AN OPEN LETTER TO ANYONE THAT CARES ABOUT THE DJ CULTURE IN JACKSONVILLE FLORIDA.

1. Simply playing a list of songs from your iTunes collection will never be satisfactory, ever. It could only be the least informed of venue owners that would ever pay someone to do that. If that’s the case, for a one time fee, I will assemble a playlist for you that will really kick ass. It will consist of the same songs that you already play so that your clients don’t get upset by hearing something new, also maintaining their status as an uninformed consumer.

2. iPod playlist. Two iPods and a mixer. One iPod in a mixer that lets you play tracks on two channels. Let me break this down for you: You can’t deejay with only one iPod, ever. With two iPods and a mixer, you can do some stuff, but, it’s not really the optimal set up. On the mixer that lets you play tracks on two channels from one iPod, there’s potential there. Usually those machines afford options such as pitch control and cueing, so maybe you’re starting to meet a bare minimum as far as deejaying goes, but most of the guys that I have seen using this rig just sit there and play preprogrammed lists while getting blowjobs from 17 year olds.

3. Turntables, CDJ’s, and laptops. You have to remember that deejaying was a product of the discotheque and hip hop cultures. Turntable craft was definitely perfected in the hip hop culture. Both were very diverse. If you watch things like Style Wars, Beat Street, Krush Groove, you’ll see what I mean exactly. We now have the means to replicate every thing that you could do with two turntables and a mixer with specially designed cd players, time encoded vinyl, mp3’s and software. It becomes a matter of skill and practice at this point. Any deejay with access to such things especially if the venue provides them, should be perfecting their art every chance that they get. Anyone can play songs back to back with little to no crossfading or segueway. Really. Anyone. Don’t be the deejay that does something that anyone can do. You won’t be a deejay for long, if you are.

4. You only play want you want to play. That’s fine, dick. It’s not bad if you happen to have stellar taste in music that is appropriate to what the venue wants and what the crowd wants. You do have a responsibility to play things relevant to the enjoyment of your audience. You’re rocking a fucking party, not masturbating over your music collection.

5. You always only play what the crowd wants to hear. So you’re a tool? Fuck you too. What in the fuck does the CROWD know about music that you don’t? You’re supposed to keep up with trends and more than that, introduce new ideas to the dance floor, even if that means playing things that are old but never got a fair shake. All you are doing is creating uninformed consumers who insist that you play the same songs, not because they are good songs, but because they don’t know any better, and they don’t know any better because you taught them this behavior. Nice and recursive, isn’t it?

Summarily: Don’t be a fucking jukebox. Use the right tools for the job. Get your skills up. Don’t be a dick. Don’t be a tool. Don’t create an anticulture of people that don’t know shit about music. Always play what you love. Always respect your audience and your venue. Stay current. Stay relevant.

You know who I like? The whole hip hop hell crew. Paten Locke and all of his crew, Ruff Rob, Basic, and such. Darrel Duke. Nick Fresh. Free. Comic. Blaze. Just saying.

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INTROSPECTION.

I was recently asked a few questions regarding my thoughts and beliefs on Aikido. The result of which was that I felt the need to write out, at length, a personal account of what has been going on in my head this entire time. By that I mean, how I even got into Martial Arts, and what has been on my mind when I’m training, and when I’m not training. I want to share with you Part Four of my Introspection. Please read at your own discretion. These are my own highly personal thoughts, and I have no intention of defending them to anyone. Discussion on my thoughts, all day long.

Part Four: Maybe I’m not good enough for Aikido.

I have met some very convincing Aikidoka. By that I mean I found something so remarkable about them, that I wanted to somehow emulate that quality in myself. At such times, I feel like a wannabe. I have to look at other people doing things that I wish I was doing, and I have to look from the outside in. It’s entirely awkward, because I have so much, if not too much regard for my own autonomy. That’s a statement I make against the higher powers that be. I’m so sick of the fact that for some reason, a person that has “only done Martial Arts for 20 years” has little if nothing to say in matters, since the 50, 60, and 70 year olds have laid down the law. At times I find it dehumanizing. I have to withdraw my concern for anything that they do, and work on my own shit. Yet, I still have so much respect for the fact that they are there, authentically as such. I don’t envy them, and I would not trade places with them, I just find that the power and respect differential in the culture of Martial Arts hierarchy to be disturbing at times. Still, I think about Ueshiba, and what he must have went through in his life to provide what has been almost the singular activity in my life that I love completely. Aikido has hard standards that I find unbearable at times. Whether it’s just learning and training the waza, the techniques, or the reading, the studying, the protocol, the culture…all of it, at times, drives me insane. I refer to this as being in the state of having a “fried brain.” My little brain can’t take it at times. So many times, I have thrown my black belt, hakama, weapons, gi, what have you, under the bed, in a closet somewhere, and just left it alone. At least I would try to. It calls to me. It says, “Autrelle. Autrelle. Au-trelllllllle…hey. Psst. Psssssst. Pssssssst. PSSSSSSSSSSST!!!! Remember us, your gear? Come on, come over here, you little guy, you. There you go, pick up the Jo first. Oh yes, YESSSSSS. Remember that feeling? Now the Bokken. Oh yeah. Remember how you used to take us to the parks in the early mornings by the river? You would swing us around, and thrust, and yell in such a fantastic manner with each stroke! Just take us out for some air. No one has to know. It will be our secret. You don’t even have to wear the gi, today. Just take us out for some air…”

I swear to you, this really happens. My fucking weapons talk to me. So I give in, I oblige them. Just for that day. And the next. Then, dammit, a month has gone by, and over lunch, my weapons and I will be having a conversation:

Jo: Hey Autrelle, you know what we haven’t done in a looooong time?

