Going Down Swinging has been in my life for what seems like hundreds of years now. And they’ve all been good years. Writing for them, recording and performing for them, and occasionally DJing has been a consistent source of pleasure in the centuries I have wandered this earth. So I was pleased as punch to be asked again to step behind the decks for the launch of Going Down Swinging 37: a GDS launch held for the first time in the salubrious surrounds of Rokeby Studios in Collingwood.
The venue is lush and massive, dominated by what looks like a skater’s half pipe but which I’m told is called a cyclorama, or an infinity wall for photography. Throughout the night I tell people when greeting them, while motioning to the impressive wall, “I wish I brought my skateboard.” I have never owned a skateboard and never will. But I like the idea of people thinking I do.
Onto this half pipe/cylorama are projected psychedelic images – illustrations from the latest issue by Daniel Gray, put through a CSS blender. These are stunningly beautiful and no doubt rapid portals into another dimension. In a perfect life these images are always on my bedroom walls, always moving, swirling and another dimension is just a couple of steps away. In my actual life these images are the perfect back drop to my dancefloor tonight.
Every soul in the room is blessed by the performances of two wonderful poets tonight, Omar Sakr and Chloe Wilson. Chloe’s work I’m already familiar with and love, and now I’m also a brand new fan of Omar’s.
After the poetry performances I get the ball rolling with Salt-N-Pepa’s ‘Shoop’, the perfect warm-up track to get butts a-shaking, and it does exactly that.
I have brought my laser box tonight, which I take with me everywhere I DJ. The lasers really pop though when used in conjunction with a smoke machine, which I get special permission to use this evening. (After setting off a couple of smoke detectors in the past I now always get special permission.) Unfortunately though because Rokeby Studios is so large and cathedral like, when I activate the smoke it only briefly crosses the path of the lasers before whispering away. This makes me sad inside for a moment, before I drop Naughty by Nature’s ‘Hip Hop Hooray’, which brings me back to my happy place.
My DJ set is interrupted momentarily by a surprise theatre performance excerpt of a play called ‘Bruiser’, which is included in the current issue of GDS. I don’t get to hear much of this to be honest as I’m cueing the next tracks, but the dance floor parts for the duration and the audience are well along for the ride. That’s what I love about fans of Going Down Swinging. They come to the launches to support GDS and they’re ready to party, because that’s what launches are for, but they also come for the performances and give their utmost attention to whoever is gracing the stage.
After the theatrical surprise the dance floor is definitely open for business. The halfpipe is flooded with next dimension portal projections and the punters warm the cockles of this DJ’s heart with some seriously good dancing.
Somebody asks me what tracks are coming up and I honestly reply “I don’t know.” I never really plan my sets, preferring to wing it and see which way the wind blows on any particular evening. I’m not a snobbish DJ and will explore almost any genre, although I do politely decline a request for Beiber at one point. As I often do, I go on a little bit of Magical Mystery Tour through genres spanning banging nineties hip hop, eighties trash, fifties rock’n’roll and straight-up pop music.
The end of the evening comes far too early as it always does with GDS launches and I send the punters home with Drake. After all, wouldn’t everybody like to go home with Drake?
Thanks to our event sponsors: Rokeby Studios, Mismatch Brewing Co, Adelaide Hills Distillery, Hills Cider.
Thanks to all our sponsors for making this edition possible.