So The Lizard`s getting married, giving it a second shot, and the gang, well those of us that are still on speaking terms, are all flying to Spain, and I’m DJing again. It`s been 15 years since The Lizard`s heard me play, so he’s hedging his bets, and I’m kind of warming up for respected soul / house collective, Six Million Steps (named after the famous Rahni Harris tune).
Haunted by the disasters and fiascos of the past, I did ask The Lizard for a list, more a guideline, of stuff that they’d like to hear, and fingers – everything – crossed dance to, the bulk of which were Balearic classics. Tunes that I haven’t played in over a decade. Musical moments that hold way too many memories for me to be spinning them at home on a regular basis – if I want to keep the bottle at bay – and too far out of context to really work in a Tokyo club. Most of these records hadn’t been digitalized, and those that had were saved at 128 kbps (!?!).
So for the last few months I’ve been pulling this vinyl from the shelves, and burning, ripping Wavs. Often horrified by the fingerprints, and “curious residues”, all over their grooves, so either washing them or resorting to ordering cleaner copies. I’ve had to do this in stages, bit by bit, stagger the process, as it can get a little emotional. I also had to try to wrap up it a couple of weeks in advance, so that on the big day, I could attempt to come to these old favourites “fresh”.
To be honest, it`s been so long since I’ve DJed in front of a live audience, that it`s kind of faded from the “jobs” that I do. I mean, up until relatively recently it was just a matter of routine, but… while I haven’t quite let it go, and of course I still have the radio shows, now its so out of the norm that it feels like a pretty big deal. I guess, though, that weddings are a big deal.
Another obstacle that I’ve had to overcome is just how much of a hermit I’ve become. I haven’t really been anywhere, or seen anybody, save my wife and kids, for the last three years – let alone jumped on a plane to Spain. In isolation, up in the mountains of Nagano, locked in a very lucky, and happy, routine, the idea of doing anything different currently sends me into a slight panic. The Lizard well knows what a basket case I am and how bad it can get if I’m left to my own devices – so he called and called, and called and called, until he knew that he`d finally managed to bully me into booking my flight tickets. Forcing me away from mental illness back toward at least pretending to be “normal”. That`s what friends are for.
In the past, in preparation for a post-wedding shindig you might have needed to pack a load of Beatles, Stones, Motown, and the like*, to keep the old folks happy – but we are the old folks now, the mums and dads, in some cases the grandads and grandmas, all retired ravers, and instead of `60s rock and soul, Balearic beats and acid house top those knees-up nostalgia stakes. Where once the old fogys were frugging to “Let`s Twist Again”, singing along to “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”, everybody’s now screaming, punching the air, zimmers within reach, to Candi Staton belting out “You`ve Got The Love!”, to the tune of Frankie Knuckles and Jamie Principle. Time Marches On. Ain`t no way back.
* Plus some Kool & The Gang, of course.