Wednesday, January 03, 2007

last nights party


I said I was going to post tonight so I am. Not as an obligation to you, dear reader, but as an obligation to yours truely. And don’t let that comment sway you into feeling that I’ve distanced myself- for this is still an intimate affair- I just want to establish, between the very few of us, that I'm taking this thing* seriously. Now onward.

I will just begin. The year is new in Brooklyn, USA, where I reside and drink from a bottle. And eat with my hands. And smoke cigarettes out the window. I was born in San Francisco, but I left there about five years ago to come here to work for a record company that folded about 4 years later. I live with my girlfriend. We moved here together. She has long hair and likes to bat her eyelashes and work her hips when she walks through a crowded room.

Now, since the company I moved out here for went under, I've started my own with a couple friends. It’s in the music industry, which, as an industry, appears to be failing, but we have faith in our model and feel there is a strong chance we’ll succeed as a business. As it is, and how all businesses collectively experience, we are starting off slowly, so haven’t made much of a profit. This was expected (and we aren’t doing poorly at all considering the haste in which this venture was realized), but what profit we are bringing in has ultimately just gone back into the company, which leaves little to none for its small list of dedicated employees.

So I’ve had to hustle for money.

Hustling is a very New York frame of mind, if you were to ask me, a proud San Franciscan. The determination to just go out and find not necessarily a job, but a “gig,” is beyond my laidback west coast nature. I have friends that will go for years at a time just bouncing from one gig to another, and they all have the money for their rent and bills and rounds at the bar. This is all new to me, though. I’d gone from one job to another, sure. But eventually I found a desk and I was quite comfortable behind it. It was a good place to clear my thoughts and drink my coffee. A pleasant place to contemplate trends while chewing on a chicken salad sandwich. Plus the long distance was free.

But that’s beside the point. What I'm here to post is what helped me get to here and now.

I Djed a Christmas party at these swanky offices in the West Village. I played Christmas carols and downtempo and people in suits drank champagne and didn’t notice. There was finger food on small plates and three bars and waiters holding trays with glasses of wine on them. I kept grabbing one each time they passed by. I must have drunk two bottles to myself. They had a very strict play list, which I couldn’t deviate from. So even when I knew it was the wrong time to play a song, I had to play it. I got paid a good chunk of money for the gig, so I didn’t care. They didn’t even want me to mix; I just went from song to song, fading in and out like an expensive jukebox in a fancy shirt. At the end of the night, by request, I played Madonna. But nobody really danced.

Then I completed a final at school, which was less a final than a celebration for the end of the semester.

Then I bartended an underground warehouse party right here in Brooklyn. The best DJ’s in New York City were playing the songs you want to hear, all night long at an illegal gathering in the Gowanus Canal. It was epic. The night was cool but not cold and I would sneak out every now and then to burn my lungs. The doorman was large and overweight and had a really kind, disarming voice. He would light my cigarettes and smile a knowing smile and I would let the smoke curl from my mouth up into the crisp winter morning.

Then I completed another final at school, this one a little more grueling.

Then it was Christmas and I got a million texts from people saying merry Christmas. I guess the day of the mass text wishes are upon us.

Then I Djed at a bar on New Years Eve. And I played whatever I wanted, from deep Afro beat to heavy James brown funk to mainstream pop songs to weird dancehall bootlegs. Drinks were free and I got paid enough to cover my bills. It was a sweet scent filling the warm air that evening. The year had finally ended. Another twelve months in the past. People beamed into the dawn of oh seven and I let out a small sigh of relief.

*And what is “this thing”? You may ask. Well I guess it’s this blog. This site on the internet. Where I write words and we, the very few, read them. I guess it’s this writing, which I do and still can’t figure out why. Maybe writing is cathartic; maybe it’s like a therapy, maybe its just another way of unraveling, of having life spun out of you in a long string of words. I'm not sure. Maybe this thing is my way of exercising discipline. A game I play, to keep me on my toes. You have to post, it will keep you regular. Maybe it’s just another thing iv'e collected, and that I wont give up, because I'm afraid of feeling the sensation of loss.

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Creative Commons License
:gray matters: by jkg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at downtownalleys.blogspot.com.