HOW TO KILL A DJ – CHAPTER 5

Friday October 9th

WAKE UP

opened eyes #1

All you fear is fear itself,

Check out your own backyard before you check out someone else.

Janet Damita Jo Jackson’s ‘Unbreakable’ has been soundtracking my days recently. I love everything about it – from design and styling to the lyrics and feel that we are practically twins under the skin, being fierce black women, earth signs AND firehorse babies (just like Halle Berry and Mike Tyson both of whom I am also obsessed with). Her lyrics resonate and echo my exact feelings about love, loss, fighting against the establishment, loving yourself and dancing like no one is watching.

She’d be an A1 neighbour: someone I’d invite out on a Coffee Patron bender with and enjoy making fun and sense of this world. I know we’d laugh long and hard at life and its ridiculous wardrobe malfunctions. Bumping back down to earth musically inspired, I write a glowing review for DMC World online.

Janet Jackson – Unbreakable – (Rhythm Nation / BMG Records)

 

The themes of ‘Unbreakable’ have set me thinking about my little universe. I’d recently worked at the WAKE UP festival : it’s like Atzaro’s Healing Ibiza but and it all takes place at Gala Night in Benimussa outside San An. If you embrace the alternative lifestyle, then this is as profound an ‘experience’ as you can get, mingling with and enjoying the talents and skills of some of the best (and the kookiest) spiritualists of every persuasion and discipline. It’s a full-on festival of music, rhythmic dancing, meditation, talks, chakra balancing, drumming circles, laughter therapy, smudging, yoga of every kind, tarot, crystal healing, reiki, hypnotherapy, gonging, doing whatever it takes to realign, balance and focus – to wake up the spirit and put us back on the spiritual path, rejuvenated and refreshed. I gave a talk on ‘Keep Talking’ which aimed to encourage better communications. It was truly beautiful maaan. But now the results feel as shortlived as the after effects of a lungful of poppers.

Why? Well, I am being haunted by The Myth. You know the one that says the island bounces you back to where you came from if it doesn’t like you. I keep telling myself that it’s just a myth, an urban legend, that it’s not true. I know that that sort of legend can only make relatively sound and reasonable people tough it out for the all the wrong reasons. But pride can be such a dangerous thing. Love too. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been swayed by all of the above during my time here.  Then I chance upon this …

David Whyte

 

11 August · Edited ·

Honesty

HONESTY

is reached through the doorway of grief and loss. Where we cannot go in our mind, our memory, or our body is where we cannot be straight with another, with the world, or with our self. The fear of loss, in one form or another, is the motivator behind all conscious and unconscious dishonesties: all of us are afraid of loss, in all its forms, all of us, at times, are haunted or overwhelmed by the possibility of a disappearance, and all of us therefore, are one short step away from dishonesty. Every human being dwells intimately close to a door of revelation they are afraid to pass through. Honesty lies in understanding our close and necessary relationship with not wanting to hear the truth.

The ability to speak the truth is as much the ability to describe what it is like to stand in trepidation at this door, as it is to actually go through it and become that beautifully honest spiritual warrior, equal to all circumstances, we would like to become. Honesty is not the revealing of some foundational truth that gives us power over life or another or even the self, but a robust incarnation into the unknown unfolding vulnerability of existence, where we acknowledge how powerless we feel, how little we actually know, how afraid we are of not knowing and how astonished we are by the generous measure of loss that is conferred upon even the most average life.

Honesty is grounded in … admitting exactly where we are powerless. Honesty is not found in revealing the truth, but in understanding how deeply afraid of it we are. To become honest is in effect to become fully and robustly incarnated into powerlessness. Honesty allows us to live with not knowing. We do not know the full story, we do not know where we are in the story; we do not know who is at fault or who will carry the blame in the end. Honesty is not a weapon to keep loss and heartbreak at bay, honesty is the outer diagnostic of our ability to come to ground in reality, the hardest attainable ground of all, the place where we actually dwell, the living, breathing frontier where there is no realistic choice between gain or loss.

‘HONESTY’ Excerpted From CONSOLATIONS:

The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning

of Everyday Words

© 2015 David Whyte and Many Rivers Press

So what if it’s not the island that bounces you back. What if real life out-trumps the legend?

My sister Elicia’s Whatsapp shatters the post-deadline calm. My Mum, Blanche, has been rushed to hospital with a heart attack. Her condition has been stabilised without surgery but the surgeons are concerned and keeping her in for tests and observation for the next week or so. Elicia has a 5am flight, the rest of my family are unavailable so can I take over the vigil. ‘Of course, no problem’ I say. No matter that Google Maps confirms that I am currently 2,360km away and unable to do anything more constructive than Whatsapp, Skype and phonecall my family, my friends and the hospital non stop and bounce like a ping test between them all.

