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Black Tape

Sometimes it seems like everyone is a wannabe DJ. However, despite a healthy dose of cynicism about people who want to force their “impeccable” music taste down other people’s throats, an opportunity to play a bunch of your favourite tunes and make people dance is, in my mind, a thoroughly worthwhile aspiration, as long as it’s fun for all involved. But all the anal vinyl collecting and snobbery is enough to put anyone off, especially someone who is inherently lazy and lacking in cool threads and 12” knowledge as myself.

Black Tape though, promised a different take on things. ‘No Superstar DJs”, their flyers proclaimed and then offered anyone who wanted to a chance to spin some tunes for half an hour. No experience or technical ability needed. This was right up my street. I played gigs without any musical knowledge or ability when I was in the band Swivel Chair, so why not follow the same shambolic aesthetic with Djing as well? I quickly made up a mix CD of the choons of the moment in order to secure my spot and took it to the first night at Ego. I’d gone along with a pal and we were the oldest there by about a decade. No matter, there was alcohol, and after enough of the stuff, alcohol can make you dance like a loon and think you look good, believe yourself attractive to the opposite sex and think you are an amusing conversationalist. It can also make you think you are still “down with the kids”. Double Jack Daniels were thrown down necks, and dancing and other nonsense followed. It was a great night.

Next time the night was on, it was my turn and I remained sober until my DJ slot at 12am. This was necessary as drink also renders me incapable of doing anything remotely practical, and as I had zero experience of using CD decks I think this was a sensible precaution. The DJ before me had played a host of classic “indie” tunes – not the pish that passes for indie nowadays but the real classics like The Smiths and Pulp. He had done a great job of getting people up dancing so all I had to do was make the crossover seamless, with the choice of more classic indie, so on went The Cure and ‘Close to Me’. No-one deserted the dance floor. The crowd also reacted well to most of my other tunes, despite them verging on the cheesy pop side of things, including We Are Your Friends by Simian vs Justice, Supermassive Blackhole by Muse, Rick Rubin by Spank Rock, Heartbeats by the Knife and William Shatner’s version of Common People. I nearly played one of the tracks twice though which caused an embarrassing pause in proceedings. For me, the world stood still, and so did the dancefloor for an excruciating 5 seconds or so. There was a pained “oooooh” from the attendees as they turned to see what in hell I had done wrong. But I pulled it back just in time and played the right tune. Phew! The best thing is, everyone was very good-natured about it as that’s what the night is all about. Two Swedish girls requested the Smiths, here was my chance to impress some visiting Scandinavians. Alas I hadn’t brought my Smiths CDs, but I was able to utilise the CD left by the guy who DJed before me and pulled Bigmouth Strikes Again out of the bag to much grooving and singing along on the dancefloor. And then, it was all over. I could get drunk. Everyone else who DJed that night was fantastic, and the choice of tunes was unbelievably eclectic, ranging from Lionel Richie to The Gossip. Definitely worth checking out and signing up for your half hour slot.

www.blacktapeclub.co.uk

By Milo

Freelance writer and content creator.

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