Friday, September 22, 2006

No Sleep Till Ranst

Some time ago, Butsenzeller had to deejay the afterparty on Gyprock, a festival organised by the Chiro (local youth movement) in Ranst, Belgium. One of his bands, Traktor, also happened to be the headliner on this festival, so he had to run from his drumstool to the decks. Enter the Kafka-esque Ranst police department.

It was a fine party with everybody going nuts, but a at a given moment the police did a bust, clearly intending to ruin the party. Within moments, there was a big hassle, with one guy hanging around the back of one cop, trying to keep him from getting on the stage. But Butsenzeller -being the conscentious professional that he is- was totally focused on his deejaying and didn't notice anything until another cop was standing right in front of him, loudly demanding his ID card. Butsenzeller turned the volume down and said to the cop that he was only doing his job (a cheap excuse mostly made by the police itself). But there was no way Butsenzeller was going to hand over his ID card just like that ; instead he said that any complaint about noise -or 'sound pollution', as the law puts it- was the responsibility of the organiser. The latter had to provide a decibel meter preventing the deejay from playing too loud. So the cops went to the backstage in search of someone responsible. In the meantime Butsenzeller put the volume back where it belonged and spinned the Beastie Boy's 'You Gotta Fight For Your Right (To Party)' which was chanted along by everyone in the audience. In the end -because it was almost 3 AM (the official closing time of the party)- the cops left the party going on for another 20 minutes, but they asked to do it a bit more quietly. This should have been the end of the story but of course, it wasn't.

DJ Butsenzeller @ Gentse Feesten

A few months later, Butsenzeller received a phone call from the Gyprock organiser, who almost begged him to come forward with his real name because the local police of Ranst actually threatened this poor youngster that he would never be allowed to organise anything ever again, if they didn't receive an official statement by the 'deejay in charge' pronto. Boots felt sorry for the hapless organiser so he called back to the local police, only to end up on an answering machine. So he left a message, giving his real name and a phone number where they could reach him. He got a message back on his own voicemail several times, mostly on unholy hours like 7 or 8 am. It turned out that the local police department was only open until 11 AM (criminals must enjoy temselves very much in Ranst every afternoon). Being a musician and therefore mostly working at night, he always heard the messages way too late to get back to them before closing time. The cop who left the messages sounded more nervous every time and finally gave Butsenzeller an ultimatum: this was his last chance to call back, otherwise they would put out a national search warrant for his 'misdemeanour'. What else could he do than call them before going to bed? So he did, first of all telling the cop that he didn't feel like getting a threat like that, when no crime was actually committed. The officer calmed down after that and asked for an appointment, because all they really needed was an official statement op paper. Bootsie naturally didn't feel like going to Ranst before 11 AM to oblige. So he bragged around about his busy schedule and asked the police officer if he could go to his nearest police station for the statement instead. This he was graciously allowed to do and they made an appointment at 4 PM.There, an officer eagerly wrote down (yes, with a ballpoint!) the statement and finally excused himself for taking Butsenzeller's time.

Of course the case was closed by this final act of red tape and he never heard from them again. And there was another edition of Gyprock a year later.

Being as conscientious as Butsenzeller himself, we did a little check on this story and the police of Ranst have since changed their business hours so deejays and other criminals be aware!

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