The Time I Played at Camp

parkour-kids

I spent a good portion of last night recalling the time I got hired on by the administrators of a parkour camp to give the kids a sort of farewell party before the summer break ended. Without getting too much into the sport itself, for the uninitiated, parkour fits somewhere between a sport, an art and a mode of transportation. If you love Assassin’s Creed as much as I do, you’ve likely picked up on what I’m talking about. Essentially, it seems to primarily revolve around overcoming obstacles in an efficient way, like running up and over a wall as opposed to walking around. As it turns out, there are actually (day) camps available wherein teens will go and practice the sport while receiving some instruction on a daily basis. Anyways, here’s my experience with the whole situation.

The Atmosphere

For the short time amount I spent there, and given the circumstances, I don’t think I can truly tell you what the camp was like. Sure, I saw and spoke with both some of the kids and many of the instructors and even got a tour around the joint, though something tells me DJs and lights aren’t usually on the menu for these guys. As far as I know, everyone stayed late that day by not leaving until well after sundown, which was rather atypical for the camp (as a day camp, the kids would go home every day). Either way, the atmosphere was very energetic, likely due to the fact that it was filled with young athletes of all different skill sets. While some of the kids gathered in small groups to engage in their sport of choice, most of them were sitting or standing around picnic tables, eating food and talking or off at the little store they had on the grounds, buying some last-minute parkour equipment before they left for good. They also asked me to check out the best parkour shoes: comparison chart & reviews , so i did!

The Music

As you can guess, I mostly relied on the use of fast-paced techno. While perhaps not my sort of thing, it certainly set the proper tone for the evening, which was rather energetic. It wasn’t the most enjoyable event I’ve attended purely from a musical standpoint, though that was fine by me.

The Reception

If I’ve ever been a source of background music, this was it. And, honestly, I sort of liked it. While a few kids stayed focused on me and even came to talk to me after everything was said and done, it was nice getting to hide in the corner for once. It was refreshing to say the least.

Would I Do It Again?

Sure, though I’d prefer to go to a different type of camp next time. Up until I went there, I had no idea parkour was actually a sport with a large following that didn’t just take place in video games and Bruce Willis movies. While I’d have no problem playing the same camp again, I think seeing the sport for the first time was the best part. If I could go to a similar camp which revolved around another sport I had never heard of, I think I’d jump at the opportunity. It’s not often you learn something from DJing or by watching those significantly younger than yourself. This occasion; however, was the exception. Make sure to check out their website, Traceurzone.com .

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My Best Gig as a DJ – The School Book Fair

Bookfair

In a recent blog post, I briefly mentioned that the best gig I’ve ever played took place at a book fair. Book fairs are small events held in schools wherein the children are able to browse a wide variety of books as well as art and school supplies. Some of the items available would come with toys or neat little gadgets as well. While the parents would send them to school with money for things they actually needed, it was clear that the average kid was more interested in books comparison chart and reviews or pencils that came with the aforementioned gadgets. I can only assume this was the publisher’s way of getting their foot in the door and getting the kids interested in the book fair in the first place.
To be honest, I was rather shocked that I had been contacted by the librarian (who seemed to be the lady in charge of the whole ordeal) in the first place. Now, it’s been a good few years since I’ve attended such early education, and, for all I know, this is normal in this day and age. Still, who would’ve thought that a bunch of kids buying school supplies needed a DJ? I can only assume I was there to act the same role as the toys and gadgets which came with the books; just another means by which the people in charge could get the kids excited about the event. Either way, it worked.
I’ve previously mentioned that I liked this gig so much because it was so far out of my usual job description that it almost felt as if I was working another job altogether. While I’ve been used to being the secondary act throughout the entirety of my career (the main act being alcohol at a bar, dancing at a club, etc.), it seemed like the kids were truly there to see me, as they seemed to forget about their toys and gadgets once I started playing. Now, I’ve never been one for large groups of kids (don’t even ask me to list off the reason’s I’d never become a teacher), though I really got something out of this experience I’ve never found anywhere else and am unlikely to find again.
I primarily played music that the kids have become accustomed to through the non-music-related media today’s children and adults consume. I played the Harry Potter theme song (don’t tell Warner Brothers for the love of god!) and some tunes from the sound track of the video game Minecraft. The entire thing was fairly atypical in that regard, and I almost felt out of place at first, what with the kids songs in place of the pop and slow songs.
I’m not quite sure if getting a DJ is typical of a school book fair (I’d wager it’s not), though, if I got the chance to do it again, I’d jump at the opportunity in a heartbeat. I can’t speak for events with less strict supervision, but this was definitely the most fun and most different gig I’ve ever played, despite the toned-down atmosphere. The main sponsor of this event was the website Sharper the point .

