It’s 2002 and it’s all about Newport! I’m about to apply for a dream job, gain my favourite residency in Newport and meet a very difficult woman, which wasn’t Claire during our move into the family home.
Before moving into the house in September, there was almost one last twist to local living, well local living from my perspective. An advert was posted for a producer at Galaxy 102 in Newcastle. Claire from the neighbouring City of Sunderland would be closer to her parents and I would get a paid job in radio. We headed up North for the interview. It seemed to be a nice conversation. I was even given a guided tour. If they hadn’t already had their ideal candidate in mind, then I probably might have blown it by looking like a bit of a fan boy. Outside of my degree in Broadcasting, I had no knowledge of systems and processes that would be required. I may have thought that I would receive all training. The message was clear, you need solid practical experience and a degree to break into radio. I was under qualified.
If this year was an episode of friends, the one with the dodgy assistant manager. DJ Lamsie was back in town, literally. On Market Street was Quids Inn (later just Quids). I’d been covering Ray on a Friday night and they were looking to make a change to their Saturday. I was the change they wanted. They had ideas for crazy drinks offers that needed the dj behind the bar with a radio mic. My best buddie Steve, who had been learning from me and djing alongside me in recent years, coming to private parties when I worked for Chris King Disco’s mentioned in previous blogs took over the technical side in the dj box.
And what a DJ box. I’m an old romantic. I believe in a nightclub the DJ should be front and centre. That’s not to say that it’s a team effort because it is, from cleaners to security to managers and bar staff it must all work to make it special. This dj box with its huge speakers either side and base bins on the floor allowed me to see the whole club. I was in love. I never understood in later years the DJ box was moved down to the only decent sized dancefloor. I only raise this as this was about to be a ‘thing’ for me in 2013.
Steve and I would shoot into town on a Saturday afternoon, head to Quids and move the furniture around. We wanted it to look different every time. Nuts!
Then the sting in the tail. A few months in, the manager mention that the club was to open on a Sunday in a few weeks. The question: Would I rotate with Ray. The answer: Yes. I was able to make this decision as Claire was on a rare night out and was with me. Quite the reverse. Claire had a rough ride in the early stages of our relationship as Chris King Disco’s were very demanding. Claire was always very accommodating. Claire gave her consent immediately. After midnight, the assistant manager came to see me and told me what I already knew, but added a new line. It was to start that day with me. I had a date with Claire planned. I politely asked if we could delay a week, or at least as Ray to take week one. Her attitude was, ‘if you can’t work Sunday, why are you bothering tonight’. I was shocked. Where did that line come from? Keeping my cool, I went to see the manager and told him what happened. He had the same line! I went back up to see Claire and we were in shock. After 15 minutes I decided to leave, there and then. Going against my feelings and my passion for professionalism, I packed up my kit, put one of their CD’s and walked. It hurt… my work was incomplete and for that reason alone this venue now owed me.
The Floorfiller: Not necessarily my favourite, but one that I’ve used (or seen used) to pack a dancefloor.
DJ Sammy ‘Heaven’.
Originally written and produced by Bryan Adams. In a clever move, DJ Sammy kickstarted his music career by taking much loved rock anthems, and in this case a ballad and giving it a huge beat. A cover of Don Henley’s ‘The boys of summer’ was to be his third single.
Could have easily been, Las Ketchup – ‘The Ketchup song’, Elvis vs JXL – ‘ A little less conversation’ or Christina Aguilera featuring Redman – ‘Dirrty’
The Twister: This is a song from that year which I normally wouldn’t have fallen in love with, but I did.
Justin Timberlake – ‘Like I love you’
From earlier blogs in this series you may remember that I have a (un?)natural suspicion of boybands. NSYC completely passed me by, but you’d have to have been living on another planet not to have heard of Justin Timberlake. His debut single felt like a breath of fresh air to me.
Could have easily been, Eminem – ‘Without me’, Puretone – ‘Addicted to bass’, Red Hot Chilli Peppers – ‘By the way or No Doubt – ‘Hey baby’,
The Clubber: The one song that wanted to get me onto the dancefloor.
Xpress 2 – ‘Lazy.
When you hear Cerys Matthews sing you can hear her beautiful welsh accent. On this track David Byrnes vocals sound, evocatively lazy and I loved it. Such a simple ideal executed with ease.
Could have easily been, Liberty X – ‘Got to have your love’, DJ Aligator – ‘Blow my whistle’, or Scooter – ‘Nessaja’.
The Coolest: This is the tune that I felt was the coolest yet mainstream song of the year.
Nelly – ‘Hot in herre’. (and strangely its spelt correctly)
Chocked full of samples, the version I use breaks in the middle for a chant which would become synonymous with a trip to Ayia Napa in 2015. According to Wikipedia "Hot in Herre" incorporates the hook from go-go performer Chuck Brown's 1979 single "Bustin' Loose", and opens with samples from Neil Young's "There's a World" and Nancy Sinatra's cover of "As Tears Go By".
Could have easily been, Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland – ‘Dilemma’, Ja Rule featuring Ashanti – ‘Always on time’ or Ashanti – ‘Foolish’.
The Radio Tune: The one that take me back to listening to the radio or playing it on my show wherever that has been.
Daniel Bedingfield – ‘Gotta get thru this”.
Apart from being a cracking radio tune, it’s also a nice one to throw in when you’re djing. It usually gives the crowed a genuine, positive ‘oh my god’ moment. The outstanding fact about the making of this is that it was recorded in his bedroom. According to Wikipedia, “The track, along with some others, was recorded in Bedingfield's bedroom with his PC and a microphone, using the music software Reason”.
Could have easily been, Pink – ‘Get the party started’, Lasgo – ‘Something’, Liberty X – ‘Just a little’, Blue – ‘One love’, Kylie Minogue – ‘Love at first sight’ or Girls Aloud – ‘Sound of the underground’.
That’s almost it from 2002. Thanks to Steve for supporting me at Quids for too short a time for our liking. Thanks to Claire for being a bit of a diamond back in the day and helping me find my backbone.
I’d also like to thank the team at Atlantica Café Bar on Market Street for sponsoring this series of blogs as they get ready for a Pride after party on Saturday 26th August.
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