Wedding DJ during G20

I rarely dj at weddings anymore. But when I do, it’s in Hamburg during G20. Or as my comedy pal Andreas Weber put it:

„Honey, let’s get married on July 7th 2017“.

– „I’m just hoping we’ll have good weather in Hamburg“.

„Oh, what could possibly go wrong“.

Yeah, would could go wrong? Quite a bit. Here they are:



Registry office closed

The registry office in Altona closed because of vandalism. All weddings cancelled.  Leaving many couples desperate. „Damn it, how are we supposed to remember any other date than 07.07. It’s already engraved in our rings!“ I was also going to a location in Altona, so happy “my” wedding wasn’t cancelled.


Elbchaussee on fire

On Friday, I drove my car from Berlin to Hamburg following the news on the radio. Besides Hamburg being in a state of emergency in general, the only street name, that was mentioned again and again was Altona’s Elbchausseebecause of vandalism, mobs, burning cars and roadblocks. I was going to Elbchaussee. And I got closer and closer to the chaos hoping for the best. While driving, I came up with an entire screenplay starring a retired wedding DJ, returning for one last job: a wedding at Mordor.


Yeah, I chose not to post any pictures of the chaos, but my shots from my wedding’s photo booth. (c) boothbrother


Logistics and overheating

I had planned double time for everything, took the biggest detour around Hamburg centre and made it there safely. I unloaded my car and set up sound and light. Too bad there is an abyss as big as the Mariana Trench between the parking lot and the beach location. I was sweating so much I had to switch bras! The last time that happened was when I was working on a cruise ship on the Amazon! At least it was warm and the forecasted thunderstorms stayed home. I was prepared for a monsoon, carrying rain boots and an outrageous amount of protective plastic wrapping, Christo would have been jealous of. Ingrid, the wedding dj, that got famous for her performances with a wrapped up sound system.


Please don’t burn my car down

After setting up, I drove around and reparked my car in the tiniest side street, like a squirrel hiding its nuts. I thought about putting a sign in my car. „I AM AN ARTIST AND THIS IS A RENTAL CAR“. After the wedding, I prayed it would still be there. It was. I drove between burned down car bodies. It was one hell of a dystopian vision. Speaking of dystopia, I spent the night only 400 m away from the mob demolishing the shopping street in Altona. I thought about sleeping in the car, since I needed it and the sound system the following day for the next wedding. I was so glad nothing happened.


Nope still not showing the vandals. (c)


Poisonous poop at the beach

Because of the heavy rain all week, „balls of fat and feces“ were pushed up from the sewing system and stranded on Elbe beach. My wedding was directly on Elbe beach (with a sand dance floor). It had been closed but thankfully reopened! Three tonne of poisonous scoops were removed! Besides, all of my location’s food and drink suppliers and caterers cancelled so the gastronome did all the shopping by himself. He did a great job!


Cruising with police and Greenpeace

Speaking of water, my wedding party did a harbor boat tour and even had their opening dance onboard. They almost couldn’t board the ship because of the blockades. Also, all cruise ships didn’t ship into Hamburg port and stayed outside at nearby Harburg port. (Hamburg, Harburg. This one letter difference is constantly causing confusion and wrong boardings among tourists. As if the cities were named only to fool outsiders).

The river Elbe was empty like dead water. The only other boats accompanying my wedding party were police boats and Greenpeace protesters (with a giant sculpture of a crying baby Trump on the roof). Talking about great photo ops.




No time to be angry

I had no time to be angry at G20, at the vandals, at the police. At anything. I needed to gather my strength and positivity. I had another wedding to do the next day. As a wedding dj, one gotta be focused and positive, no matter what. I need to fade out politics and criticism and solely function. It might be the 100th wedding for me but it’s the first for my bridal couple. There are no excuses for a wedding dj. It’s important to keep up the excitement. It’s like coming into work on your first day every day, again and again. It did pay off.

We had two dream weddings despite all circumstances. With a beach dance floor. Best weather. And the only thing that burnt was the bonfire. It was my very first wedding at an Elbe location with no neighbors calling the police because of noise pollution. Guess they had worse things to worry about, sadly.





Best thing that happened this weekend? When announcing the throwing of the bride’s bouquet, I asked her who’s allowed to catch. (This is a question I always ask, almost rhetorically, hoping for the one tolerant answer.) The bride yelled „EVERYONE CUZ EHEFÜRALLE!“. (This week, Germany passed the law for same sex marriage).


Ingrid’s racing team

I was so relieved on Sunday. We had two great nights and I could go back to Berlin and return my car without a scratch. On my way to the Autobahn I heard an ambulance. Turns out it wasn’t an ambulance. My rear mirror showed four water cannons speeding towards me. I’ve never seen such tanks before. I stepped on the gas and followed right behind the tanks. I never got out of the city that fast! Because of G20, I put the highest insurance on my rental car. I normally never get insurance. Thankfully I did. Because on my way back to Berlin, I stopped at my brother’s family house in rural Germany and accidentally scratched the wheel rim on the curb big time. Oops. Or as we Germans say “Glück im Unglück” (blessing in disguise), which pretty much describes my entire weekend.



