This is an episode from a few years ago, but I thought I’d post it, now I can find some humour in it.
An email to my agent……
”The ‘gig’ in ‘Moscow’ on Saturday was probably the worst experience I’ve had in my dj career, and because I’ve suffered, you can too by hearing the long story.
I was picked up, after my 2 flights from Valencia, at Moscow airport late, as is the norm in Russia, by a friend of the promoter Mikhail. As we flew along the motorway at 40mph in his Nissan ‘Steptoe’ I dropped into conversation (as is my habit now) ..’So we’re off to ..(hotel on itinerary) then?’
‘No, the venue’s been changed. It’s now 3 hours outside Moscow and you’ll be staying at the venue. We must now drive into Moscow to meet the van and the other djs and you’ll then drive directly to the site.
‘Site?!, What? no hotel? No shower? I’ve been travelling since 4am and I’m not playing till 2am, I need to get some rest!’
‘Oh you can rest in your room at the campsite – you’ll sleep better in the countryside, the air is dirty in Moscow’
‘Not in The Marriott it’s not’
I did some quick maths and figured that’s like someone flying me to London only to tell me the gig had been changed to Leeds!!
Que medium sized kick off by ATFC.
We met Mikhail on the side of the Moscow M5. He introduced himself and asked me to call him Mickey. I got the feeling that whether or not I called him it, he’d certainly be taking it.
So, I landed at 4pm in Moscow and we finally arrived at the site at 9.30pm. Mikhail, me and 7 other dj’s from Israel.
I can only describe it as a Soviet Centreparks in the forest…except without the big glass dome, staff, restaurants, swimming pools or other world renowned Centreparks facilities. BTW it was pissing down but I can’t blame anyone for that one.
We were shown to our wooden hut in which there were 4 bedrooms and a communal bathroom. I counted 8 dj’s. I pointed this out to Mikhail and he told me that we would have to tag team into pairs.
Que another medium sized kick off by ATFC.
Bare in mind the other dj’s were together and when I asked them if they thought it was acceptable they told me that it was their 1st international booking and didn’t know what to expect. How I’d love to see them bumping chests and high fiving each other when their next promoter books them into an Ibis.
Needless to say I slid into a room backwards and shut the door. Now, if you’ve ever seen the inside of a beach hut it was pretty much identical but it was a pleasant surprise to find a sheet, duvet cover, pillow covers and blanket all ready to be arranged – all I had to do next was switch on the electric filament and, bob’s ya uncle, I had heat!
I could hear Mikhail in the bathroom… ‘Oh good you’ve got hot water’.
I warmed to him slightly when he said he was off to get a load of food and drink for us. ‘Can you bring back some towels, toilet paper, shower gel and mosquito spray, if there is some, aswell please?’ I shouted after him. (The mosquitos were the biggest I’ve ever seen in all my travels, but I can’t blame anyone for that)
I sat on my bed with my head in my hands for an hour or so but something finally cheered me up.
‘Here’s your provisions guys, relax and help yourself’ Mikhail called in.
If there’s anything that’s going to actually make me laugh about this whole thing in future it’s the sight I saw when I came out of my bedroom – the ‘provisions’ that Mikhail had left on the table.
A couple of toilet rolls, a case of Tuborg and a fucking tin of ‘Roses’.
So it was about 11pm by now and I thought I’d try and sleep my way through this nightmare. Mikhail told me he’d come and knock 20 mins before my set at 2am.
I tried to sleep but it was a little like trying to take 40 winks in the Ministry…or pissing in the wind.
The sound system had obviously arrived and I quickly worked out I was in a room adjecent to the hard house, trance, and Russian Pop field.
My windows were literally shaking in their frames. The ‘Roses’ sugar high couldn’t have helped either.
I nearly drifted off dreaming of furry boots and glo-sticks but the sporadic and disturbing sound of gunfire kept me awake.
I began to feel quite attached to my little wooden hut that protected me from the wet wild west outside.
I listened through about 15 dj’s sets from 3 different stages, with 3 records playing at any one time – Highlights for me were, an insane 140 bpm hard house version of the Can-Can, a toe-curling euro-trance remix of Shania Twain and some frankly horrible Russian pop and all the time needing sleep but aware that the knock could come at any time soon. The most worrying thing though was the distinct lack of House Music to be heard. I envisaged Mikhail dragging me half asleep and pushing me onto the Russian Pop stage in front of the massive adoring crowds I could so clearly hear.
I set my alarm for 1.30.
2pm came – nothing. Shall I put my ear plugs in? Hmm I won’t hear the door.
No, I lay in limbo for a couple more hours until I must have passed out.
At 6.30 there was a knock on the door. A chipper looking Mikhail was standing in the hallway with a photographer snapping away behind him. Obviously hoping to get some candid shots of a buffed ATFC leaving his ‘chalet’ with bags and headphones in hand.
‘Can you get ready Aydin? It’s time for work!’ he quipped ‘We’ve moved your set time to 7-8’
‘Are you refusing t…?’
I didn’t get much more sleep after that. Not knowing whether my refusal would prompt him to leave me to find my own way back to Moscow. We’d not been told times of pick-up and everyone had different flight times from different airports.
Well, I’m on the plane now and he did at least come through on that, but I really suggest you wipe this guy from your contacts.
I do apologise for the long email but it’s been a form of therapy – I hope you understand.
The only physical scars are the mosquito bites which have swollen to the size of…well, Moscovite Mosquitos (Moscovitos)
The mental ones will take longer to disappear.