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I call the ward at 04.00 UTC then write an update to the FAMILY Whatsapp group. Mum is stable and settling into the ward. Tests will be done over the next few days and they are keeping her in for observation until the results are clear. Any phone calls for her are to be directed to the following ward number. I ask the family if we can organise a visiting rota – that sort of thing.

SATURDAY OCTOBER 10TH

I don’t sleep and am exhausted when day breaks. I have horrible flashbacks of me going to see my Dad, seven years before. In the flashback I am about to board my flight to Manchester at Charles De Gaulle having worked Friday night somewhere in deepest Southern France. I have flown back to Paris to fly back out at silly o’clock to see and comfort him, when my sister Audrey calls to tell me that I’m too late. My dad has just died. I hadn’t even boarded the flight. That sense of uselessness swung hard at me like a prize fighter then. And I can still feel the full force of the KO even now. Today my mum is seriously ill and somehow her situation has triggered a ‘red button’ scenario. Reality check. I have been happily living in Europe for thirteen years, have had the best time ever too but in all that time, the one thing I have consistently missed – and missed out on – is my family. Maybe it’s a good time to reconnect, to get to know my Mum and my family better? Is work and dj’ing and living a gloriously sun-drenched Ibiza life really so important to me that I would sacrifice my – and our – personal needs for it? Hold on. Who am I? And why am I still here when my family need me over there?

Without a suitable emotional (and sometimes moral) sat nav you can get terribly lost in the Land of Loss. But no more Ms Denial for me.

road less travelld #2

Shit gets more real by the day. I’m as guilty as the next smartphone addict for not memorising names or numbers and for relying on my phone for everything. It’s a sign of the milennial times that even my BFFs can’t recall my phone number without checking their phone or my Facebook. I need an anchor. I am a responsibility-free adult, cut adrift on this island where I have no significant other, I don’t have kids and I don’t even have a cat or a goldfish. Finding someone close and reliable enough to mind my spare house and car keys was a mission. And as for that time when I found myself choking on a Schtroumpf with no-one close by to Heimlich it out of my gullet, that took the fun out of Haribo for a while, I can tell you.

 

 

In ‘choking alone-single serving-no next of kin’ terms, there is absolutely nothing to keep me here. This house (ok penthouse apartment) hasn’t stopped whirling for long enough for me to make a soft landing in Oz. Still, my ruby slippers will always have magic.

 

The people in A1 block aren’t A1 neighbours at all. Their Neighbourhood Watch has consisted of them watching me and spying on my landlady through the twitching Judas. They never say hello and prefer heatedly shouting and complaining when I’m a) parking b) (un)loading luggage or shopping into / out of the lift c) opening my front door d) closing my front door e) breathing f) not even there to be guilty of any of the above. They make no secret of saying (in Spanish) that they think English people are ‘tonto’ and show my Loco Landlady little or no respect. Loco Landlady has flashes of lucidity (good day / sober / not ill) but most days she can’t find the keys to her own house let alone to this apartment. When I moved in she handed me forty identical looking keys on a fob then tootled off with a shrug. As for the possibility of her next of kinship, she has a horrendous track record with cars and insurance and as such is as useless to me or my family in a crisis as a little toe is in a very pointy shoe.

 

My friends Sophie and Lee have become the closest thing I have to family here: yet even they don’t know the names of or have the contact details for my immediate family. In fact, the closest to kin is my 90’s ex, Simon Bushell who knows my family by name and close friends well enough to find them should anything happen to me here. My squad? The people who have that information on lock live in London, Manchester, Paris and New York. This pulls focus. I’m done with this free falling and falling away of things. Where will you go when the party’s over? Ask me tomorrow – when I wake up.

sleep on it #3

 

 

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HOW TO KILL A DJ DAY 1

Some of this is fact, all of this is fiction. But if the truth doesn’t mind, then none of this even matters. All you need to know is that I am verbally incontinent and can no longer hold my peace.

