July 2008

Logic (the arch-nemesis of the strip-club industry) dictates that usefulness, practicality, and inexpensiveness are crucial to the survival rate of any new technology. Past fads that have failed usually lack one of these criteria. Virtua Boy. Tamagotchi. Female condoms. We’ve all wasted money on stupid shit, and it is unlikely that consumers will stop doing so in the near future. Horrible technologies usually disappear on their own, leaving nothing but a trail of "Whatever happened to that MiniDisc player?" in their wake. However, this trend has recently been broken by unseen forces of evil whose sole purpose is to anger DJs and increase profits for der Führer, Steve Jobs.

For whatever reason, most likely drugs in the water, the Apple iPod is still around. This angers me greatly, and until I go on a paid-per-article rant about how much it pisses me off, my life will not be complete. (Upon submission of this article, though, I will no longer have a reason to live and will most likely implode, so consider Ray a martyr.)

Because I lack the intellect to add genuine dramatic effect through words, please imagine some really somber background music here (like the kind Dateline uses for that show where they bust pedophiles, or maybe just the 20/20 theme).

iPods. Love them or hate them, sooner or later you will end up hating them. The tequila of tech toys, iPods seem like a good idea until you’re broke, frustrated, and throwing up on a naked stranger.

Let’s take this step-bystep, starting with the basics. Portable music devices are intended to serve as a convenience, and with the evolution of technology, storage and playback have become easier. Cassette tapes became CDs. Walkmans became mp3 players. Napster sold out, and everyone was hunky fucking dory.

Until the iPod came around.

Instead of being able to simply copy and paste an mp3 file into an empty USB drive, the iPod requires use of special iPod software. Enter iTunes, a program intended on "simplifying" the process of transferring music from a hard drive to an iPod and back. Because "Lil Wayne - Lollipop.mp3" on my iPod shows up on my computer’s file browser as "L*@[email protected]%%2Lo29**[email protected]!$.mp#%3," iTunes is required to translate the filename. Seems simple enough, right? Install a program and then be able to play the music I busted my ass to downl...purchase. Cool, I can deal with iTunes...

...until I try to play a fucking file from my C:\MP3\ folder. Why the hell can’t iTunes find the program? Oh, that’s right. I have to manually enter the names of all forty thousand songs on my laptop into the iTunes database. Either that, or use the automatic feature which labels Wombstretcha songs as Wumpscut and somehow gives me fifteen songs named "untitled.mp3."

So let’s review. Instead of plugging in my WalMart mp3 player and pasting my files directly to an empty drive before playing them with any media-player program I choose, I now have the option of renaming all of my files as gibberish, installing Apple software that monopolizes my file extensions on a Windows platform, and taking several unnecessary steps before opening a file that is "unable to play due to digital-rights infringement."

But Ray, how does any of this even relate to strip clubs?

I’m glad you asked. Here’s a typical evening in the life of a modern strip-club DJ: "Hey, DJ, I want to play this song but I don’t know what it’s called and I have it on my iPod."

"Well, I’ll have to unplug my laptop RCA to plug it in."

"But whyyyyy? Cassandra plays her iPod during the day."

"Okay, fine. I’ll shut the club down for ten seconds so you can hear ‘Fuck You Like an Animal’ by Marilyn Manson. You know, I have the actual song on my..."

"Why can’t you just play this? Here. The song is cued up." (Dancer tosses iPod at DJ and walks off.) <BLATANT LIE> "All you have to do is push Play." </BLATANT LIE>

On any other device (CD player, laptop, Zune, etc.), I would turn the volume to max before running it through the mixer. On an iPod, this will cause the speakers to crack, so I have to estimate a mid-volume level. On a laptop, I would have one menu for all of my music files. On an iPod, I have eight submenus and the inability to select any of them with a wet or cold finger. On a computer screen, I would have a constantly backlit timer telling me how much time has elapsed on a song. On an iPod, the backlight darkens after three seconds, forcing me to constantly touch the iScreen to see how long my iTune has been accidentally changing the iVolume, causing the iDiot dancer to yell from onstage.

I understand the opposing point of view. Why would anyone want to dance to one of the thousands of tried-and-tested songs that a DJ is paid to have when they can listen to a poor-quality version of the same song they’ve been listening to all week in their car? Sure, the DJ is a professional player-of-music who possesses a vast amount of technological expertise, but your iPod is pink, marketable, and trendy, just like you.

Crystal is an individual that thrives on being unique. No, not that Crystal, the other one. You’re thinking of the Crystal at DV8. No, now you’re talking about the Crystal from Dolphin. No, not that Crystal; she’s retired. The Crystal with the tats. Yeah, she’s one-of-a-kind, no doubt. And you can see her individualism every time she whips out her pink third-generation iPod.

Dancers, do your DJs a favor and let them play music. Chances are, they’ll refrain from dancing and all will be well. If for whatever reason a DJ doesn’t have the latest Clash-sampling booty jam or the newest "song" by Fergie, just pretend there was music written before 2006 and grit your teeth. Or we can swap jobs.

(click here for more Tales From The DJ Booth)