(No, not the movie.  That kicks ass)
Trainspotting is the term for looking over the DJ’s shoulder to see what he’s playing.
It’s really fucking irritating.
It wasn’t a problem when everyone spun vinyl.
But now we are in the MP3 age and damn near every DJ uses a laptop.
Apparently some people would prefer to look at my computer screen
Instead of dancing, drinking, and having fun. Which makes no sense.
Sometimes I’m in a booth where no one is behind me, so it’s not a problem.
But lots of times I DJ in areas that are more open,
Or have people hanging out in the booth (like friends of owners or promoters)
Other DJs will do it from time to time, even though it’s a known faux pas
They might want to know what song/remix I’m playing so they can get it.
Or they might want to gaze upon the impeccable organization of my music folders.
But they don’t want to actually ask me anything and fear being seen as an inferior DJ
I get that.  But I don’t get when random customers come up and start doing it.
What’s the point?
Are you excited that you will know the next song 10 seconds before everyone else does?
Are you going to really remember the name of the song and download it tomorrow?
Are you going to make some suggestions? (Here’s a suggestion – Don’t.)
You don’t look over the shoulder of a painter or writer or, hell, even an accountant.
You wouldn’t want someone looking over your shoulder at work, would you?
Especially with the amount of time you spend playing minesweeper in your cubicle.


16 Responses to “trainspotting”

  1. March 2, 2011 at 10:40 PM

    haha why dont you just ignore it though?

  2. 2 Anonymous
    March 2, 2011 at 11:31 PM

    I think Serato has a plugin to black out song titles…

    Or you could, you know, stop being a lazy piece of shit and DJ with Vinyl or CDJs.

    • March 3, 2011 at 11:12 AM

      Dear Anonymous. Thanks for the awesome feedback. I will stop being a lazy piece of shit. Starting….NOW.
      Yea, Serato has an AM mode that blacks out song titles. If you don’t know, here it is – http://www.djtechtools.com/2010/02/11/bored-with-serato-well-dont-be/

    • 4 Anonymous
      February 28, 2013 at 6:20 PM

      dear anonymous, seeing as nearly every dj uses serato with cdjs or vinyl ,you have just proved your worth by spouting off shit you clearly dont understand.i bet if i put a pair of cdjs in front of you,you wouldnt know how to turn the fuckers on.
      next time if you would like to comment,please do so on a topic you half understand.music or dj’ing isnt one of them
      good day

  3. 5 Alex
    March 3, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    What do you think of people asking you the name of a song?

  4. 6 Brian
    March 5, 2011 at 1:11 AM

    I don’t mind when people do this… i do this to other DJ’s also sometimes but only when i’m curious to the remix of the song there playing it to. But usually i just ask when i see they’re not busy, nothing wrong with that i dont think?

  5. 7 Mr.Sm1Lez
    March 6, 2011 at 9:43 AM

    Do what I do, I DJ entirely on cds, but keep my laptop open to have itunes as a backup (just in case a cd skips or something crashes) I usually keep solitaire open so that when people look they get confused, or occasionally I’ll open notepad and in big letters type “STOP LOOKING AT MY FUCKING LAPTOP”.

  6. March 14, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    Here’s an unfortunate conversation I had last Friday with a young female coworker while spinning at my agency’s happy hour. Realness.

    HER: I didn’t know you DJ too.
    ME: Yep. 10 years.
    HER: I love music.
    ME: Yeah. A lot of people do. It’s a good thing to love.
    HER: Hey, do you have [such-and-such]?
    ME: No, actually I don’t. Anything else you wanna hear?
    HER: What do you have?
    ME: Uh…a whole laptop filled with a million songs. That, by the way, is the worst thing you can ask a DJ.
    HER: Oh. Do you have Girl Talk?
    ME: Yeah, but I’m not gonna play someone else’s mix CD. I can play some mashups though.
    HER: Hmm. Nah. Do you have [such-and-such]?
    ME: No. Never heard of her. How about this — email me the song and I’ll play it. I’m hooked up to the internet.
    HER: Okay. Wait– it’s on my home computer.
    ME: Okay. Email it to me later and I’ll play it next time.
    HER: No, I want you to play it now!
    ME: Look, I’m busy. I’m trying to beatmatch right now. Just email me the song.
    HER: Can I give you the YouTube link?
    ME: And then what, you want me to rip it while I’m spinning and then play the mp3?
    HER: Yeah.
    ME: No.

  7. March 21, 2011 at 9:51 PM

    Yeah, it sucks that people have to go and ‘leech’ of the backs of people who have good taste, but really, is it that big of a deal? Are you going to cry that when the some unsavoury characters discover your super-secret, interesting and quality track selection, which will be of detriment to your future of DJ’ing because you feel it’s the only thing of value that you have to offer, or are you going to say ‘FOCKEM: I’M DA MO’FOKKEN BOSS HERE RUNNIN DIS FOKKEN SHOW, BASK IN MY EXCELLENCE FOR YOU COULD NEVER HOPE TO ATTAIN WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE RIGHT NOW!!!’

  8. March 22, 2011 at 10:31 AM

    Anyone who wants to can see my “secret weapon” tracks or ask about them, I tell them. It’s flattering. Confidence means you don’t give a shit. Insecurity means the opposite. Because by the time that kid finds, downloads, and plays that same track out, I’ll be on to the next great tracks their punk asses will be asking about next time.

  9. 11 kwirk
    April 1, 2011 at 8:46 AM

    “It wasn’t a problem when everyone spun vinyl.”

    Not true…trainspotting’s been around as long as DJing has. DJs used to cover up their labels with stickers and fake labels back in the day…

  10. May 7, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    I’ve had folks do this to me. I don’t like it. A woman was doing this to me and then started requesting me to a group I really hated.

  11. 13 philldafunk the dj
    May 11, 2011 at 7:57 PM

    You ever get a person put their phone to the speaker? Soundhound/shazam, those are the best!

  12. 14 pghdjmarty
    March 21, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    I have found a way to get back at these people. While you’re djing, if at all possible, watch that same person throughout the course of the night. If they get a text, go over and start to read it over their shoulder. If they ask what you’re doing, answer simply “I just thought we were sharing our information tonight as you were looking over my shoulder earlier”. They will usually say something like “I just wanted to know the name of the song” to which I reply “you could have just asked me the name of the song”. I do not have a problem with anyone asking me the name of a song or what remix something is, but don’t hover over me like a buzzard over a carcass.

  13. 15 Dj PhilyQ
    January 15, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    I know I get other Dj’s trying to look at songs I’m playing, but because I use serato I use the “AM” trick to hide my track names. That way no one can see what I’m playing!

  14. 16 aytakk
    March 18, 2013 at 2:25 AM

    I don’t care if people see what I’m playing. I post setlists online most of the time anyway. But I agree its much more polite to ask than be a lookie lou.

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