t’s 2004, I’m going through rapid change, in a rollercoaster of a year. Scream if you want to go faster? No chance, this twelve-month period was pacey enough for my liking.
What an opportunity! A big radio group had decided to test the concept of a radio station in Newport, for Newport. Yes! I’m not sure how we got in contact, but a gentleman called Marc Tierney was heading up this project and he’d offered me the weekend morning show. Amazing! Then I made two fundamental errors. Firstly, I didn’t spend enough time learning the computer system. I kinda thought how hard could it be? I was given a list of songs to play and all I had to do was just let them flow. Every so often though, it’s good to stop the track at the end to talk a little bit. I’d forgotten to ask how to do this! I did eventually get into the swing of it. Beaten by technology, next up was my bright idea to take my long-established radio show and rip it up and start again. I ended up presenting a show that I didn’t know, didn’t understand and didn’t like. Idiot! I think I must have been traumatised as I can’t remember completing the full four weeks.
I’d only been a manager at Legal & General for six months before I was seconded back to the web support team for maternity cover. I’d also be taking on the sales support team. Both teams hadn’t had much management support prior to Kerry taking up her position. She joined as manager, just as I’d left the team. It was felt that both teams needed someone who understood what it was like to do the job (well with web support at least). The web support team had considered themselves as self-managed, not the best, whereas the sales support team felt alienated and a bit of a dumping ground for ill-conceived agreements between L&G and other companies. Basically, if another company wanted different literature sent out that couldn’t be automated in the post room, Sales support would have to manually deal with this. Two distinct problems, one big challenge. I loved it. Listening to staff, finding solutions with them, writing and delivering better training and working with business managers to stop excessive processes helped us turn it around.
The days (or nights) of DJ Lamsie were coming to an end, for the time being at least. I’d never expected to enjoy playing the Carpenters, but as I mentioned in last week’s blog, the pub felt like ours. I’d already learnt that nothing in this industry lasts forever. My new mantra was, DJ every night as if it’s your last. I can’t recall who the manager was in my time at the Carpenters, but I certainly knew when a new one arrived. I can’t put my finger on what the problem was but he didn’t like something about me and that’s fatal. My time at the Carpenters was over.
It was time to take a break, take stock and get ready for the next level of adulthood.
So what are my five big tunes that sum up 2004?
The Floorfiller: Not necessarily my favourite, but one that I’ve used (or seen used) to pack a dancefloor.
Eric Prydz – ‘Call on me’
Using a sample from Stevie Winwoods’ tune ‘Valerie’ I was surprised to learn that the great man re-recorded the vocals especially for this to better match the tempo. This also came with a controversial video set in an aerobics class, which also according to Wikipedia…'The then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair said: "The first time it came on, I nearly fell off my rowing machine.”'
Could have easily been, Boogie Pimps – ‘Somebody to love’, Deep Dish – ‘Flashdance’ or Special D – ‘Come with me’.
The Twister: This is a song from that year which I normally wouldn’t have fallen in love with, but I did.
3 of a kind – ‘Babycakes’.
Have you ever had a song that you used to listen to loads and then after hearing it for many years, your brain has decided to make an alternate version? This is the story of ‘Babycakes’. Somehow my mad head had cleaned up the vocals and upped the tempo! I guess this brings a whole new meaning to the twister category.
Could have easily been, Michael Andrews featuring Gary Jules – ‘Mad world’, The Streets – ‘Dry your eyes’, D12 – ‘My Band’, or Ice Cube – ‘You can do it’.
The Clubber: The one song that wanted to get me onto the dancefloor.
Shapeshifters - 'Lola's Theme'.
Probably one on my top ten favourite dance tracks. I was fortunate to get my hands on a copy of this six months before it became a hit. This also switched me on to mixing with CDs. I’d play the remix of this and then blend in Eric Prydz ‘Call on me’ and then Michael Gray – ‘The weekend’ like a proper DJ.
Could have easily been, LMC VS U2 – ‘Take me to the clouds above’, Michael Gray – “The weekend” or Sean Paul – ‘I’m still in love with you’,
The Coolest: This is the tune that I felt was the coolest yet mainstream song of the year.
Kelis – ‘Trick me’.
Ok, you could argue that ‘Milkshake’ was cooler, but it was a little too cheesy for me. Trick me is what it is. Kelis drawing a line in the sand… “You trick me one, you’re not gonna trick me twice.” Much better than boys coming to the yard in my opinion.
Could have easily been, Kelis – ‘Milkshake’, Usher – ‘Burn’, Cassidy featuring R Kelly – ‘Hotel’, Khia – ‘My neck, my back (lick it)’ Twista -Sunshine’ Franz Ferdinand – ‘Take me out’ or J-Kwon – ‘Tipsy’.
The Radio Tune: The one that take me back to listening to the radio or playing it on my show wherever that has been.
The Rasmus – ‘In the shadows’.
Another tune that had me hooked from the start. It has a kind of warning siren at the start that then gives way to a light vocal before letting rip in the chorus. The perfect indie rock anthem. According to Wikipedia… “In the Shadows is a song by Finnish alternative rock band The Rasmus. The single achieved considerable chart success… including the United Kingdom, where it reached No. 3, and New Zealand, where it topped the chart.”
Could have easily been, Anastacia – ‘Left outide alone’, Britney Spears – ‘Toxic’, Maroon 5 – ‘This love’, Girls Aloud – ‘Love machine’, Christina Milian, ‘Dip it low’ or JoJo – ‘Leave (Get out)’.
That’s almost it from 2004. I’d like to thank Mark Tierney for inviting me to be part of Newport FM and my web and sales support team at Legal & General for trusting in me to make things better.
I’d also like to thank the team at Atlantica Café Bar on Market Street for sponsoring this series of blogs. They have Britain’s Got Talent star Philip Green as part of a Pride Cymru after party on Saturday 26th August.
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