Everyone's a DJ nowadays. It wasn't always so, time was that you'd have to earn your stripes by first being a DJ gimp. Now there are few things more important to a DJ than his gimp. Decks are fairly high up the list of essential items for a budding DJ, but you don't have to bring your own (although anyone that doesn't bring their own headphones is just asking for trouble). Obviously though you will spend the day leading up to the big night, fraught with fear about just how good the equipment will be when you arrive to play for your adoring public. I still remember turning up for one of my first engagements as a spinner of records, fresh faced with what I thought was killer selection of vinyl, only to find that one of the turntable's wasn't working. After a heated debate with the bands and the promoter and being told by my then girlfriend that Jah Shaka only ever uses one deck, I decided that DJ Kool Herc wouldn't be best pleased if I was to play, and walked out of Basildons famed Roundacre never to return. I'm sure the twenty or so souls that were there that night still reminisce about that to this day.
So that's decks, I guess records would be high on the list too. But those you can always borrow from someone who has an equally eclectic collection as your own. After all their copy of Wham's Last Christmas pitched up to plus 8 will sound just as good as yours. So knowledge of songs, and more importantly how songs end is far more important than records.
But the one thing a DJ can't be without is his gimp. The gimp is essential, they will start the dance floor if you so wish it, they will go to the bar for you, hold back people that want to know why you aren't playing old-skool Hip Hop/Reggae/Madonna/Sex Pistols -'But I just played the Pistols! - Yeah but I wanted to hear God Save The Queen, not Bodies', they will allow you to sneak off to the little boys wee wee room and get back safe in the knowledge that your prized box of vinyl will still be there when you return. In short they will do everything, allowing you stand there in the limelight shaking your golden locks and feeling like Lord Percy Plant. What does the gimp gain from this I hear you cry? Well this is his first step on the long road to becoming what he secretly coverts, to be a DJ god.
Now the funny thing about a DJ gimp is you can't find one, they must come to you. There's a reason that the back of the local rag isn't full of gimp wanted ads. No, the gimp will find you, and until he (it's always a bloke, no exceptions) does you're not a true DJ. My gimp was called Johan but I called him The TNG. I first met him during the quiet first hour, when I would play the music I wanted to play before the dance floor started and I became a human jukebox. He approached me with a salute and the immortal words 'Alright Gary', as if we were the oldest of friends. Well we got talking mainly about Twisted Nerve (the label not the film), hence his nickname TNG (Twisted Nerve Guy). Anyway after thirty minutes or so I needed the wee wee room and made my excuses. 'I can watch your records.' And with those words I knew my gimp had found me.
He had taken the step that I myself had taken all those years before. My DJ was a chappie called Paul Tunkin. We worked together and he DJd at my local indie pit. I still remember gladly picking up a pair of boots for him from the shoe repairers and trudging up to the Toothbrush (said indie pit), being able to say I was on the list and pushing past the queue to head straight for the DJ booth like the good little doggy I was. Tunks (as no one called him) would allow me to sift through his records and make suggestions, sometimes even playing them. And he let me do the lights. As I said it's that all important first rung on the ladder.