It was the early 90s, dance music was at its most prominent peak since the heyday of disco in the ‘70s. C & C Music Factory, Ace of Bass, Milli Vanilli, Color Me Bad, Roxette, R.E.M., MC Hammer Vanilla Ice, to name a few, riveted the dance floor with powerful beats of house, unique flare of eardrum– popping bass and fresh hard-edged funky Hip-hop. A young new comer named Mariah Carey had just been introduced and offered a distinctive vocals that would later make her the undisputed true Queen of Pop.
Sa local scene naman, Pinoy Rock was having a resurgence never before seen in the Philippine Music Industry; Eraserheads, Yano, Rizal Underground, River Maya, Orient Pearl, Siakol, Parokya ni Edgar and a few others ruled the airwaves and made rebels of my generation (should give you a clue of the author’s age). A new local music genre was also born, the Pinoy Rap. Dito sumikat si Francis M, Andrew E at Michael V. At that time, I never thought that Michael V would eventually outlast the other two in terms of popularity – he was far third!
Syempre, di nawawala ang mga balladeers, minsan mga metal rockers pa,” More than Words”(The Extreme), “Every Rose has its thorns” (Poison), “ I still think about you” (Danger Danger), “It must have been love”( Roxette), Sometimes love just ain’t enough (Patty Smith) at marami pa.
The new wave hits of the 80s were slowly being buried from the foreground of the consciousness of the 80s man.
The job of a disc jockey entails a lot of hard work and sacrifice and is not limited to making pa- cute on the air; in most cases, a DJ’s responsibility involves looking around for sponsors and advertisers . This is usually the tougher part. You write letters, you call on companies, visit local politicians, anywhere and anyone who can add to the station’s coffer. Madugo rin ang rating’s game, so don’t be surprised when somebody knocks on your door and gives you cans of sardines and a few kilos of rice in exchange for a few hours of changing that radio dial, pagganito, usually a survey is about to be conducted in your area. Malaki kasing factor kung maipakita mo sa mga advertisers at cyempre sa boss mo na rin that your are topping the surveys.
This was my first job, paid my tuition fees, and still a source of pride to this day. This story is loosely based on that episode of my life.
“Pare, graveyard ka raw mamaya, sabi ni PD(Program Director)”, DJ Mike told John. “Ok, Dude. No problem, best job in the world”, John smiled softly and nodded.
“ Made na ba sales target mo for the month?,” DJ Mike asked, while turning over the playlist ( a list of songs to play) to John.
“One more account dude, mukhang mababayaran ko na tuition fee ko.”, John answered with a proud gleam in his eyes.
“Good! At least masaya pasok ng bagong taon sa atin.You will be on board at 9pm, medyo malungkot dito mamya, pero have a good time pare.”
“Thanks dude, John offered DJ mike a li’l fist bump, which he willingly obliged.
Ito nga pala, a note from a school mate, cute ang nagbigay nito kanina , nahihiyang lapitan ka, number one fan mo ata. DJ Mike handed the piece of paper neatly folded inside an open envelop. “Di ko binasa yan, so sealed in freshness pa rin”, DJ Mike smiled and disappeared through the door.
Hi! My name is Hazel! I’ve been listening to your radio show for some time. At sobrang tuwa ko when I learned that we go to the same school. I asked around kung may nakakakilala sa iyo sa mga friends ko, swerte naman at meron nga, so I guess, you could consider me a certified John Q stalker. Call this a poem, or a silly girl’s love note, whatever, but I wrote this piece to someone who’s inspired me all this time…YOU!
The warm, soft sun exploded into rays of gold and silver,
As my heart squinted to your brilliance like a wild flower.
On the same bench, 730 am, once again, I waited for you to walk by
A dose of addiction, a daily obsession, a tiny perversion – a silent cry.
This was my little sanctuary of worship, my safe retreat, my aches’ den;
A shrine where I shouted your name daily from the voice of my pen.
A cocktail of mystery and fascination you are to me;
A glorious experience to a dreary day.
I don’t mind being inebriated with you each time;
In my foolish heart, it is only you I find
But how can I get a campus deity like you to look my way?
Would you trudge the path of mere mortals like me?
Would you listen to a silly damsel, ever?
Why don’t you just puncture this heart with a piece of dagger!
