Ah, the joys of hanging around at Sniffer's birthday party all night waiting to play a few tunes.
As a DJ when you get asked to play a party that becomes the central focus of the night. No excessive drinking or other such indulgences cross the brain. Ones needs ones faculties sharp and intact to facilitate smoothness of mix. After the set has been played then, yes, have a few beers or whatever. Work is over. Time to relax. Till that point one must remain in work mode; ready for deployment. Meanwhile the watchword is 'wait'. of course I could enjoy the party a bit more but not knowing what time I'm on puts paid to all that.
Primary experience for me that night was the sheer eyeball staring into space boredom of leaning on a van in the car park outside the venue under the nascent glare of a security light popping on and off every time someone walks under it. Waiting.
The heavy breathing, the sighing, the long unblinking stares into the gloom watching moths dive bomb approaching car headlights. All designed to pass time but actually making it last longer. Much longer. The only recompense being the sharing of joyous chatter with the revellers, the flitting conversations and sweaty hugs, the smoking and the waiting of girlfriends to arrive because the booze you have brought is in her car and she is around friends houses picking people up to transport them to the unforgiving, on the feet that is, relenting complxity of finding venues in the countryside, the sticks, the interminable miles of dark country lanes that people inevitably get lost around.
The waiting on the unplanned DJ slots that almost always, well, never actually, work out because if a DJ is not given a start or a finish time they inevitably, once they get on the decks are almost impossible to remove unless you have a crowbar handy. The list of DJ’s playing is ‘planned’, given out verbally but not solidly and the next DJ on has to hassle, negotiate, blag or beg their way behind the sacred space. Inevitably time passes and, DJ’s like myself who never like to blag and always like to have a designated slot, miss out because, why, well we can't be arsed with all that arsing around, begging and pleading and negotioating with the 'man who runs the sound system' the 'stage manager'. It never ends in smiles only tears. My tears.
DJ running orders sorted out over the planning and preparation stage; ‘oh, yeah, we’ll have him and him and her’. We’re asked if we want to play we say yes, we’re told we’re playing but not when. Always a bad sign. Always tears. Always my tears.
All that money spent on new tunes, all that preparation, all that travelling, all that negotiation all that passion for what? To stand in a car park in the cold; waiting. For Godot. And like Godot he, of course, never arrives, it’s the waiting and how one occupies the waiting that becomes the central tenant of the philosophical justification for the art of waiting. The absurdity and pathos of the psychoanalytical musings comes forth. Right there under the buzzing yellow light in the car park. I, like Beckett himself, quickly tired of “the endless misunderstanding". Symbiosis. Banal everyday conversations thus take on new meaning and have vastly different reinterpretations; even if the same interpretations are of the same conversation at different time with the same person.
Obligate symbiotic relationships or relationships where both symbionts entirely depend on each other for survival, are what the dance music promotion scene is all about; without the sound system or the DJ or the venue or the dancers there is no party; a mutual interdependence that can catastrophically fail on many levels did so this evening. For me anyway. The waiting, oh the waiting. I become defined by what I lack; access to equipment to play my tunes. I become an incomplete ego.
The pleasure principle, that is people seek pleasure and avoid pain, is missing, becomes inverted even, and sets up a device, a dichotomy by which political frustration can be vented, fears articulated and the lack of love revealed. No hugs in the car park. The irrational, the instinctual kicks in. We all end up waiting for Scouso to shut the door. Again and again. Again and again. As one matures, one learns the need to endure pain and defer gratification, because of the exigencies and obstacles of reality. It all clicks into place.
It all becomes and is reduced to one basic philosophical notion - “The futility of man's existence when salvation is expected from an external entity, and the self is denied introspection” (1).
So, finally I attempt to confront but only partially resolve , as all 50 years olds must at that specific juncture in their lives, the eternal questions such as death, the meaning of human existence and the place of (or lack of) God in that existence.
It all flows quick like hot, silver liquid and comes into focus, all sharp , readable and oh so obvious; it’s a revelation, a religious and spiritually insightful awakening that I failed to see earlier; it is, to me, the whole meaning and purpose of my life. Finally, I smile, and act.
“I’m going home”, I suddenly announce. I’m going home with the woman I love and we’re going to bed.
I buzz afresh with the new notion that I will never put myself through that humiliation again and thus vow, as I walk to my car hand in hand with the lovely Clare, to never, ever 'wait' for that promoter to say to me 'you're on next mate'. Such a relief.
Now that’s a revelation worth waiting for is it not?
(1) Sion, I., "The Zero Soul: Godot's Waiting Selves In Dante's Waiting Rooms" in Transverse No 2, November 2004, p. 70.