramatic EQ twist, every thoughtful tap of the space bar, every hair-raising point to the ceiling as someone else’s tune drops with no intervention from you. If you are not in the moment, then neither are the throng. By the time you take to the stage the crowd will usually be three sheets to the wind on the good ship HMS Rachmaninoff, and you’re their captain. To motivate your crew you must understand their point of view; their already unrefined intellect will have been reduced to a jagerbomb and ketamine-induced balloony mess. To enter this arena sober would be a fool’s move. If that means sinking a bottle of Johnnie Walker, losing your coat, throwing a tired punch at a bouncer and walking 6 miles home into biting winds eating chips and cheese and crying, then you know you’ve done your job properly.
So when, despite all the evidence, Scratcha says that he hasn’t had enough to drink, there’s only really one appropriate response; Drink up, cap’n! Full steam ahead! Toot Toot.

Originally published in Mixmag, April 2013.

Much like the jockey of the sporting world, Disc Jockeys are very short, usually Irish, wear brightly coloured caps, and like to adhere to a strict drug regime in order to ensure high levels of performance. For most DJs this means alcohol, and lots of it. Booze is to the DJ what Gatorade is to the NFL running back, what Jaffa Cakes are to Rio Ferdinand, and what cocaine is to your local MP. Alcohol acts as the DJ’s fuel, calmative and most importantly, mood setter.

Churning out the same music saturday after saturday can take its toll. Every time you play that tune you love, a fragment of its power vanishes into the ether, and no amount of fist pumping can hide it. And as anyone who has been stuck in a relationship in it’s dying embers will tell you, there is only one way to get that ‘magic of the first time’ feeling back: get really drunk. 

You want the crowd to feel every dramatic EQ twist, every thoughtful tap of the space bar, every hair-raising point to the ceiling as someone else’s tune drops with no intervention from you. If you are not in the moment, then neither are the throng. By the time you take to the stage the crowd will usually be three sheets to the wind on the good ship HMS Rachmaninoff, and you’re their captain. To motivate your crew you must understand their point of view; their already unrefined intellect will have been reduced to a jagerbomb and ketamine-induced balloony mess. To enter this arena sober would be a fool’s move. If that means sinking a bottle of Johnnie Walker, losing your coat, throwing a tired punch at a bouncer and walking 6 miles home into biting winds eating chips and cheese and crying, then you know you’ve done your job properly.

So when, despite all the evidence, Scratcha says that he hasn’t had enough to drink, there’s only really one appropriate response; Drink up, cap’n! Full steam ahead! Toot Toot.

Originally published in Mixmag, April 2013.

Picture yourself, the man in the street, arriving to work one morning to find that the most basic tools you need to carry out your day’s labour are missing. No PC. No hole-punch. No ploughing horse thing. No plank of wood with a nail in the end of it. In their place stand instruments completely foreign to you, and yet you are still expected to perform your job to your usual high standards. Go on, try writing that annual sales report with an etch-a-sketch, or stunning that heifer using only a flapjack. How do you like it? Now imagine trying to execute this impeded days work with ACTUAL YOUNG PEOPLE standing there watching you. Young people with unnervingly self-assured opinions about literally everything. Young people talking loudly to each other about your inability to do your job as you get redder and sweatier and more flustered until you finally collapse in a whimpering heap.
This is the situation that the international touring DJ finds him or herself in on an all-too-regular basis. Sure, it may seem slightly brazen to rock up to Europe’s top city-break destinations and expect thousands of pounds worth of nuanced music equipment to be magically waiting there for you. It may appear even more brazen to then tell your legions of twitter followers what a useless twunk your promoter is when you discover that all is not exactly as you’d requested, rather than, say, having a polite word with him or her. What’s this? American Audio Usb Players? A professional CD/MP3/WAV player with Midi capabilities so DJs can control their favorite music playback software featuring a large 6-inch (150mm) jog wheel, 9 on-board DSP effects, and a large bright display that shows track titles and artist ID tags? FUCK YOU.
The truth of the matter is that the DJ’s very reputation depends on these shiny flashing lumps of plastic. The merest whiff of a mis-matched kick drum and some haircut in the corner will have whipped out his iPhone, logged on to hardcorecontinuum.net/forum and started a thread about the decline of the DJ in austerity Britain using you as the poster-boy, all before you can say “but the headphones are broken!”
All you ever wanted to do was bring a bit of sunshine in to a few bleak lives, and now a 19-year-old stranger with a Victorian briefcase and an ironic meerschaum is knocking on your door and informing you that they’ve all had a meeting, and they’ve decided that you’re a dick.

