Its typical of me to start panicking this time of year,its not my fault,my profession doesn’t entertain winter work and i’m sent home on basic wages till spring.We manage,but thats not the point,the point is i’m left to scramble round using my other skills to keep the wolf from the door (so to speak).
This usually includes tearing the hell out of the cellar to find things to sell,many a time i’ve held a pair of female leather boots thinking,”she’s not worn them in ages,surely she wont miss these”,only for me to cancel the sale when she asks for them the next morning.
Every year my CD and vinyl collection gets shaved down somewhat into classic,need,might need and sell it categories.Confident someone will find their long lost album online, but guilty after posting a CD that smelled like its been gathering fur next to a pair of leather boots (see above).
And then theres the scrap,all year, keeping old bolts,bits of useless wire,broken tools…..the stereotype,tight fisted,Yorkshireman,hell bent on scrimping and scraping another mans trash is another mans treasure adage into dirty finger-nailed reality.
Where i should be concentrating mostly on though,is the old disco.Me money for old rope,bread and butter,a hobby i dare not turn into a job for fear of hating it.I totally admire anyone who DJs for a living,especially mobile ones,sure enough,the superstar lads who turn up with their laptop and a demands list the size of Shropshire can wallow in the fact that half their life and their money will be looked after by some one else.But the lads who week in,week out,carry them chuffing speakers up and down,in and out of venues all year,putting up with some of Britain’s finest drunkards is only to be commended.And thats where i come in,carefully picking venues,sticking to friends events,playing it safe,keeping just the right amount of gigs,keeping the balance (the mrs happy).
Halloween and christmas is a busy time and i still love it,although christmas eve and new years eve are now out of bounds due to father christmas coming down our chimney to meet the kids.New years day however sees my long running 10 hr disco,where i get to play old irish records,folk ballads,rock and roll and stuff you’d never dream of hearing anywhere else…..its a good day.
Hangovers dealt with and in January, i’m kinda glad for the extra days sorting my life out at my own pace,the mrs does her best to speed this process up in the form of a to do list,i carefully pick out the jobs in order of:
3:what i can take to the tip or sell
By now the savings are taking a battering, as family and friends birthdays all come too soon,(no one should be allowed a birthday in January).I take to the internet and read through E-mails i should have replied to whilst drinking gin at ten in the morning over Christmas……………the role has now been filled/the opening for this opportunity is now closed,i curse my luck, or should i say laziness.
Come february and the gaffers at work are probably sick of my phone calls, “when we due back?,is there nothing at all?,can’t you get me in for a couple of days?”,all with a “i’ll see what i can do”, i must remember to do less work for that bastard this year i think.
We’re hit with an almighty icy blast and the winter, (which is late again,i’ve been saying it for years,the weathers nuts),hits hard,our boiler, which was installed by a mate,has packed its bags and gone to Tenerife for a few weeks…………the pipes are frozen.I take the mrs and the kids to her mothers and start pouring boiling water down the sinks,bath and shower……..it takes days.My plumber mate, (who incidentally is the only one who will go near our boiler),fixes the bloody thing and were back on track,i don’t tell the mrs its fixed for another two days.Heaven.
I can see all my neighbours struggling with the ice, and offered some industrial strength rock salt (which i had acquired quite a lot from work due to my parents steep drive),soon the street is safe and i drive down to the main road in the van,park at the bottom of the steepest hill in the village,and stack bag upon bag of rock salt on a pallet…………£5 a bag,thats the plumber paid for.
I get two interviews in one week with rival companies,after promising myself i cannot sustain this amount of time off again,they go well,i get offered both roles and pick the best one which suits my family….i start in two weeks (March 11th),things are looking up.
It is now March,the odd DJ stint in the local boozer keeps me afloat (just), and i’m amazed how these regulars survive,”old joe’s been there since ten this morning” says the landlord,its now half past eleven and joe is trying to grope Mick’s wife,(and it looks like Mick isn’t bothered).
Now at this time i’m still currently employed,albeit on pittance money,and i get a call from the gaffer,”get your lads together,we got a start up in cumbria”,details aside he gives me the date,March the 11th.I’m lost for words and i really need the wife to make it all clearer,she puts it all into perspective and makes me feel like a naughty kid as i have to phone my new employers and let them down,(after all,the pittance i get at the minute would be a bit more pittance than their pittance).
And so the process begins again,we still have to work a week to get full pay,thats just another kick in the nuts as we have to fork out digs upfront,but its great to see the lads again, and i had well and truly outstayed my welcome in my own home.
You see,when you work away,your family is used to you not being around.You’re on the phone every night, talking to the kids and they always ask when your coming home,which makes my job so hard.As soon as your home though,the first thing she asks is when i’m going BACK!,and by sunday morning i’m basically just in the way.
I love this job,its why i’ve put up with it so so long,its physical and i cant help feeling sad that people like me wont be able to keep working as long as people in other professions do (say an office clerk or something.No offence).
The bills are getting paid and theres a new boiler in town,i only work part of the year but the missus wants a holiday smack bang in the middle of it……crazy,i’d rather pay off the house than go anywhere,ever,but the kids come first.
Roll on winter eh?
Rewind back to 2009,i’m sat in a near empty bar in deepest darkest Mexbrough,and on the juke box came a song that bore no resemblance to its surroundings,it didn’t belong there,it was an alien,no one battered an eyelid,the bar lady carried on watching the silent bargain hunt on the tv,and the two drunks playing pool continued to use their cues to stay upright,but i heard it,and like true pro rushed to the juke box,noted its title,bought the EP,the rest they say……….well, there’s nothing,no one i knew ever heard of it,nor heard it again.
Tis a simple melancholic piece that could accompany a thousand films….i like it.
Another track which catches my ears in a sort of cinematic climax is Ramsay lewis’s dear prudence,funk,jazz and irresistible kick makes this track fit into any eclectic DJ set,your guess is as good as mine as to when and where to drop it,a fashion show maybe,a set opener,a finisher,its certainly got the pedigree.