I began messing about with vinyl in 1988 when I was 14 at the school youth club and from there started buying records when I could. This progressed to me and my mate, Woody, teaching ourselves how to mix on a really ropey belt driven set up in Woodys bedroom. My break came when I was working as a barman at a nightclub called The Kirk. It was a student night, the dance floor was empty and the club manager was at the end of the bar with his head in his hands complaining that the atmosphere was flat. I told him, jokingly, that I had a box of records in the boot of my car that would fill the dance floor. The joke backfired when he told me to go and get them! Passing the outgoing DJ on the stairs was a bit awkward but that’s the way it goes I guess.
I ended up as the resident DJ for the student nights which became really popular with regular full houses. Towards the end of my time at the Kirk I did the Friday and Saturday nights as well. From working at the Kirk I picked up other job offers including one off guest slots at North East venues such as the After Dark at Sunderland, The Venue at Spennymoor and even the Grangetown rave! One of my most memorable gigs though was as resident DJ at The Barn in Marske. It was a makeshift all night club in a barn that even had chickens in it during the week to prove to the authorities that it was actually a barn. This lasted for about 6 months before eventually being shut down but left great memories.
This was probably about 1994 and things took a dark turn shortly afterwards. I had a regular gig on a Thursday night in a bar in Middlesbrough and had gone to the Empire afterwards parking my car nearby. When I came out when the club shut someone had put a brick through my back car window and stolen 4 flight cases of vinyl. I was devastated. I was due to play the Friday night at the Kirk and the manager at the time gave me a wad of cash to spend on records which got me through and gave me enough to play a set but it was never the same as most of what was stolen could not replaced. After 6 months I spat my dummy out, sold my 1210’s and what vinyl I had left and packed it all in. I did a few nights in bars and café’s when I was a student in Cardiff in the late 1990’s but nothing really serious.
Then a few years later, at a friend’s wedding, the conversation got onto records, music, vinyl etc. This reignited a spark within and my wife suggested that I should get some decks again. It all costs a bit more than it did in the 1990’s but it’s the best thing I have done in ages although the neighbours might not agree. My passion remains rooted in 1990’s piano house, and I spend a lot of time searching the net for replacements for the stolen vinyl gems that I lost, but what I have discovered since getting back into it is there is loads of really good stuff being released now and the Internet makes getting it so easy compared to the old days! My only restriction on genre is does it sound good? Does it give that feeling? Music has really helped me through the lockdowns and I get a load of pleasure from playing it and if people also get pleasure from listening to it then even better…