The Lady Mo over at she b mo posts eloquently about the ups and downs of being a DJ:
Another really annoying thing, both on radio and in venues, is when people request something totally out of whack with what you are currently playing. On the radio, I could be doing a country set and get a call for hip hop. At a dance club, someone will want the Buzzcocks. (If I never hear the Buzzcocks again, it’ll be too soon… one bar I worked at practically demanded that band hourly). I will usually try to get to a request, in a smooth fashion if it is possible, but that is often not good enough.
Reminds me of a thing. One night I’m spinning at a party. I open with an hour or so of recognizable dancey stuff. People love it. The evening deepens and alcohol minimizes the need for familiarity and now I’m settling into a Deep House groove, a place I love to be. I’m right in the middle of a transition when a girl comes up to me and grabs me and shouts something through the headphones at me. I complete the transition and push the phones down around my neck.
“Say that again?”
She says, “Can you please, please please play ‘I Will Always Love You’ by Whitney Houston??”
Mother Pus Bucket.
“I don’t have it,” I say. And that’s the truth. I didn’t think it was going to be that kind of evening.
She jumps. “I do!”
Oh, crap. She’s one of the organizers. This is her house. And I just responded as if there would be nothing more perfect for the moment than Whitney Houston but that tragically, I had forgotten to bring her. And now… aw, hell. The girl’s off hurrying to find her cd’s.
Reluctantly, I start planning the musical route. I can’t just make the jump, you see. It would shock people out of their conversations and have them wondering what part of the movie they just missed. A DJ set can be something like the game of Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon. How do I get from Trainspotting to The Bodyguard in as few steps as possible? So I begin the slow transition from Deep House to Schmaltz Pop and imagine a day when I rule supreme, when I stand behind the decks and say, “No! You may not hear Pantera, you fool! I run these shiny machines! You will listen to The Kingston Trio and you will love it! Now dance!”
“Ha ha ha ha ha!!”