What a blurrrrrrrr this weekend has been! I just about got to the end of my day without realizing it's my company's 19th Birthday - today! December 19, 1986 was the day I DJd my first event for professional pay. Let me take you back...
I was... 16? Yes, 16. At the time, I owned very little by way of sound equipment, lighting, music or really anything that could be considered business related. I landed this job playing the music for a Christmas party at Mewatta Armourie - one of Calgary's military posts - still used by the reserves for training and recruitment. We were in the Jr. Officer's Mess... up two flights of very steep stairs. I had rented a sound system from a fellow who had it posted in the paper for sale. Crafty me, I talked him in to allowing me to use it "cheap" because I was interested in purchasing the system. He even allowed me to use the music library - in those days recorded on 60 or so 90-minute cassettes... yes, you remember cassettes, don't you? I remember going over to view his system in his parent's basement. He openly admitted - being a geology major at the U - "I can tell you anything you want to know about rocks and dirt, but when it comes to this stuff, you probably know way more than I do... all I know is: you hook it up, it works!" What an ego boost to a 16 year old kid! The party was a blast, but what I remember most about the evening was taking the system home to my parent's place with the intention of staying up all night COPYING the music library! My friend N with whom I was "partners" in this endeavour and I were taking the sound rack down the stairs at my parent's place (about 2AM) and lost our grip on the box, putting a huge dent in the drywall. Is this going to wake anyone up? You betcha. Mom was soon to appear at the head of the stairs... OOPS! N ran off to fetch some late-night snacks while I began the task of ripping off the music! (call a spade, a spade I figure!) Soon back, N was sporting ham and pineapple pizza and egg nog. Excellent!
Staying up all night was profitable. We skimmed the music to get a GOOD 10 tapes worth of material out of the 60-tape set. If I remember correctly, we grossed $99.00 for the dance, paid out $30 for the system rental (like I said, I turned on the charm!) $25 for the case of blank tapes, $15 for pizza and nog and we split the remainder between us... thinking we were making good money!
The first day of a near-20-year career was both fun, new and exciting. Over the years it's been all of that AND a bunch of not-so-good stuff, but over all, satisfying. As for NEXT year, I plan a monster-embarrassing blow-out... and if I can swing it, at the Jr. Officer's Mess at Metwatta. As for the next 20 years? Only the Shadow knows!