I thought tonight I would give you the run down on how my night's DJ'ing went. What was so special about tonight? Well some might say nothing - it's just another gig. However - as I am sure Duncan and Mike will agree there is no such thing as "just another gig" if there was, anyone could do it. And to the person who's party it is, or now was, it's a very special night!
Now tonight's gig (or booking if Russ is reading - he says only real musicians have "gigs") was one of those "surprise ones". You all know the routine, everyone has to keep it a secret until they arrive then it's "surprise" the lights go up and we kick into one of the accepted tunes for whatever the event is - e.g. Stevie Wonder "Happy Birthday". Not that one tonight, as it was a silver wedding anniversary so we went with "Congratulations" by Cliff Richard followed by "Celebration" by Kool and The Kang.
Apologies for putting the band names, I don't want to insult anyone's intelligence, spelling things out like that infuriates me, like when US TV shows put up a caption during a scene set abroad that reads "Paris, France", just in case any of their viewers are too thick to know where Paris is, but I digress.
Anyway, tonight's job was at trinity which is one of the easier venues at which I work as a) it is less than 100 metres from my front door and b) a lot of their equipment is pre-installed, leaving me with very little to take with me, laptop, mixer, a few cables and a couple of lights. Very easy, set up in the afternoon, get Ollie to help me sound check. 2 quick walks home, hence I can finish my closing song at 12:03am and be sat back here at my desk doing this within 20 minutes. And unlike all other Saturday jobs, no driving either so the occasional sneaky one can pass my lips. Which wasn't an issue as one of the barmaids kept bringing them over. Which was nice.
I did not have a great deal to go on so went with my usual rough plan. It was a five hour job, 7pm until 12. The couple whose surprise it was were meant to be there at 7:30pm but as usual it was nearer 8 with a lot of false alarms until they actually arrived. Might as well have written off the first hour. After they arrived there were numerous other things to organise, a lot of chatting, a first dance, then food, then cake cutting, then some photographs, etc etc etc. With the net effect that things did not really get going until about 10pm.
At one time I used to worry about this a great deal and start panicing if no-one was dancing by 9:30pm but over the years I have come to realise that judging yourself purely on the number of people on the dancefloor throughout the evening, is not really the be all and end all - sure it is a factor but just one.
I have had evenings where the dancefloor was sporadic at best until the last hour or two and then everyone went crazy. I think people only remember the last hour or two anyway when they were drunk so I reckon it's OK. They always give positive feedback anyway, so I don't beat myself up over it anymore.
The music is constantly evolving though. Sometimes I have to drop a song from my repertoire that has previously been a winner, but suddenly falls out of favour. In this game you are only as good as your last song, and like a football manager on a sudden run of defeats, they don't last long. So out goes "Evacuate the Dancefloor" by Cascada. Once a popular tune, this has emptied the dancefloor two Saturdays in a row. It won't get a third chance. Funny old game as Greavsie used to say.
For years now I have been dreaming of putting together the perfect playlist that will win every time but it's unrealistic. 3 or 4, is the best I can really manage from any one genre, however, over the past few months I have been refining what I call my "Latin set", and tonight I added one to the beginning and end of the list to stretch this out to 8. I don't know how long I can keep this going, but it's getting a fantastic response from crowds - especially if played with about an hour to go until the end.
The great thing is about this set is it does not need any fancy mixing, an approximate 10 sec crossfade seems to work perfectly.
So here, shared just for you, my dearest blog readers, is my as near to perfect "Latin" set as I have managed to get. If you can read through it without laughing, and fancy trying it under licence then give it a go. All you have to say is - "this set of songs comes to you courtesy of Jason Ayres in association with the UK Crisp and Snack Marketing Board" and you are in. I get a free bag of crisps of my choice every time you say that so it is worth doing.
1) Hey Baby - DJ Otzi
2) Hips Don't Like - Shakira/ Wyclef Jean
3) Sway - Shaft
4) Samba De Janeiro - Bellini
5) On The Floor - J Lo/ Pitbull
6) Stereo Love - Edward Maya
7) We No Speak Americano - Yolanda B
8) Bounce - Kelis/ Calvin Harris.
As a DJ you do get a lot of requests, some completely inappropriate. Tonight I had a guy wanted to sing American Pie. I did not have karaoke set up but he didn't want that anyway, just wanted the mic to sing along. I wisely left this until about 15 mins before the end. If I had done it straightaway - he would only have been back for more (useful tip that). I decided to go for the 4 minute version rather than the 8 which was a wise decision bearing in mind the horrendous racket that ensued, unfortunately he didn't quite get this and continued singing for around 30 seconds into Taio Cruz before he realised I'd played the radio edit. I think the assembled crowd appreciated my decision.
I've forgotten something - oh yes the buffet. I didn't forget it at all really, I just left the best until last.
There's no other way to describe it. I patiently waited until all the guests had been up and there were a lot of them. The room was packed. And then I saw it.
If you attended Ollie's 4th birthday party, well that would pale into comparison with this. Here are a few highlights.
Huge trays of ham, beef and turkey. Very high quality - such as one would expect on a delicatessen. And there was piles of it left.
A cheese board with everything you could possible want on it, and a huge selection of biscuits.
The pie - oh my word. It was one of those deli pies, you know the layered ones, with some ham, chicken and countless other stuff in it. Absolutely gorgeous. Hard to describe but looked similar to this picture which I just nicked off google.
Note to Lynda - if you ever get bored of making cakes you could do worse...
French bread, breadsticks, dips all of that covered, and various rolls.
A fine selection of crisps, Pringles, and other nibbles. Just as I thought it could not get any better a giant plate of cheese balls hoved into view.
I can't remember the rest to be honest, in my heightened sense of excitement, I think there may have been some salad and stuff but my brain has put that information straight into the recycle bin in order to concentrate on the important bits.
Just to clarify having re-read the above statements, I was not in a state of sexual arousal whilst perusing this buffet, I know I love my food as much as most people love their "naughty stuff", but I can manage to keep the two things separate in my mind just about (i.e. it's not a fetish).
So what have we learnt from tonight torrid tale? Not a lot really, let's face it this blog is just a rehash of the same old themes you know and love me for. But hey, if things like James Bond, Coronation Street, Doctor Who and all those things can keep being popular for half a century or more on basically the same premise, then there's life in the old dog yet!
If you have enjoyed reading this blog, please take a look at my books on Amazon (Paperback & Kindle), where you can read lots more of the same! Click here.