Day four: Koenji, or dance like there’s nobody watching
The exit polls were promising. Buoyed by a fun and busy first attempt at re-Britpopping the good people of Tokyo at March’s Do You Remember The First Time, we were confident the second iteration of the club night would go just as well. We spent the day visiting Rudy, Alvin and a human, and burning CDs stuffed with tunes we felt certain the evening’s punters would want to hear.
Fast forward a few hours, and there is one customer in our tiny psychedelic Koenji bolt hole. He is wearing a Screamadelica t-shirt. He is standing by the bar staring at me while I dj. He is from one of Tokyo’s other Britpop club nights. So far, the DYRTFT team outnumber our customer by three to one.
It got better, but not by much. I think at the peak we have nine customers, either standing by the bar or sitting in a ring around the empty dancefloor. The only people to dance were the DJs. The guys who turned up turned up on their own, and watched and listened politely. And Yuki was exhausted, dozing behind the decks, before going outside for some fresh air and sleeping profusely.
Sometimes you just have to embrace disaster and have a good time anyway. I played some tunes I wouldn’t ordinarily get away with, and danced like no one was watching, which they very much were. Fidel, of applicants, turned up and filmed a video of a disturbing tiny doll on the end of a stick. Yulie, a G I R L S regular, turned up with a friend and was enjoyable to chat to about the vagaries of event planning. And the people that came seemed to have a nice time. My only real regret is the gorgeous fanzine we put together not being seen by more people: I’m hopeful that one of Tokyo’s fine record shops will agree to take a few copies. And perhaps the rival Britpop night will take some. They deserve to be read, as all fanzines do.
Miraculously, we made it to nearly eleven before stopping. At this point, our customers were flitting away, our co-DJ Asami had already left, and I was shuttling between DJING to an empty room and checking on Yuki outside. At this point I admitted defeat, grabbing all my stuff and rushing out after Fidel (not his real name) and his friends. They were off to a cassette night at a nearby bar run by a Ride obsessive. We were off home.