Tim Roxborogh on the joys of moaning about your holiday
OE memories of being a highly abused resort DJ
There are few certainties as a human beyond the big established three: death, taxes and the fact that every male on planet Earth claims to have been a DJ at some point in his life. I'm no different and if you've got a spare half an hour and feel like being subjected to some yarns, you might want to start by asking me about that time I DJ-ed a dry wedding.
Needless to say, a tough crowd. But all my years of occasional DJ-ing could never have prepared me for the reality of being the person in charge of filling the dance-floor at the now-deceased Club Med resort on Lindeman Island in the Whitsundays. It was here – in the early part of this decade – that I learned first-hand the connection between being male and an alarming self-belief that you're a professional player of tunes.
I was on the OE during the GFC and I couldn't find a job. Mostly it didn't matter because the first chunk of my much-hyped OE was spent backpacking all through Southeast Asia. Then followed several months of largely fruitless job-hunting in Vancouver, Canada, where it's rumoured I spent as much time playing tennis and singing karaoke as I did perusing the classifieds. At my wits' end and with the savings getting drastically low, I stumbled across an ad to be the DJ at Club Med in the Bahamas. As a sun-loving music fanatic, this seemed too good to be true.
It was. Due to visa requirements, I was ineligible but the good folks at Club Med suggested a plan B: would I be interested in going to the Whitsundays in Australia instead? Indeed, this job would be even better because although I would officially only be the DJ, due to the GFC, they no longer employed a tennis pro, but given my tennis obsession, I could play as much tennis with the guests as I liked.
Tennis in the tropical sun during the day, hot-rocking, flame-throwing spinner of party faves during the steamy nights, I couldn't say no.
Almost a decade on, I look back on those six months as the DJ/tennis guy on that island off the coast of Queensland as one of the most hilarious, most fun, most surreal, most absurd periods of my adulthood. I lost a ton of weight, I made some brilliant friends, I snorkelled the Great Barrier Reef courtesy of a private seaplane, I went bush-walking virtually every day and I learned more than a few lessons about humility and the ups and downs of life along the way.
I also got verbally abused at least twice a week. To which you might conclude I must've been a pretty dreadful DJ. But trust me when I say, I'd rather be abused by a couple of drunk back-of-house, too-cool-for-school staff members about not playing enough electronic music than be ignored by couples and families wanting a wholesome good time.
I also knew that the secret to being a good all-ages DJ is to keep the females happy because if the women are dancing, chances are the blokes are too. So yes, I gave the fans Madonna's Like A Prayer and Whitney Houston's I Wanna Dance With Somebody , but if the mood was right, I also knew when to slip in some cheeky 2Pac or maybe even some rambunctious Rihanna. Not to mention the Bee Gees, Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, John Farnham etc.
If it wasn't occasional threats of violence or mutterings of being bleeping "useless" despite my consistently packed dance-floors (unlike that dry wedding), it was the visible bemusement when I'd refuse the nightly requests of men not wanting mere songs, but to DJ entire sets: "I used to be a DJ back in Dubbo, do you mind if I play for an hour or so?"
Great Barrier Island: 'We don't want any more tourists'
Another favourite piece of criticism was, "Mate, you're out of your depth!" If DJ-ing a tired three-star family resort in the Whitsundays was out of my depth, imagine what was in my depth – a primary school disco in Otumoetai?
Tim Roxborogh hosts Newstalk ZB's Weekend Collective and blogs at RoxboroghReport.com.