It’s a rare DJ that can transform an exhausted, ridiculously sleep-deprived Michelle in an overcrowded club full of Singaporeans into, well, a happy Michelle, so I guess DJ Jazzy Jeff (yes, Will’s friend in Fresh Prince of Bel-Air who kept going over to the house, annoying Mr Banks and getting physically thrown out) must be one of those DJs.
Before he came on, I was ready to kill. I was annoyed at overdressed people, yet annoyed at myself at the same time for giving in and dressing fractionally better than I would have for a London club (where you could walk in wearing a clown suit and the most anyone would say is “Love the baggy trousers, mate”). I was annoyed at the stupid level of crowding in Phuture, and at incredibly rude people who pushed past others way too violently, or literally just leaned on the people behind them to force them to give way. (Big Bald White Guy, this means you. You’re an asshole, and I just wish I’d elbowed you in your spine a lot harder than I did.)
In the crush of the crowds, I remembered how Russ always managed to protect me, dance behind me without ever hitting me, and look good dancing, all at the same time, and I remembered how far away Russ is now. I remembered Nick and Vish gangsta’ing it up on the empty dancefloor of a Glasgow student union bar, not caring how ridiculous they looked. I remembered trudging painfully up the Ramsay Hall stairs with Gareth in daylight, vowing futilely never to club again and knowing this scenario would repeat itself in the near and irresponsible future.
I felt constrained by the atmosphere of the club, very much a place where people go with people, and don’t tend to strike up random conversations with strangers, and again felt annoyed with myself at the same time for letting them affect me. Coincidentally, the only stranger who struck up a conversation with me the whole night was from England. Go figure. To be fair to the club, and my fellow Singaporeans, I was probably mostly just pissed off because it wasn’t London.
Then Jazzy Jeff came on, and all my acrimony melted away into happy flailing and perspiration. Great selection of material ranging from the obligatory to the obscure, pretty damn inspired treatment of well-known samples and recent hip-pop either through mixing or scratching, some moments of total weirdness like when he played Smells Like Teen Spirit, and always on the right side of the fine line between turntable mastery and turntable wankery. I must admit that his decision to tempt us with the intro of Sound Of Da Police but never actually give us the track frustrated me dreadfully, but maybe everyone else except me is tired of it.
I snapped back into perspective. I was with great company, friends no less dear to me than the ones I’ve left behind. I was witnessing one of the best live mix sets I’ve ever seen. I had a wonderful boyfriend to talk to on the phone when I got back later that night. In England I gained everything and lost nothing. I mustn’t forget to keep focusing on what I gained. I mustn’t forget that I have lost none of that just by having to be somewhere else for a few years.