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My granddad

Some people are natural born DJs. Wonder how one can tell? Well, a potential DJ just LOVES to share his music with others. He's not just a fan, making someone hear what he likes is a quintessential part of enjoyment for him. He is still be eager to play even if noone actually cares for the music, or even hates it. Another important feature, this process of sharing does never end. Two (three, four, ten) songs are not enough!.. Because if you dig Artist A, you'll most likely get into Artist B (C, D, E), too.

I realised recently that my grandpa Boris was a proto-DJ. If he would have been born some 40 years later, he might have become a pioneer of heterogenous mash-ups, I'm almost sure. His musical taste was very eclectic, though I think it wasn't really a concious choice of his, but something very much influenced by the circumstances. He was collecting vinyl, which was pretty tricky in the soviet times, as the selection in the local record stores was limited mostly to the productions of "Melodiya", the one and only soviet record label. If you were lucky and willing to pay, and also had connections, you could get a hungarian or polish pressings from private (illegal) sellers. Those guys had their own underground network, and would also dub albums from the foreign records to your tape, for money.

Grandpa Boris had his connection, a man called Zhora. He would spend his Sundays at Zhora's, coming back home in the evening with a tape or two. Good quality cassettes were pretty expensive, too, by the way. And so not being a Rotschild, Grandpa Boris wouldn't record whole albums, instead he would carefully listen to all the new arrivals to Zhora's collection and then select three or four songs he particularly liked and dub them to his tape. So in the end he would fill both sides of the cassette with the best of what was available. It could start with soviet underground singers-songwriters, to be followed by the hippest west german disco like Boney M or Chilly, then you would hear some hungarian tango, a gypsy orchestra from a russian cabaret in Paris, then The Barry Sisters, and then some obscure stand-up comedian delievering dirty jokes. He would play that really loud on his JVC-Biphonic until either my mother or grandmother would scream "Mercy! Turn it off NOW! I can't listen to this shit anymore!!!"

When I was three, I wasn't into toy cars or tin soldiers, I wanted to play with pot caps, pretending this was my tape recorder. Now, almost 40 years later, I have to confess - it hasn't changed much since then. By the way, do you want to hear this awesome song I've just discovered today?..

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