Originally published in Mixmag, March 2013.

Picture yourself, the man in the street, arriving to work one morning to find that the most basic tools you need to carry out your day’s labour are missing. No PC. No hole-punch. No ploughing horse thing. No plank of wood with a nail in the end of it. In their place stand instruments completely foreign to you, and yet you are still expected to perform your job to your usual high standards. Go on, try writing that annual sales report with an etch-a-sketch, or stunning that heifer using only a flapjack. How do you like it? Now imagine trying to execute this impeded days work with ACTUAL YOUNG PEOPLE standing there watching you. Young people with unnervingly self-assured opinions about literally everything. Young people talking loudly to each other about your inability to do your job as you get redder and sweatier and more flustered until you finally collapse in a whimpering heap.

This is the situation that the international touring DJ finds him or herself in on an all-too-regular basis. Sure, it may seem slightly brazen to rock up to Europe’s top city-break destinations and expect thousands of pounds worth of nuanced music equipment to be magically waiting there for you. It may appear even more brazen to then tell your legions of twitter followers what a useless twunk your promoter is when you discover that all is not exactly as you’d requested, rather than, say, having a polite word with him or her. What’s this? American Audio Usb Players? A professional CD/MP3/WAV player with Midi capabilities so DJs can control their favorite music playback software featuring a large 6-inch (150mm) jog wheel, 9 on-board DSP effects, and a large bright display that shows track titles and artist ID tags? FUCK YOU.

The truth of the matter is that the DJ’s very reputation depends on these shiny flashing lumps of plastic. The merest whiff of a mis-matched kick drum and some haircut in the corner will have whipped out his iPhone, logged on to hardcorecontinuum.net/forum and started a thread about the decline of the DJ in austerity Britain using you as the poster-boy, all before you can say “but the headphones are broken!”

All you ever wanted to do was bring a bit of sunshine in to a few bleak lives, and now a 19-year-old stranger with a Victorian briefcase and an ironic meerschaum is knocking on your door and informing you that they’ve all had a meeting, and they’ve decided that you’re a dick.

Originally published in Mixmag, March 2013.


Imagine having 30,000 followers. 30,000 people who listen to every little thing that you compulsively fart out in 140 characters or less. 30,000 souls, as 3-dimensional and full of dreams as you or I. 30,000 humans, all over the world. Falling in love. Laughing. Getting lonely. Buying fags and scratch-cards. And they all care about you. Isn’t that amazing? Isn’t it Max Graham? It’s not enough is it though? Poor Max Graham.
One of the many problems facing the international DJ in the twitter era is that no amount of followers is ever enough. 30,000 zorks reading about your every move might seem like a lot to your average hairy-arsed chancer, but there’s always some Johnny-come-lately with a cap balanced on his head who releases one All Back To My Late Night Fabric Factory mix and BAM! - he’s leapfrogged you to 50k. Yes, envy is a powerful player in the music world, and in this age of information it is almost impossible to avoid those more successful than you.


Sure, in the green room it’s all smiles and grabbing-each-other-a Red-Stripe and “let me get your skype so we can collab” - but in the cold light of day, when there’s no one else around but you, your demons and your default search engine, it doesn’t take long before the green eyed monster starts rearing his unwelcome head. How did Bobby Switch get that headline slot at the CumBoxx festival? What is Ruud Pendlbaars doing on the cover of The Guide? And why is DJ Cox’s Pippin tweeting from his free Samsung Galaxy III when I am stuck here trying to carve a tweet into my iPhone 3GS?



Perhaps the curse of the DJ - indeed of all of us who love music and feel things too acutely - is that nothing is ever enough. Even in the year 2025, with 500,000 space-followers and a shiny new space-phone, Max Graham will still feel empty. There’ll always be something around the corner that he’s absolutely certain is going to fill that howling void. And he’ll sit there in his orbiting trance capsule, with space-egg yolk all down his front, flat light from the fluorescent ceiling illuminating his grey features, waiting for the next free package of dashed hope from space-samsung to drop through his space-letterbox.