Me: Don’t start…

Bokken: Oh! Jo, I was just going to say that…

Me: Both of you fucking knock it off, I’m not in the mood.

Jo: But Autrelllllllllllle!!!! Come on!!!! It’s so much fun!

Bokken: You know you want to. You KNOW you want to.

Me:: Fuck both of you. You both make me fucking sick, and I should turn you each into firewood.

Bokken: YOU WOULDN’T!

Jo: He joking, Bokken. He loves us. He’s just pissed because we’re reminding that he’s not doing what he really loves, and this is his way of lashing out. It’s not about us. Don’t be so sensitive.

Bokken: Well, what do you think? We could go see Dee and the guys there, go old school? Maybe Leo in Orange Park, catch up on, you know, the federation you’re a part of. Oh! Or James! He always sends you messages and invites to train. And we all know how badly you want to train with Perry…

Me: Seriously, fucking quit it. Just knock it off.

Jo: (Stares at me) You’re being a bitch right now.

Bokken: (Winks at me, bats lashes, pouts) Please Autrelle, please??? Just take some ukemi. You love that the most, you know that.

Me: (Sulking) Fine. If it will make you two happy, fine. Fine.

At this point, the weapons exchange a knowing glance at each other. They know that they have me. It’s sad really. I feel at times that I can barely live up the the ideas of inanimate pieces of wood. My Aiki-Psychosis has given them a voice that berates me for not training when I try to back off of it for a bit. They provide encouragement and support for what I want to do, even when I don’t feel like doing it, or I feel like no one cares at all. It’s wonderful. At times, it’s all I need.

HEY, HEY, HEY! UPDATES.

I have had a LOT of downloads for the Draft 5 copy of the AJNM.  I have had little feedback.  Just so you know, I’m looking for ANY sort of feedback: constructive, corrections, suggestions, help of any sort.  The last thing I’m looking for is a pat on the back, although, they are greatly appreciated.  I did take some posed photos today with my friend Mackensey.  We did them VERY fast, VERY early this morning, but I think that they will suffice to illustrate some basic points.  Since there was only two of us, I showcased the Jo Kamae, 20 Jo Suburi, 31 Jo Kata, and the 13 Jo Kata.  That means that the next draft, which will be 5.1, proper, will have those sections illustrated.  I’m dusting off my layout skills now, so, it may be a few weeks.

Other than that, I’m also gearing up for a Tribe-K seminar this weekend.  Mr. Scott Gray, Head Instructor of the Kodenkan Dojo here in town, has invited Joseph Turner and myself to teach a four hour presentation of various ideas.  I’m going to cover the basics of Kali, and how they relate and transition to empty hand striking and throwing techniques.  Joseph has cooked up a little surprise that I’m not quite ready to let out of the bag just yet.

Lastly, I will be deejaying again this Wednesday at The Eclipse.  If you haven’t been, I would love to see you!

TAKING A SMALL BREAK FROM BUDO.

When I’m not doing Martial Arts, or ranting about something that pisses me off, I have all kinds of fun, all kinds of ways.  One of those ways is deejaying.

SELF DEFENSE CLASS: WE SHALL BARTER.

The one question that I have had the hardest time answering is how much I will charge for classes. i have decided that, in the spirit of wanting to share our diminishing resources, that I will accept barter as the primary unit of payment for classes. So if you are interested in classes, please consider what you are willing to barter per hour of instruction wanted.

Here is a list of individual courses that I currently offer:

Aikido, Taijutsu. The unarmed techniques of Aikido
Aikido, Kenjutsu. The sword techniques of Aikido
Aikido, Jojutsu. The staff techniques of Aikido
Kali. A Filipino martial art that teaches you how to use and protect yourself with any weapon, and also includes empty handed techniques.
jeet Kune Do. A set of principles based on your own personal abilities that draws from several martial arts.
CCQT: Civilian Close Quarter Tactics. A system I developed when I was a member of The Guardian Angels to train the volunteers for safety patrols.

Expect to train outdoors and one on one. Expect to train during the day, with some afternoons/evenings available for a slightly higher barter fee. Sundays all day available for a slightly higher barter fee.

As far as what to barter: Be creative and show my your talents as well. We all have resources and talents at our disposal, and I’m willing to listen to any idea you may have.

Spread the word and let me know.

Cheers!

Autrelle Holland

AMBER’S BLOG

My friend’s blog is an attempt to raise awareness about lupus.  She openly discusses how she deals with it from day to day.  There was no single section that stood out amongst the rest to use as an example: the whole blog is great.  Please check it out.

NEGLIGENT BLOGGING.

I’ll make up for this, I swear.  The book and the New Year have been keeping me busy.  There is a lot to get you all caught up on, so stay tuned.