So, I will always be here waiting, thinking, wishing, consoling …
Maybe this is not the time for me;
Maybe my time will never come.
Yet I shall smile, even laugh at this my folly
knowing from a distant that you are happy and gay.
John Q smiled and neatly folded the note. As the music faded, he began to speak on the microphone just a few inches from his mouth. “ Guys, I just received the most beautiful note from a girl named Hazel, I don’t know you personally girl, but I just want you to know that you are a natural lyricist and you just made this poor radio jock proud…this next song goes out to you Hazel, see you soon… still listening to DWKR-FM, my name is John Q driving you home safely with nothing but only the coolest love songs of today and the years gone by. Happy New Year, everyone!”
John Q played a Chad Borja song , “Ikaw lang” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bn-no3E7fkA.
The phone rang.
“Hi Mr.DJ! This is Hazel. Are you trying to kill me? Yan pa pinatugtog mo. ”
John laughed, “Hi Haze! Thanks for the note. I’m just wondering , are you always this sweet?”
“This one and only time, I guess, para mapansin mo naman ako, di ko na kasi ma-take ang pang-iisnub mo sa akin sa campus”, Hazel answered back.
John chuckled, putting down the headset near the console, “You are funny … so, meet tayo bukas sa school, libre kita ng siopao at mami.”
“Thanks for the invitation, but as of now, I’d rather stay in your shadows, baka hihimatayin ako pagnakausap kita in person, nakakahiya yun”
“Ok, ganito na lang, promise mo sa akin that you’d call me bukas, same time dito sa station.”
“ That I can promise you! I just want you to know DJ John Q, you just made me the happiest girl in town.”
“Masyado mo na yata akong binobola girl, marunong din pala kayo nyan?” ,more laughs from both of them.
“So, may boyfriend ka na ba?”, John delivered the chestnut query as harmless , as sweet as he could.
“I’m 17, pero alam mo, ikaw ang gusto kong maging first boyfriend.”
“Ang babaw naman ata ng standard mo Haze”, John tried to solicit more laughs.
Hazel let out a sigh, “if you only knew John…if you only knew…”
“Hoy, you are flattering me na ha, sige I’d deviate from this playlist I have, anong gusto mong song, I’d play another one for you.”
“Roxette’s Fading like a Flowe?r”
“Nice choice, just wait for it.”
“I love you John Q. Bye”
“I love you too, Ms. Hazel.”
“My best feature, my smile. Everyone says”, Hazel said coddling closer to John, feeling the faint breeze against her face.
“Nope, your smile is just a little icing on the entire cake. You are simply a beauty beyond belief!Period!” John quipped, gazing over out the open sea.
“Sige ka, if you keep making bola, hahanaphanapin ko yan.”
“That is actually the original idea behind it, para ma-miss mo ako”.
Kinurot ni Hazel is John sa may tagiliran, “eh ano ngayon kung sabihin ko sa iyo na lagi nga kitang nami-miss? “
“hmm… then I could die in peace knowing that a lovely girl like you actually cared.”
“haaay naku! Hindi ka ba talaga titigil, di mo pa nga ako nililigawan, eh”. She had the most beautiful , vibrant smile, further enhanced by her deep, brown pensive eyes.
“Hey! Last time I checked, It was you who made ligaw, kaya sinagot na kita”, John Q said while trying to fix a curl of Hazel’s hair mussed by the breeze.
“Waaaaaaah ! Sige na nga, so are we or are we not ?”, Hazel asked as her face shone, accentuated by two little dimples that made her face glimmer like the sea before them.
John looked into her eyes, full of adoration slowly inching closer to her face, Hazel shut her eyes waiting for those lips to touch hers, and when they did, she instinctively pulled him even closer. ..her first kiss: frightening, magical, indescribable.
The kiss lasted for a moment, followed by an awkward silence then they both simultaneously erupted in a burst of laughter; they held hands and enjoyed the sheer joy of being young and in love.
“Ganun pala yun?”, Hazel coyly said.
“That would be peanuts to what I I’m going to teach you in the coming days”, a mischievous grin
“Ah, ganun!”, wide-eyed Hazel gave John got the pinch of his life. More laughters as they frolic on the beach.
It wasn’t her looks that lured him in; he came across many attractive women in his work as radio jock. It was her humility, intensity and free spirit. She was different from all the women he’s had…
(To be continued)