Last Night a DJ Saved My Life
You may know him as Glitterbomb DJ Jack but when he isn’t playing Gaga or Britney Spears to a room packed of people, he is responding to emergency calls working as a Paramedic! We spoke to Jack to get to know more about being a DJ as well as working as a paramedic during Coronavirus.
Jack, how are you feeling about the pandemic, and what’s it like experiencing it from the front line?
I think the Pandemic has hit everybody a lot harder than we thought. Myself along with probably a lot of people didn’t think it would actually hit the UK to the scale it has. After lockdown started it really hit home, that we are not invincible, and that we are all actually quite vulnerable. Working on the front line throughout the Pandemic has been tough. Initially, we had struggles with PPE and not knowing what Guidelines to follow as no one knew how to deal with Covid-19. Initially, the service I work for were taking in excess of 8000 calls a day, so you can imagine how busy it has been working on a front line ambulance.
Have you felt scared of catching Covid-19 yourself?
Initially hearing early reports coming out of China I was very blasé. However when it hit the UK I was at times scared. Covid-19 doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t care if you’re young, Old, Black, White, Gay, everyone is at risk. Going to patients initially without the correct PPE, not knowing what guidelines to follow, not knowing anything about Covid-19 all contributed to the stress and anxiety pretty much every healthcare professional has felt throughout this Pandemic.
How did you become a paramedic and how did you get into DJ-ing?
I joined the ambulance service when I was 19 which is five and a half years ago now. I trained up from the bottom all the way to Paramedic with the ambulance service, and I have now been a qualified Paramedic for almost two years.
I used to DJ when I was younger and funnily enough, my very first job was as a DJ for a pool party at my local leisure center for people aged 7 years and up, which was very interesting and eventful (those 7 year olds party hard). I bought some decks a few years ago over the summer due to boredom and slowly started to get back into it. I then sent a message to the Glitterbomb Cambridge Facebook page asking if they want a DJ even though I’d never used professional decks, or even DJ-ed in a bar or nightclub. For some reason, Stephen gave me a chance doing the first 90 minutes of Glitterbomb Cambridge and it just grew from there.
What has your average shift been like over the last few months?
Not too dissimilar to a normal shift prior to Covid-19. I suppose the main difference is at the start of shift we have to check to make sure we have all of the correct PPE for the shift, including, surgical masks, full-body suits, eye protection, and FFP3 full face respirator masks which we use for certain procedures. We also attend every patient wearing some form of PPE at the moment, with the sickest patients requiring full PPE due to the procedures we carry out.
How do you feel the country has dealt with the pandemic?
I think we have certainly shown that if there is a global crisis then the UK’s response to it will be sub-optimal. I think the Government should have done a lot more sooner, and as soon as we knew about what was happening in China, we should have had plans in place in regards to PPE, hospital beds, extra staff etc. But the government aside, I think the majority of people have taken this very seriously and social distancing has until recently been followed. I hope that we all still continue to follow the rules to ensure we get back to a normal way of life.
What would you want to tell people about being a paramedic that would surprise them?
I see a lot of poop. In fact not just poop, but all the bodily fluids, unfortunately. Apart from that being a Paramedic is a wonderful job. We are in such a position of responsibility, to the extent that parents will literally give us their children and trust us immediately without knowing our name, or anything about us. Every shift is different, you never know where you will end up, what patients you will see, what medical conditions you will be treating, and you honestly get to meet some amazing people. I have friends that have been into Buckingham Palace, Downing Street, Celebrities houses. What other job lets you do that?
What anthems do you play in the ambulance?
My playlist recently involves educating my heterosexual colleagues on the importance and significance of Lady Gaga and her absolute banging Chromatica album. But apart from that, it depends on what time of day, and what mood we are feeling. Friday and Saturday nights are normally quite up beat, with weekday mornings being a tad more depressing as I’m normally still thinking about my bed.
When do you think you’ll be back behind the decks?
I honestly have no idea. I would like to think sooner rather than later as I miss it a lot. At the moment, I’m hoping for September/October time.
Your work is giving “last night a DJ saved my life” a whole new meaning. Have you ever found being a paramedic helpful when you are behind the decks?
I suppose working as a paramedic has gotten me very used to dealing with drunk people, which obviously you have to do a lot when behind the decks; (mostly saying ‘ill see what I can do’ when they ask you to play TLC – No Scrubs for the 3rd time). Other than that not really. If anything tends to happen in a nightclub where first aid is needed etc, the security staff and management are always on top of it. If something serious were to happen though I would be more than willing to step up to the mark.
What is the one thing you want everyone to know about being a DJ?
Just because you request The Killers – Mr Brightside 10 times and nag me all night, I will never play it in a gay club!
Would you rather be a full time DJ or full time paramedic?
Tough choice. If I had the opportunity to DJ full time in good bars and clubs where there was an opportunity to progress to bigger clubs etc, then I don’t think I could turn that down. But at the moment I love working as a Paramedic and I love DJ-ing on the side.
You can find Jack on Instagram @jackairdy