Don’t worry Max Graham, we’ve got 40,000 followers and we sometimes get sad too. And nobody’s given us fuck all either.


Originally published in Mixmag, February 2013.

Imagine having 30,000 followers. 30,000 people who listen to every little thing that you compulsively fart out in 140 characters or less. 30,000 souls, as 3-dimensional and full of dreams as you or I. 30,000 humans, all over the world. Falling in love. Laughing. Getting lonely. Buying fags and scratch-cards. And they all care about you. Isn’t that amazing? Isn’t it Max Graham? It’s not enough is it though? Poor Max Graham.

One of the many problems facing the international DJ in the twitter era is that no amount of followers is ever enough. 30,000 zorks reading about your every move might seem like a lot to your average hairy-arsed chancer, but there’s always some Johnny-come-lately with a cap balanced on his head who releases one All Back To My Late Night Fabric Factory mix and BAM! - he’s leapfrogged you to 50k. Yes, envy is a powerful player in the music world, and in this age of information it is almost impossible to avoid those more successful than you.

Sure, in the green room it’s all smiles and grabbing-each-other-a Red-Stripe and “let me get your skype so we can collab” - but in the cold light of day, when there’s no one else around but you, your demons and your default search engine, it doesn’t take long before the green eyed monster starts rearing his unwelcome head. How did Bobby Switch get that headline slot at the CumBoxx festival? What is Ruud Pendlbaars doing on the cover of The Guide? And why is DJ Cox’s Pippin tweeting from his free Samsung Galaxy III when I am stuck here trying to carve a tweet into my iPhone 3GS?

Perhaps the curse of the DJ - indeed of all of us who love music and feel things too acutely - is that nothing is ever enough. Even in the year 2025, with 500,000 space-followers and a shiny new space-phone, Max Graham will still feel empty. There’ll always be something around the corner that he’s absolutely certain is going to fill that howling void. And he’ll sit there in his orbiting trance capsule, with space-egg yolk all down his front, flat light from the fluorescent ceiling illuminating his grey features, waiting for the next free package of dashed hope from space-samsung to drop through his space-letterbox.

Don’t worry Max Graham, we’ve got 40,000 followers and we sometimes get sad too. And nobody’s given us fuck all either.

Originally published in Mixmag, February 2013.
So this is how things happen these days. You set up a Twitter account that retweets complaints from DJs that are upsettingly and hilariously devoid of self-awareness. With a flash of inspiration you call it ‘DJs Complaining’. Within four days and with precisely 21 retweets you have amassed 20,000 followers. Twitter is a-storm. BBC 6music talks about you. The Independent prints an article about you. You still haven’t written a word yourself.
The success of this simple idea is confusing to you. How does it merit so many people calling you a genius? If this is what geniuses do these days then we’re more fucked than we thought. The success is equally soured by a nagging sense that you’re somehow a bully. That’s right: a bully. DJs are an easy target. They seem ridiculously overprivileged to most. They travel the world drinking and sleeping with teenagers, and they get paid for it – obscenely in some cases. But this lifestyle is the DJs workplace. We can tell you from first hand experience that constant travelling, disrupted sleep, creeping hearing loss and the pressure of performance can quickly amount to some pretty miserable working conditions. Is it such a crime to shed some light on these tribulations on social media?
Let’s take our first retweet, the spark that ignited this unexpected council-flat-gas-explosion of madness. The DJ in question was annoyed by his hotel’s failure to recognise his request for a late check-out. Now to the riff-raff this may seem like a minor gripe, but just try putting yourself in the DJ’s Air Max 95s for a second. Perhaps you’d spent the previous day in transit, arriving to your destination with little time for a pre-rave sit-down, let alone a sound check. Perhaps you’d then stayed up duppying the dance until 3am. Perhaps you’d stayed up further duppying the dance at the after-party (this time for half your normal fee!) until six, rolling into your hotel just in time to catch the Moroccan breakfast buffet. Perhaps you finally made it to your double room, somehow avoided the temptation to pass out on the heated floor, and sank into a memory foam mattress for six hours of hard-earned shut-eye. 
Then, with a start, something tears you out of sleepy oblivion. It feels like you’ve barely managed to blink and yet you’re waking in a panic with some lady knocking on your door asking if she can come in and pick up your chinos or some shit, when all you want to do is wallow in your hangover until someone drags you to the airport. You specifically told your manager to tell your booking agent to tell your promoter to tell your hotel that you need a late check-out, and yet this maid seems adamant that she is going to enter your chambers. Clearly someone is not doing their job, or something has been lost in translation, and whatever language they speak in whatever country this is, you definitely do not parlez.
So, because of someone else’s incompetence, you have to survive the rest of your RyanAir and Stansted Express-blighted day on minimal sleep, arriving home to your flatshare with only a dry mouth and a few thousand Zlotys to show for two days of hard graft. Ears ringing and head full of incessant kick-drums, you fall into an immediate but uneasy sleep on the sofa as your flatmate’s cat treads bitter little crumbs of Purina into your face with its cold, rubbery paws. Not so pleasant, is it?
DJsComplaining started as a frolicsome in-joke between friends, an opportunity for us to politely rib our fellow music professionals. But if, by following us, you’ve helped make it something more than that, something antagonistic, something hateful, then you need to think about what you’ve done and take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror, mister.
 
