You think it’s easy, I bet, to flip tunes in a plaza, to feed music to the jigsaw of a department store, to sit back in a high-backed leather chair, feet up on the console, nothing to do but scan the masses for quakes and nuances, accenting the mood, heightening the tension, deepening the calm. You’re wrong as roses at a funeral. Yeah, there are musicians, the guys with their lips on the reeds, their fingers on the strings, who have to play it live, make it up sometimes, if they have the skill. They’ve got it tougher from a certain point of view, having to improvise or create right out of their heads, but then it’s all there for them, right there in their heads and fingers. Me, I’ve got to reach across, pull it off the shelf. That means I’ve got to know it’s there, grab it, open it, slap it on, sometimes in seconds, before the moment’s gone, the anger dropped, the hysteria choked off before it builds.
People complain, you know, if you mess it up, take too long, miss the spark. You can lose your job.
A lot of spinners don’t even spin, store it on drives, ride the keyboard. Me, I prefer the old ways, the old tools. Keeps me in touch with the past, the ancestors, the guys who gave it all to us, the source. I like to interact with the medium, hold those old discs in my hand. Click. Slide. Swish. Slap. Click. Slide. Click.
You’ve gotta have a memory. You’ve gotta be quick. Quick thinking. Quick hands.
You don’t get much exercise at this job, so I run. Where I run depends on my taste that day. There’s this guy down at Haglin, handles the whole park. Cello in a booth with three monitors. Good if you wanna be alone with your thoughts. Not much happens at Haglin. He keeps it that way, enhances the lack of action. It’s peaceful.
If I want to get tense, I go to the track. They’ve got three guys there, each with a section. They’ve got nothing on me. I handle a whole department store, all twelve floors, a pipe for each department. I’ve got about fifty screens to watch and a player for each screen. They’re country folk next to me, but they’ve got style. One guy even built up a riot. Man, that was a blast. Got my nose broken. That’s living like they used to back when they still knew how.
(c) 2006 Mark Penny