I met an artist the other day who's does DJ work three nights a week. He told me this while working on a large canvas of Tippi Hedren, the woman nearly frightened (and pecked) to death in Hitchock's The Birds. This artist applies the normal brushstroke to fill in the features of the painting, then uses a second, dry brush to give a kind of smudge effect that makes it look somehow as though there's a blur to the picture. Intriguing.
I don't know that I've met many DJs in my time. It always strikes me as a rather odd job, but plainly it requires a great deal more skill than I've given it credit for. You have to be quite a technician as well as a bit of a showman. So, strike that off the list of possible jobs for me in my retirement.
However, DJs sometimes go beyond their technical skill and musical ability. Take this extract for instance, in which Alexis Petridis is discussing Stockhausen's last but previously unperformed opera, which can only be said to bizarre in a multitude of ways:
Radio 1 DJ Nihal Arthanayake has been cast in the role that Stockhausen intended for himself: interviewing the participants – players and pilots alike – after the Helikopter-Streichquartet, and hosting an audience question-and-answer session. "There's no context as to why they would have approached me," Arthanayake says. "I mean, I've seen an opera before, but I'll tell you how shandy an opera that was: it had Dawn French in it. To be honest, I didn't stop to ask them why, just in case they thought, 'Oh, we've got the wrong fella.' I thought, 'Oh God, it's gonna be one of those things where you're DJing dubstep and a big woman comes out and starts singing over the top of it' – but then Graham started talking about string quartets and helicopters. I don't think I've ever been in a meeting for an hour and half and been so dazzled and confused and inspired.