Originally published in Mixmag, January 2013.

So this is how things happen these days. You set up a Twitter account that retweets complaints from DJs that are upsettingly and hilariously devoid of self-awareness. With a flash of inspiration you call it ‘DJs Complaining’. Within four days and with precisely 21 retweets you have amassed 20,000 followers. Twitter is a-storm. BBC 6music talks about you. The Independent prints an article about you. You still haven’t written a word yourself.

The success of this simple idea is confusing to you. How does it merit so many people calling you a genius? If this is what geniuses do these days then we’re more fucked than we thought. The success is equally soured by a nagging sense that you’re somehow a bully. That’s right: a bully. DJs are an easy target. They seem ridiculously overprivileged to most. They travel the world drinking and sleeping with teenagers, and they get paid for it – obscenely in some cases. But this lifestyle is the DJs workplace. We can tell you from first hand experience that constant travelling, disrupted sleep, creeping hearing loss and the pressure of performance can quickly amount to some pretty miserable working conditions. Is it such a crime to shed some light on these tribulations on social media?

Let’s take our first retweet, the spark that ignited this unexpected council-flat-gas-explosion of madness. The DJ in question was annoyed by his hotel’s failure to recognise his request for a late check-out. Now to the riff-raff this may seem like a minor gripe, but just try putting yourself in the DJ’s Air Max 95s for a second. Perhaps you’d spent the previous day in transit, arriving to your destination with little time for a pre-rave sit-down, let alone a sound check. Perhaps you’d then stayed up duppying the dance until 3am. Perhaps you’d stayed up further duppying the dance at the after-party (this time for half your normal fee!) until six, rolling into your hotel just in time to catch the Moroccan breakfast buffet. Perhaps you finally made it to your double room, somehow avoided the temptation to pass out on the heated floor, and sank into a memory foam mattress for six hours of hard-earned shut-eye. 

Then, with a start, something tears you out of sleepy oblivion. It feels like you’ve barely managed to blink and yet you’re waking in a panic with some lady knocking on your door asking if she can come in and pick up your chinos or some shit, when all you want to do is wallow in your hangover until someone drags you to the airport. You specifically told your manager to tell your booking agent to tell your promoter to tell your hotel that you need a late check-out, and yet this maid seems adamant that she is going to enter your chambers. Clearly someone is not doing their job, or something has been lost in translation, and whatever language they speak in whatever country this is, you definitely do not parlez.

So, because of someone else’s incompetence, you have to survive the rest of your RyanAir and Stansted Express-blighted day on minimal sleep, arriving home to your flatshare with only a dry mouth and a few thousand Zlotys to show for two days of hard graft. Ears ringing and head full of incessant kick-drums, you fall into an immediate but uneasy sleep on the sofa as your flatmate’s cat treads bitter little crumbs of Purina into your face with its cold, rubbery paws. Not so pleasant, is it?

DJsComplaining started as a frolicsome in-joke between friends, an opportunity for us to politely rib our fellow music professionals. But if, by following us, you’ve helped make it something more than that, something antagonistic, something hateful, then you need to think about what you’ve done and take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror, mister.

 

Originally published in Mixmag, January 2013.