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.