THE BEGINNING

Oh really? You’re a DJ? Me and my iPod too! Really, it’s hard for music fans to know just how damaging digital music and downloads are proving to be on the music industry. One minute we’re told that more music is bought today than ever before, simply in a different, updated format, the next it’s […]

Oh really? You’re a DJ? Me and my iPod too!

Really, it’s hard for music fans to know just how damaging digital music and downloads are proving to be on the music industry. One minute we’re told that more music is bought today than ever before, simply in a different, updated format, the next it’s all doom and gloom about how Madonna had to settle for second rate quail eggs for supper last night, all because some little crim swapped her latest dirge for an illegal Kooks MP3. And while we’re fussing over such trivialities (granted, not so when you take into account new bands, struggling to recoup the ludicrous advances tossed their way by labels who see most acts as one-album follies), we’re turning a blind eye to where digital formats are killing another art-form – club DJing.

Everyone’s a DJ these days, in the loosest possible sense: strutting into Club Blah with a fistful of CDs to fade between earning anyone the same vocation title as that featured on Danny Rampling’s weathered passport. And that’s fine, not only within indie where judging a room and compiling a suitable, improvised set list is the name of the DJ game (not mixing in 9-minute intros to unsuspecting clubbers who euphorically “bloody knew this was coming”), but within dance also – the Chemical Brothers having pushed buttons (pun intended) since ‘Block Rockin Beats’ while Justice’s futuristic mixing rig is alien to the world of the 12″.

iPods and laptops are now public enemies numbers 1 and 2 of the old DJ guard, much like the web and its bloggers are to the mainstream press and wider media. Snobbish and bitter some may be at how easy we’ve got it now, but it’s safe to say that pressing ‘CUE’ on a CD mixer is far less taxing that beat matching record to record, which is where club DJing suffers the most. Because while the mixes are irrelevant when you’re half cut and jigging about to the now vintage ‘Is This It’, the dead air between tracks, bred from how effortless and lazy pressing one button is, actually aren’t. (Fat Boy Slim never forgets to play another record, but then he’s never had it so easy that a glazed expression has dropped over his eyes as he stares zombie like at his audience.)

And the real kick in the jewels as your local porkpie hat clumsily fills the silence – under that porkpie you’ll find Peaches Geldof. You could be ‘DJing’ just as well as her (or whichever pseudo celeb/band member happens to be manning the PA) and yet her presence has doubled your ticket price and sees the booth surrounded by all sorts of desperados, carrying iPod cables as way of road crewing.

So can you get a rewind? Sure! Digital DJs, shape up. There’s nothing wrong with MP3s and CDs, as long as you remember to play them. That’s the one with the arrow on, Peaches.

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