It’s time to go.
Everything is packed in its rightful place, earphones are bubble wrapped, I even closed the latch on the front of my gigantic, discoloured bag, which has followed me to oh-so-many places, only for me to leave it in some humid corner in the company of coats and jackets that could have really been hung nowhere else.
Xmas Eve 2011 was my last gig ever – I’m stepping down from DJ’ing. Nothing wrong with the gig at all, it was fun, C&H is home turf, faces were familiar, nothing went wrong. But it had to be my last one.
I had been mulling over the decision for a long time, knowing it’s a painful step to take. There comes a time, I suppose, when you need a break, when all you really want is a quiet night at home in the company of an HBO series, when you can’t be bothered to leaf through album reviews or even prepare a decent playlist for a one-hour job. You’re always weary, demotivated, and hardly satisfied at job’s end.
What the hell for, I asked myself at the end of almost every gig this year.
After eight years of DJ’ing, it’s the right time to step aside and let others do the job. I never dreamt of a huge DJ’ing career, especially when I started off from behind the bar at Coconut in ’03 (just out of university, still looking for 9 to 5 employment) and learning how much the more coveted DJ’s earned per night, way richer than any 9 to 5 can ever give me. I was a kid, playing in very tight conditions as barmen are dangerously whizzing by thirty times in a minute, dreaming of a free beer which came only once or twice during a seven month stretch.
I moved on to Alley, which you’d imagine to be the grand arena. I remember playing Christmas and New Year’s Eve, fun every Saturday, huge crowds and fourscore regulars. We even had a little “pint of white wine” trick going with one of the bar guys. Little did I know the place had already started its downfall, as it tumbled into irrelevance in a matter of few months. I wasn’t there to see it close down.
Then there was radio, a chapter I’d rather not read you, where I was thrust in the emptiness of Sunday DJ’ing – two hours per afternoon, simple formula, a few listeners, so many glaring mistakes that went on air without anyone noticing. Both radio stations I DJ’d for were riddled by the mismanagement virus, quality control was unheard of, as the owners and management must have thought they owned a precious toy. They should have bought themselves a Bugatti instead, instead of stepping in a world of which they clearly knew nothing and contribute to the general impoverishment of broadcasting in Malta. No stomach cramps can describe my feelings when the second radio station I worked for was taken over by a construction magnate and fronted by the likes of Montesin and Mr Gieħ ir-Repubblika Enzo Gusman.
Deciding to leave radio for good wasn’t painful at all.
As I grow old, regrets have less weight. Maybe I still need convincing myself that retiring in general is me doing the right thing, but maybe that poignant need for reassurance will disappear a few days into 2012, as the people who try to talk me out of it will give up, or even see my point of view.
In the words of Vinnie Jones, “it’s been emotional.” Now, for those who love this kind of stuff:
The DJ I’ve always wanted to DJ with is Jean Zammit. Who always politely said ‘no’. I see his point, today.
The DJ whose sets I’ve always enjoyed Jamie Decesare, hands down.
The DJ who, well I’d rather not play with you again Cliff Brookes, sorry mate. It was a rough ride.
The track I never managed to play live Shoot Speed, Kill Light (Primal Scream)