I should be DJing tonight

I should be DJing tonight at Taboo or Zanzibar, or Latinova, or Moloko or wherever the kids of today are jolling. I should be being flown all over the country by promoters and so I can play at dodgy events and then spend the night on their couches…
I should be on the front cover of tabloids complaining about how Arthur stole the beat for his latest song from my single, Umleqwa. I should be living the life, I should be being sued for child maintenance by some presenter on SABC1.
I should be spending a night in the Rustenburg charge-office cells after a scuffle at the Samas between me and the guy from Prime Circle. That’s what I should be going. All because I’m SA’s foremost DJ.
I’ve always had the DJ skills, sure. Great taste in music, timing, handsomeness… All that was missing was the opportunities. So back then, the key was the first big break.
Me and Bopper had been playing around town. We had a night on Mondays at the Brass Monkey. We’d been playing house parties. There was a particularly sweet one in Lansdowne Place. The night I first played Come Out And Play by Duke Mushroom and Acorn kissed this one girl under the tree across the road.
Bopper was jolling at Einsteins that time on alternative nights. But over the one December, he got a gig in Plett for matric rage. So he organizes it so I can play in his place at Einsteins.
In those days Einsteins was the mainest jol. Alternative night at Einies: Tuesday and Thursday night. The playlist never varied. It was the last days of rock music in the mainstream. Dance culture was just starting to make waves, but for now, alternative night at Einsteins was the pre-eminent social event in PE’s southern suburbs.
I’d been going there for years. I could list the playlist by memory. Where Is My Mind, Roadhouse Blues, Blister In The Sun, Loser, Been Caught Stealing, Killing In The Name Of…
Then there’s a spell where it gets more mellow, and you play a bit of a reggae/rock vibe. That’s the place where you play D’yer Mak’er by Led Zep and I Love You by Springbok Nude Girls. I knew it off by heart.
So I make my debut at Einsteins that December. There are girls there. This one blonde girl even came down from Cradock especially…
I play my first half-hour note perfect. Every song in its place. The dancefloor fills up…. Then I get to the reggae place. I play D’yer Maker, then I get out the Nude Girls CD, the one with the big eye on it. I pop it in the CD tray. And – no need to even listen on the headphones – I know this disc like the back of my hand. I fast-forward to I Love You on track 12…
As history shows… I Love You is in fact, track 11. Track 12 is a shite, self-indulgent song called Rabbit. It sounds like someone drumming on a paint tin with their fingers. It is the kakkest song on that whole album.
Its ability to clear a dancefloor is probably unrivalled in all of popular music. My major-venue DJ debut is terminated shortly thereafter. By the time I get to the bar, that blonde girl has gone. Back to Cradock, for all I know.
Suffice to say that now, a decade later, I am not in the holding cells for a shabby, drug-fuelled scrap with a celebrity. I am in my lounge. I go to work at 9am. Not as a DJ.

Writer for television, print and digital, corporate and editorial. Editor and writer of books. Musical performance, spoken word as Inspector Ras. Guitar/vocals for The Near Misses, (Worst Band In JoburgTM). The last whitey at umsebenzi. Latest book 415 Action-Packed Neighbourhood Marketing Tips with Basil O'Hagan, out now. @hagenengler

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