In a perfect world, hard-working DJs would never have to contend with undue interference from audience members. But even if jocks restrict bookings to church

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Looking for the Perfect Beat

In a perfect world, hard-working DJs would never have to contend with undue interference from audience members. But even if jocks restrict bookings to church functions and bar mitzvahs, inevitably they'll run into a civilian who knows how to do their job better than they do and is hell-bent on making that little fact widely known. Most events that feature DJs typically entail alcohol or other mood-altering substances, which make the user—but not the DJ—invulnerable to criticism. Take my own sorry example. One night at my drag-show residency, I had a drunken patron come up and start staring at me. I ignored him for a minute, pretending to be lost in the mix. He began berating me loudly in front of the crowd, for both my selections and my failure to beat match—as if beat-matching Amon Tobin's bossa nova drum and bass and Henry Mancini's Latin brass rendition of "Springtime for Hitler" was a no-brainer. I just smirked and started rummaging in my box. The night was almost over, and I didn't need a hassle. Next thing I know, I hear an enormous crash of breaking glass. My disgruntled detractor had backhanded the lava lamp I had erected next to the decks (that's what I get for trying to achieve added ambience on my own dime), sending shards flying all over the room. There was now a huge pool of hot oil for customers to navigate as they tried to exit the dance floor. I leaped out from behind the DJ station, grabbed Miss Thing by the arm, and started screaming obscenities in this twerp's face until a bouncer arrived to escort him out. I felt proud of myself until after we'd locked up and the bartenders informed me that my fearsome display had actually sounded like a top-notch hissy fit to anyone who hadn't witnessed the earlier proceedings. In the interests of preserving what shreds of masculinity I've managed to accrue over the years, I now let other people—bouncers, friends at hand—run interference in such situations and try to maintain concentration on the music. And I leave my lava lamp at home. From Looking for the Perfect Beat: The Art and Culture of the DJ. Copyright 2000 by Kurt. B. Reighley. Published by Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, and MTV Books, a division of Viacom International.

 
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