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My Life as a Freelance DJ

About

The Places I Work As a DJ

Whether you’re a student or a professional, I’d bet everything I have to say you show up to the same institution or place of work on a weekly basis. There’s certainly nothing wrong with this and it is even an idea I even find myself romanticizing in my own head from time to time. Imagine that.

I, on the other hand, only know where I’ll be next week. Maybe the week after that, if I’m lucky. Next month? Your guess is as good as mine. I think that when purely focusing on how one’s job affects their overall lifestyle, this is the biggest change one might expect when transitioning from a standard job or school to a career like this. I imagine this is the case for all freelancers, whether they be musicians, writers, domestic cleaners or door-to-door salesmen.

I’ve worked at a variety of events. One day I may work in a room filled with piercings, leather and a whole lot of Marilyn Manson fans, while the next day there might be enough neckties around me I could tie them together and climb Toronto’s CN Tower. Raves, weddings, you name it – I’ve worked there.

Do I have a favorite? Perhaps not. Though, I think my best gig was playing at a book fair. Really. For those who grew up in a different generation than myself and those younger than me, a book fair is today’s school bake sale, where books, pencil sharpeners, pencils and other school/art supplies are sold. The school I played at didn’t seem overly fancy, but I guess they felt the need for a DJ anyways. And who am I to turn down their cold, hard cash?

It wasn’t the book fair itself that appealed to me. In fact, I was dreading it all week. I’m not a babysitter after all. Rather, it was the break in scenery that has me looking back in fond memory. Sort of like if you worked in an office all day and then were assigned to the warehouse for a day for the same rate of pay. While it may not be a vacation, it’s certainly a nice break. Even guys in versatile jobs like mine can use one of those every now and then. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a DJ, it’s that you can find monotony in anything if you look hard enough. At any rate, playing for kids monitored by teachers was a nice break from playing for kids at a rave who broke into their parents’ liquor cabinets beforehand.

The Perks

I’ve always thought my job would be similar to that of a cop, in the sense that I have no idea what I’m getting myself into each night, even when playing somewhere I’ve previously played before. While this may cause some degree of anxiety in many folks due to dealing with such a level of uncertainty on a daily basis, it’s this uncertainty that keeps me getting up in the morning.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m the human version of Spuds MacKenzie. Sure, I might not actually be getting in on any of the partying a see going on around me, but, like the metal head who goes with his friends to a Snoop Dog concert, you don’t have to “get it” to be a part of the action. My workplace of the day is always a place of happy vibes. And I certainly can’t complain about that.

The Drawbacks

I always used to be (and still am) a night owl. As such, it only seemed fitting to become a DJ. Because when have you ever seen a DJ play while the sun is still up? Boy, was I wrong. Like the truck driver or the soldier, I don’t have the luxury of a bed time and wake time which can be set in stone over the years. I’ve played at high-profile events where each occupant had grey hair and a black suit. As I’m sure you can guess, these are not the type to dillydally until nightfall. On the other hand, I’ve played events that don’t allow me to sleep until the sun starts rearing its obnoxiously-bright head to remind my body I shouldn’t be sleeping right now. Sometimes I go to bed the same time as you, and sometimes I’m having my evening chamomile tea while you’re having your morning coffee.

Would I Do It All Again?

Definitely. Say what you want about having a lousy sleep schedule and being unaware of the potential state of my financial future, I’ve killed every working citizen’s mortal enemy – boredom. I’m always having fun at work.

I’m the bringer of slow music for newly weds, I’m the guy who’s got the dubstep for the kids to dance to and I’m the heathen who just turned your quiet bar into a lively event that’ll leave your ears ringing until Tuesday.

I’m the DJ.

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