Jhelisa – Hold My Peace

SEPTEMBER

The constitution has been written.

constitution

TO LIVE BY CHOICE NOT BY CHANCE

Space Ibiza, Friday September 25th, 2015 – Glitterbox closing

Funky Green Dogs – Fired Up

Join me upstairs in the Sunset Terrace at Space, Ibiza as Todd Terry plays his ‘one last tune’ for the Glitterbox Closing Fiesta – it’s Funky Green Dogs ‘Fired Up’ and we are doing our damnedest to ramp up the sexy. This is me – a dazzling human discoball in my traffic-stopping sequinned jacket, electric blue Chanel glasses, bright white glitter t-shirt and black asymmetric tassled suede skirt. I’m fierce. I’m fabulous. And working that ‘Nearly Big Five No’ salt and pepper ‘fro like the diva that I am. I’m dancing next to Tracy, the straight talking, Yoda conscience of our gang who is wearing a beige Armani wrapover dress with a hemline that leaves much to the imagination and a neckline that leaves nothing at all. Next in my eyeline is the fabulous Foxy (our débutante draglamourpuss) who is flirting and narrowing her eyes at the straight boys in her incendiary, feline way whilst Anna Cini, grande dame of the VIP is effortlessly commanding everyone’s attention with her imposing personality, outsized jewellery and dramatic decolletage. We all sizzle for shizzle. We are the sex in this city: for tonight at least.

« … Can I say one thing …’ Tracey’s voice cuts through the music like a hot knife through butter – I stop dancing and offer her my best ear. She lowers her voice and continues ‘if I have one message for you it’s this…9 months and go out laughing.» Her comment pierced the wall of sound like William Tell’s arrow through that apple. Dazed, I felt her words hit me with the boom of the confetti and CO2 cannons. I floated with the force above the strobe-lit heads, and landed to the ‘ooh aah’ sound of an easily impressed crowd. Cue unprecedented activity in the remaining active neural pathways. Our dance-off resumed seconds later and like nothing had been said but her words had walked in and shook shit up. Just like that.

Tracy is an in-demand consultant in the Banking world. She is paid to see where change is imminent and essential and find solutions when others can’t.   She is a specialist in her field and she does not candy coat anything. Ever. Especially not to her friends. To her I shouldn’t accept or settle for climbing the Ibiza ladder by playing nine hour sets in some cool hotels, bars, restaurants and occasionally in prestigious clubs. To her I am not being listened to properly (annoying when that is what dj’ing is all about) and should seriously reassess my position here. She says that I can and should be doing better than this and that this is maybe not the right place for me. Wow. I thought I was doing so well. It sucks hard that there are some truths that only your best friends will tell you.

Other people’s perspective is such a beautiful thing. Now I am close to tears yet laughing like I’ve od’d on nitrous oxide. Or maybe that’s just the effect of a bump of coke, three shots of tequila, a hierbas con hielo and the ecstasy all kicking in at once? Whatever it is, it’s given me an ‘Inception’ kick to the ground floor of reality’s future.

‘Get your bearings again, centre yourself … don’t run and don’t cry … I repeat this like a mantra until I disappear into the anonymity of the dancefloor. After trudging a personal furrow to Tee’s Freeze beats, I open my eyes and look around. Everything is still the same. Nothing has changed. Everything is as it always was and will be. There we were, four party-starters, showing out and showing off in the VIP of Space, Ibiza. But here I stand on the snake that takes you back to the beginning of the game to start all over again. I feel free.I feel excited. I feel afraid. I feel cheated. I feel sick. I feel lost. I feel inspired. I feel all of the above all at the same time and I also feel strangely relieved.

In the overfull but volume-lite El Salon / smoking area, Horsemeat Disco and DJ Pippi were smashing the classics. James Hillard finished with a disco re-edit of Norman Connors’ ‘Take It to The Limit’ and Pippi amped it up with a jacking vocal / soulful house set including Masters At Work’s ‘Backfired’ (both of which felt more relevant to me than ever before). Up until this point, my dj life, much like this Glitterbox party has passed in an ecstatic haze. I have bounced like a kid between the backstage area, the dj booth and the dancefloor like the party would never end. Still, I am a happy, clappy clubber, congratulating Pippi on his choices, dancing and distracting and being mega sociable talking to BHS / Lo Cura’s Dave Phillips and some new found shot-guzzling friends about my jacket and my glittery silver shoes – in a whirlwind of profound superficiality.

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Then way ahead of the usual curfew, someone from the Direction – or a technician (not sure which) – came to turn the sound down again, and did so so drastically that the crowd who were in full rave, instinctively start the penguin migration to repopulate the main room for the headline dj. Every club on the island does this, especially if there are not enough people to fill all the rooms that are open. It is a method that we djs all adhere to without complaint but one that I don’t always agree with. Like now.

