Sunday, August 4, 2013

How to Referee, Part One

I was shooting pool and drinking beer with some friends, a bunch of guys I hung out with pretty regularly about twenty years ago. The bar had a juke box, and all night the guys were feeding it dollars and blasting out heavy metal - Queensryche, Def Leppard, AC/DC, Mötley Crüe, Zep - pretty much exactly what you'd expect from a bunch of suburban white guys in their twenties.

There were like six or seven us, and we were by far the largest group in the bar, a little dive stuck in a corner of a commercial park. Most of the other patrons were suburban white guys like us - in fact, the fact that there were only three girls in the place was hard to miss. Most of us were either married or engaged, but - boys being boys - those three girls were still the object of much attention. Pretty much every trip to the bar involved a quick word with the two girls that weren't there with their boyfriends, but they were as distant and as cold as starlight - and looking back at me and my friends, who could blame them, really?

So that was the mood in the place, until I stepped up to the juke box.

Scanning through the catalog of songs, I spotted "Brick House," by The Commodores, and punched up the numbers. Next was Michael Jackson's "P.Y.T." and then a couple more in the same vein. After I was done, I went back to the pool table and continued the game, waiting for my songs to start.

When the bass line from "Brick House" thumped out of the speakers, my friends were none too pleased. This was 'jungle junk' as far as they were concerned. But the effect of the music was hard to miss, even for the most Cro-Magnon among them. Almost instantly all three girls in the bar were groovin' and vibin' - one of the pair at the bar was soon off her bar stool, dancing along to the tunes.

And my friends just stared at me, like I'd discovered some sort of magic key that unlocked the mystery of women. One of the guys sidled up next to me and asked, "Did you plan that?" I smiled and lined up my next shot.

"Know your audience," I replied.


  1. Still... you had to listen to that crappy music.
    Better to go off looking for some women with better taste.

    1. Except I like R&B and funk.

      So it was win-win for me.

    2. OK, me too actually, but pretend for a moment that the girls would have gotten off their stools for nothing else but (music you cannot stand). Surely it's better to find a new audience?

    3. That's a fair point, kg.

      Sometimes it's better to try a different bar.

  2. As someone who is very much a hard rock guy, I will assert that anyone you run into who doesn't like Brick House should probably be subjected to a Detect Undead spell, 'cause they clearly ain't got no soul.

  3. Nice selections.

    Will "Part Two" cover easing your audience out of their comfort zone, a.k.a. stretching them a little?

    1. I honestly have no idea when I'll write a part two. I happened to pass the bar the other day, and it reminded me of the story, so I threw it in here.

      Call it 'one in an occasional series.'

  4. Having dj'd before, I have never understood the fascination some people have with playing music only for themselves when there is a crowd- especially when you want to hook up.
    The same goes for roleplay- never get why some gm's insist on playing a game/scenario/place that the players don't want...

  5. Mighty mighty...

    Also, the GM as DJ analogy has always worked for me.