Last Night I Was Furious!

I am not known for my bad temper, in fact generally speaking I am have a problem getting angry. Last night however, I stormed up to the DJ at the Hyatt, Baku and told him “your music is fucking shit! I’m leaving. Fuck off!” I then walked out of the building, leaving Sandra and the rest of the crowd, there for an early Xmas dinner and walked for half an hour across town to our home, trying to calm down…

Very generously, Sandra’s school pays for all the teachers and their partners to have a pre-Xmas get-together at the splendid Baku Hyatt hotel. The evening started off well enough with many teachers meeting at our apartment for a drink, then soon after 8pm, we taxied over to the hotel where an excellent buffet meal was waiting for us. As we entered the ballroom, hardcore dance music was belting out from the speakers as the resident DJ, oblivious that we were there to eat a meal and were for the most part well over forty years of age.

Head down, headphones and baseball cap on his head, he nodded rhythmically, ignoring what was going on around him. As was sat down to eat, he gradually increased the volume making speaking and digestion impossible… Sandra got a cheer from everyone when she asked him to turn his shit down, which generously he did, swapping the playlist to something approaching dinner jazz…

So far so good. The meal ended, Sandra pulled me on to the dance floor and we started to dance with everybody else. We were back to boom, boom, boom, boom dance beats. Not musically interesting but by now everyone was on their feet, feeling the music.

Then it happened. This wonderful DJ, who thought he was doing such a great job, decided to show us who was boss by trashing the last sixty years of popular music, grinding up and mashing together a string of hits. Eight bars of Glenn Miller’s Opus One and Pennsylvania 6500 were followed by a snippet of Bill Haley’s Rock Around The Clock and Let’s Twist Again by Chubby Checker. All of the music was heavily processed so the beats were in exactly the same time, the phrases were endlessly looped and overlayed by a booming back-beat.

He probably thought he was being ironic, or possibly sarcastic towards all these “old” people [no doubt everyone over the age of 25]. It was as if he was saying to us “so you think you know what music is? Well, I can take any music you like, from any decade, eviscerate and turn it into my music”. It was as if he was saying “any music made before I started being a DJ is shit.”

I am a musician. I love some music from every decade. I can enjoy good, hard-core dance music as much as any eighteen year old but what that guy did was murder. There was no humour, respect, creativity. It was his way of showing disrespect. I flipped my lid and walked out…

By the time I got home, I had calmed down and could see the funny side. Sandra arrived in a car just as I got to the apartment. Everyone in the vehicle thought the same as me. The DJ was an asshole and had driven everyone away from a otherwise excellent event.

I felt vindicated but at the same time a little sad that someone who has the power to make or break an evening has so little understanding of music, its history, its significance, its beauty.

About stevehollier

Steve Hollier is the editor of AZ Magazine, an English language lifestyle magazine based in Baku, Azerbaijan. He began his career working for a firm of stockbrokers in the City of London then went on to attend the University of Essex where he was awarded an MA in Sociology in 1984. After a career in arts and cultural development work, he became a freelance arts consultant, writer and photographer.
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8 Responses to Last Night I Was Furious!

  1. hugh paxton says:

    It’s Christmas, Steve. And you just met the prize turkey.

  2. julia says:

    I would have been furious too. I hope you complained to the Management on your way out, telling them to never book that fool DJ again.
    He was having a private rebellion whilst being paid to do so: he might be considered ‘the hottest thing in Baku’ but it would be enough to make me cross that Hyatt off my to-visit list.
    I always go up and complain about overloud volumes; cinemas are the worst. I take earplugs for every trip to the cinema these days. The Hereford Manager knows me now, and turns down the volume as he sees me stomp towards him, glowering. I once got a lot of back-chat about how the audience absorb sound, so I pointed out that the auditorium (“Listening space”) was only a quarter-full; so reduce the volume to one-quarter. I get applause from people when I come back in, as we can then watch a movie we can all hear clearly, without wincing in pain.
    For an event, it’s always better to book a band: the music will not hurt (well, ok, “The Who” will hurt) and the band look as though they are enjoying playing. The Sound Man will strive to create the perfect balance. Sullen DJs? No thanks.
    Bravo for getting angry! Next time assemble a delegation to Management, then they will have to give marching orders to the sullen little tyke! That’s what delegating is all about!

    All best wishes from Julia

  3. stevehollier says:

    Thank you Hugh and Julia.
    The strange thing is, when I do have just cause to complain, I usually do the British thing, grinding my teeth and suffereing fools gladly. This time however, the little arse went too far!
    I did actually send an e-mail of complaint to the management of the Hyatt before I went to bed last night. I ment I slept soundly!

  4. hugh paxton says:

    The theme remains the same. We went to a Jim Thompson Sale today and the music was SHITE! First Niggaaa gangster rap then some Yanks singing over worked Christmas carols in ostentatious warbling voices! No!

    This wasn’t music!

    It was ear ache.

    And here this air pollution was blasting away while I was looking at some of the most sophisticated silk designs in Thailand!

    I didn’t tell anyone to fuck off and I didn’t have a fight.

    Annabel said ‘this music’s crappy’ and I gave a fatherly kiss.

    Then we just fucked off.

    Here endeth the rant!



  5. stevehollier says:

    Dear Mr Hollier,

    Warm greetings from Hyatt Hotels Baku.

    I am pleased to hear that you enjoyed your Chirstmas dinner and would like to thank you very much for the charming words regarding the hotel and the catering.
    Receiving positive feedback is always an extremely pleasant feeling and will serve as a source of inspiration for all of us to achieve the highest standard of hospitality excellence
    In regards to the DJ playing music that night, we will have a further look and investigate on your comment. Allow us a time frame of 2-3 days so we can talk to the people involved and get back to you with a detailed answer.

    One more time, Mr Hollier, thank you very much for taking the time to share this feedback with us.

    Kind regards,

    Armando Waser
    Duty Manager
    Hyatt Hotels Baku

  6. Hugh Paxton says:

    Charming words?

    Spin city!


  7. stevehollier says:

    Indeed, Hugh. Possibly weasle words but I appreciate the gesture. Let us see what results…

  8. D-Bam says:

    Hi Steve,
    I am a DJ .. and despite being over 40 years old, I do enjoy Hard Dance music as do many other my age I know, so it’s aga has nothing to do with Musical taste.

    However, I also like other Genres of music, and, as any half decent DJ knows, you are there to enterain your audience, and gauging what the majority want to listen to is a much an integral part of DJ ‘ing as mixing.

    In addition, what kind of venue would book a Hardstyle DJ to play while people were sitting down to a Xmas meal lol? Sounds like poor management to me, and I have experienced this personally when I was booked at the last minute for a venue, with the manager fully aware that I was a Dance / House DJ.

    I queried the guy booking me as to the approprioateness of my style for his expected crowd, and was assure that “they will love it “.

    The venue turned out to be an audience of over 50’s who far from loving it, wanted to remove my body parts.

    Lucky, instict and previous experience had taught me to have back up tunes for all types, so I escaped relatively unharmed at the end of the night.

    Morale of the story, although the DJ sounds like he a complete moron, whoever booked him in the first place has to shoulder the responsibility as well, and rather than you feeling you had to leave, the Management should have been approached there and then by the paying customers if they were in agreement his style was inappropriate, (no matter the crowd, not everyone will like the same music, and there is nothing worse than a vocal minority insisting on telling the DJ what he should be playing when everyone else has no issue with it) and he / she should have taken action.

    Hope you enjoy the rest of your Xmas


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