I’m not a real Dj

I’m not a real DJ. In fact, I’m a fake DJ. Just don’t tell anyone, will you?


I just casually wear my headphones to look like a DJ.


Let’s say your profession is a technician. Strangers walk up to you and say „you’re not a real technician“! How would you react?
— „You’re right, I’m not a real technician, I’m actually a hair dresser and you’re the only one who noticed.“

On a somewhat regular basis, party guests tell me (or yell at me) that I am not a „real DJ“. Often, it’s the first thing they do when they enter the club. It’s their version of saying hello. And they don’t even need alcohol for that! And mostly, it’s men. I blew their mind by being a DJane. I don’t get it. It’s 2017. Everyone is a DJ. Everybody has a playlist and an opinion. And thanks to the Internet, everyone now thinks their opinion matters. If there was a DJ university, I would do my PH DJ. Just to show critics my sweet DJ Diploma. But the reasons for being a “fake DJ” are numerous, as I explain later.


„You’re not a real DJ.“
„Right, I am not a real DJ. I am actually a crêpe cook and mistook those turntables for hotplates.“




DJane or Crêpe cook?



  • Someone always hates the DJ.


DJs get much attention. DJs are admired but, at the end of a party, someone always hates the DJ. If Raymond was a DJ, not everyone would love him. No matter how much I I try to please everyone, one person always hates. And since that one person recently found out that this guy at a party, who introduced himself as an artist, is not a „real artist“ and actually works at a coffee shop, and thus is inflating the title for all „real artists“, one becomes a little more cautious and investigative. I get it. Sometimes, people just start yelling, when I don’t immediately play their song.

That is why, whenever someone questions my job (or worse, existence), I don’t get offended. I simply ask them „why?“.
The answers are numerous, diverse, and I swear, not made up:


  1. „You’re not a real DJ because you don’t have LPs“,
    (typically uttered at a party with hundreds of guests, where I play music from gazillion different genres and decades and also respond to song requests for ten hours straight and where a box of LPs, just to prove I’m a „real DJ“, won’t get me far.)
  2. „You’re not a real DJ because you use Tractor, because real DJs don’t use computer programs.“ Yes, and real writers type on a typerwriter and not on a notebook.
  3. „You’re not a real DJ because you just play a playlist, right? Because once I also made a playlist for my grandpa’s birthday party and that party wasn’t good so yours can’t be good either“.
  4. „You’re not a real DJ because you’re using mp3s and I read on Huffington Post that David Guetta once forgot his usb stick and couldn’t dj so you can’t either.“
  5. „You’re not a real DJ but I am. I don’t get why you’re booked tonight and I’m not.“
  6. „You’re not a real DJ because you’re a woman. Where’s your boyfriend, he must be the real DJ.“ (If you’ve seen me on stage, I made an entire comedy bit on this sadly often recurrent accusation. Or is that meant to be a pick up line?)




“Can I offer you another pancake?” © Scandic Hotel Hamburg / Toni Momtschew


  • Being no „real DJ“ has changed the way I work.


I usually assumed a good DJ is someone, who can make a crowd work, a client happy, and a club prosperous – whether it’s LPs, mp3, tractor, female or male, electro or rock.
Nowadays, whenever I meet a client beforehand, I feel I need to say that I don’t have a set playlist. I feel the need to justify why it’s good to be flexible and thus not use LPs.
I feel the need to explain that, as a DJ for private and corporate events, it’s not about forcing my artisan music on the client. It’s about choosing the right song like a journalist choses the right word. And it shouldn’t matter if a journalist writes on paper or online.


(c) Demetri Martin


  • What does a „not real DJ“ do?


Being a DJ often means neglecting the perfect mix, and instead cheer up the nervous maid of honor, who’s about to give her speech.
It’s not about showing off my turntables but showing the host how to use the microphone correctly.
It’s not about playing my music but, in dubio pro festo, play what the people right now on the dance floor would like. Even if it’s I’ve Been Looking For Freedom.
It’s about asking the caterer when the food is ready so I can time the music and speeches.
It’s about clearing the packed dance floor the most gentle way, when the company boss tells me „can you make the party be over in four minutes and not make me look bad?“.




Dj Ingrid: distinguishing between small talk, misogyny and flirting since 2013


  • Guide about how to talk to a DJ (taken from the guide „how to talk to humans“).


Lastly, I want to give you a quick guide about what to say to a DJ other than „are you the dj?“:

  1. Smile, say hello, maybe your name, state your issue politely
  2. Don’t accuse, if you have a question ask neutrally and listen

Guess what, most DJs are kind and social (except those who became hardened misanthropes). We work with some of the most fun resources in the world: music. We love to have a good time.
We like people who give us thumbs up. We like people who say „eh, personally not my music but you’re doing a great job with the crowd. I’m a guest at this party so I don’t expect my music to be played.“ Some will be surprised when DJs answer „personally, not my music either, but that’s not what it’s about here. Cheers!“ If I write my DJ autobiography one day, it’ll be called “Privat hör ich ja was anderes”.


Djing before it was cool (c) my mom