In life as in art as in clubbing. Flow is a beautiful thing. When a room is rocking and full why limit people’s dance floor choices ? If people are having a good time in the second room then leave the second room open. Why does the party ever have to stop ? Why should it  even? When I started dj’ing that was how fresh, new talent used to rise to the top. It was all about that moment when push comes to shove and someone noticeably and unexpectedly cuts it way better on performance, musical content and crowd appreciation than the other djs on the bill. Let the games begin and let the people decide. But things have changed drastically in those 23 years. It was so much simpler back in the day when and where I started…

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I officially (ie name on a flyer) began dj’ing 23 years ago in the Pussy Parlour at the Flesh Night at the Hacienda in Manchester. It was promoted by flyers and posters. There was no internet, no email and the only social network was our friends, our home phones, a few working phone boxes and the doorbell / door knocker. We arranged to meet in pubs or at bus stops. And when we got to the Hacienda it was a rave from the changing of clothes in the car park, to the party in the queue and onwards from the cloakroom and the café on into that mecca of hedonism. The Hacienda had two rooms, and at the Flesh Night only four djs (mostly residents) covered those rooms and played all night. The second room finished half an hour before the main room and you could set your watch by it.

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Displaced like an ant from a work top, I find myself walking around in circles unable to settle.This ‘smiley mouse in a wheel’ routine is actually part of my drug and club enjoyment.

I find the others, we repeat and rave our way to the end of the night, falling out of the club laughing and blinking. Sunglasses on and we admire the sunrise taking shape over Ushuaia from the dingy, tarmac outside the entrance door of Space. We discuss the idea of going on to an after hours at Underground or going on to their sumptuous villa in Santa Eularia (where, incidentally, they respectably keep going until just after midday). Remembering that I have to work in five hours bursts my boogie bubble, so I leave them with hugs and double european kisses and walk alone to my car. I bump into friends Guy and Dean and we have one of our fucked up but funny, thought association conversations about the Glitterbox dj line up for the night (I never knew you could get so much lexical mileage out of Greg Wilson, Dimitri from Paris and Todd Terry ?) and then we talk about everything and nothing at all. It passes the time until we get to the Playa D’En Bossa roundabout where we part company. By the time I get to my car, (which might as well be in Africa I have parked it so far away) the brisk walk has brought on an unexpected but welcomed rush. I sit and gather my thoughts.

From 5pm till midnight I have been a wedding dj, playing the whole seven hours of the pre to blessing to dinner and dancing event on one drink, 2 mini shots of gazpacho and with no toilet break. My failure to find any leftover food in the kitchen and an insulin slump meant tear arsing it to Playa D’En Bossa. My life was saved by guzzling the quickest Vitello Tonnato in town and a chat with my friend, the chef Tim at Clandestino. My friends were ready to leave and the restaurant was waiting to close as I arrived but everyone waited until I had eaten so we could car pool to Space and fly together in a chemically assisted, high altitude (and attitude) balloon. That’s what friends are for, right ?

Should I drive or should I call a taxi ? Is it real or Memorex ? I know this shouldn’t even be a consideration – The Guardia here are severe with black people at the best of times and the 500€ and immediate confiscation of licence penalties is a total stinger for everyone at any time. But there are no taxis on the road and the taxi number is ringing out. It is clearly off the hook. It’s 7am, there’s no such thing here as an Uber and Ibiza is suddenly a ghost town. There is literally no one on the road except me. No pedestrians, no cars and no guardia nacional or civil to be seen (which is bizarre for a stretch of road that notoriously lights up the Road Cool WhatsApp group like July 4th every night). There’s nada. Niente. Nothing stirring, not even this smiley mouse behind the wheel.

I have glitter confetti instead of diamonds stuck to the soles of my shoes and my head is a whirlpool of nostalgia and memories. For no good reason and for all of the above, I start to sob gently with my head resting on the steering wheel. Let it go.

Tears dried, I take a deep breath and centre myself. Eye balls are focussed, the optic nerve is happily at rest. I’ve never been one for gurning nor eyes Warner Brothers whirling in their sockets so thank goodness for small mercies there. And there is still nothing on the road. That I instinctively sat in the driver’s seat facing direction of the traffic and looking straight ahead out of the crystal clear windscreen is a box well ticked (you would be surprised how many fail THAT test and still drive!). Yes! I can feel my feet and co-ordinate the pedals perfectly. Yes! I can put the key in the ignition without needing instructions, prayer or a co-pilot. The Guardia are sleeping with their wives and lovers and home is just a kiss away. All road risk has been carefully assessed. Mirror. Signal. Manouevre. And away we go (even Ibicencs don’t use their mirror when they are sober so I know I am doing well.) I am home in 15 minutes. I thank Sugar out loud and kiss her on the dash as I take the key out of the ignition. Even though I am not proud of the motoring risks I have taken, my trusty VW always gets me home in one beautiful, smiling piece. I shower, promising myself that I will never do that again and snatch four hours sleep as the day – and the island – wakes up.