There’s a certain feeling I get whenever I’m about to go on…kind of like the feeling of a racehorse in the starting gate, or of being backstage waiting for the house lights to go down…a sense of eager anticipation. I check my broadcaster one more time; the queue has been loaded, everything’s set. I flip back in world; I see that I’m properly dressed for the event, and I’m wearing my employee tag (with the “** Gin Rummy DJ **” title showing) and my titler, proclaiming to the world, “I’m DJ CoolJ…IM me with your requests!” In front of the booth, I’ve deployed my tip penguin, a spinning Tux with my “Good Karma” donation script installed.
Around me, the rest of the club is getting ready to start the event. The contest boards have been programmed and are ready to be turned on. Danielle’s already activated the Sploder, and I kick L$20 into it out of old reflex. The dancers are taking their positions on the poles or lapdance chairs, as they wish. But the backbone of any live event is always the DJ…and soon comes my turn.
7:59 PM by the SL clock. Go time. I punch the right buttons on the broadcaster, starting the encoder and the master playback. The first track loads and starts playing; by my convention, it’s an instrumental number I use for “tuning up” prior to getting into full swing. A touch on the Distributed Music Changer terminal, a button click on the resulting dialog, and the red logo of Infused Radio is replaced by an image of me, the “CoolJ” logo next to my photographed head. In the club, they’ll soon be hearing exactly what I’m hearing through the feedback loop in my headset. Another click on the broadcaster, and the mic is now ready to punch in. I keep an eye on the “Time Remaining” display, waiting for the moment when I’ll key up the mic and say, “Good evening and welcome to the Gin Rummy! This is DJ CoolJ with you…”
. . .
Danielle and I have both had to do a lot more DJ’ing recently, she as “Dani 2.0,” and me still bearing the DJ name given to me by her son. (We’ve had other DJs, but most of them have fallen by the wayside during the GR’s trek across the Grid.) She and I, along with DJ Chelle Moore, are the only ones working the GR’s booth at the moment…and now the two of us are helping spin over at Black Diamond, Chelle’s club, where there are 4 event slots a night and rarely enough other DJs to fill them. It’s helped me keep on my toes and improve my techniques. Last night’s marathon session began at the GR with the “True Blue” event, then moved to Black Diamond for a “70’s Disco Party/Dance Fever” event. (Thank you, Chelle! I love disco events!) It wasn’t until about 12:30 SLT that I finally closed down, somewhat enervated but happy, and several hundred L$ richer besides, thanks to the people who earned Good Karma Points by feeding the penguin.
DJ work, for me, involves a lot of preparation. I fill my queue in advance with 2 hours’ worth of music as appropriate for the event, then make adjustments at performance time based on requests, deleting some of my “planned” tracks to make it all balance out. Then there are tracks to sort and new ones to find all the time; I’ve taken to listening to BPM (XM81) in the car, and, when I hear a particularly good track, making a note of its artist and title using the voice-recorder feature of my cellphone so I can look for it later. Most people may never notice these little details…but I notice.
The big question is, am I any good? People seem to think so; a number of folks at the GR have called me “the best DJ in SL,” though I’ve no doubt they’re either exaggerating or haven’t gotten around much. Even Chelle has said “Why do you need me?” or words to that effect…but Chelle has one thing I don’t: a following. With her 110-strong fan club, her appearances at the GR are nearly a guaranteed draw of traffic. I can’t say the same…and that makes Chelle worth every L$ we give her for her appearances, and more. And I don’t have the perky voice of Chelle, or even Danielle’s sex-kitten purr…just a fast-moving style that is probably better suited to afternoon drive-time than to a club environment.
But, Lord help me, I enjoy this stuff. When I’m “ahead of the curve,” keeping all the balls in the air between in-world and the music timing…well, there’s nothing like it.
. . .
The song queue is almost empty now; it’ll be empty once the last track loads, which is my traditional closer and has been ever since I started as “Dr. Feelgood” at the Cutlass Club. I key up the mic and get that last announcement in:
“…and it’s about time for me to get on out of here. We leave you as always with Phil Collins, ‘Take Me Home,’ ‘cos we’re takin’ me home, here at the Gin Rummy. This is DJ CoolJ saying, peace out, GOODNIGHT EVERYBODY!”
I release the key and turn off the mic button as Phil begins singing, “Take a look around me, I’m an ordinary man…” People are already drifting out of the club, the boards are cleared, the contest long since over. Soon, it’ll be time for me to reset the Music Changer back to Infused, then kill the encoder, kill playback, and shut all the broadcast program stuff down. Then I can remove the titler, delete the copy of the Tip Penguin (now a couple hundred L$ heavier, thanks to generous club-goers), change outfits, and Danielle and I can go off and do our thing. But, for the moment, I just sit back and feel the satisfaction of another successful set in the books.