t’s 2003 and I’m sure it was Meatloaf that sang about two out of three not being bad. My part time job at Legal & General had turned into a career, I was a functioning self-employed DJ, but not doing any radio. Thank you, Mr Loaf, but my two out of three seemed very very good.
I’m not sure whether it’s a government conspiracy, a want to conform to societal norms, or if it’s just about following in your parent’s footsteps, but in 2003 I was adulting correctly. I’d gone full time at Legal & General in 2001. An opportunity had come about to transfer to their web support team. Taking calls was interspersed with answering emails of ‘Live Chat’ enquiries about financial services products featured on the website. The web support team was ‘age diverse’ and showed me how a spread of youth and experience could really benefit a team. It’s very much like that at Newport City Radio today.
Claire and I were living together in a 3-bedroom terraced house with a garden and a cat. We were also working together in the same department where we were the golden children of our time. Claire successfully applied to become a team manager and 6 months later I followed suit. I was gutted to leave the web support team, but it would only be for a brief period. At this point our combined income would have been around £42,000. That’s a lot of money.
DJ Lamsie, my cd playing alter ego, had also settled. With the burning injustice of Quids Inn behind me I ended up at, what would appear on paper (or screen in this case) a strange venue for my talents… The Carpenters!
The current owners felt that this rock bar as it was prior to 2003, and as it is now, needed to be more mainstream. My mate Steve was djing the Saturday night, I took on the Friday. This was probably one of the simplest gigs I’ve had. It was in complete contrast to Quids Inn where I felt like one of the management team. I was just to show up, play, get paid and go. Our friends became pub regulars and it was a lot of fun.
The pub suited the mood of music in the UK. Dance music was on the wane. RnB was beginning to dominate with Jay Z and Kanye on the one side and Justin Timberlake and Beyonce on the other. The one thing I was aware of at that time was the sexualization of music videos. I’d never had time to follow music tv channels but as a fully subscribed customer of Virgin Media we’d often have them on in the background. I’d always been on the side of political correctness. The growth in RnB seemed to at least expect men to wear as little as women but this felt like a race to the bottom.. I didn’t know what to make of all this. Probably still haven’t formed an opinion.
So what are my five big tunes that sum up 2003?
The Floorfiller: Not necessarily my favourite, but one that I’ve used (or seen used) to pack a dancefloor.
Benny Benassi presents the Biz – ‘Satisfaction’.
Picking up on the last point the video was in the risky category, as was the single cover artwork. Putting that to one side this tune is a still a banger. That robotic chant... “Push me and then just touch me, till I can get my satisfaction”. Repetative, simple but effective.
Could have easily been, Room 5 featuring Oliver Cheetham - ‘Make luv’, Junior Senior – ‘Move your feet’, Kevin Lyttle – ‘Turn me on’, Ultrabeat – ‘Pretty green eyes’, or XTM and Dj Chucky presents Annia – ‘Fly on the wings of love’.
The Twister: This is a song from that year which I normally wouldn’t have fallen in love with, but I did.
Electric 6 – ‘Danger! High Voltage’.
The debut single from this oddball group. It almost missed my taste in music as I almost found it too ludicrous. According to Wikipedia, “Jack White of The White Stripes performed the secondary lead vocals on the track. Members of the band have claimed in interviews that the singer was an auto mechanic named John S. O'Leary and not White, although music critics suspected this name was a pseudonym for White”.
Could have easily been, Evanescence – ‘Bring me to life’, Eminen – ‘Lose yourself’, The Darkness – ‘I believe in a thing called love’,
The Clubber: The one song that wanted to get me onto the dancefloor.
Wayne Wonder – ‘No letting go’
Taken from Wikipedia, “According to Wayne Wonder, the song is about a girl that he once knew but he doesn't mention her name. He said in an interview with MTV in 2003 "I just wrote this song [about a girl] without calling her name in the song because she always said to me, 'You are always [calling] these other girls' names.' I said, 'I don’t have to call your name, I'll just write a song and you can appreciate it”.
Fatman Scoop – ‘Be faithful’, Lumidee – ‘Never leave you (Uh oooh, Uh oooh)’, or Tomcraft – Loneliness’ or Sugababes – ‘Hole in the head’.
Could have easily been,
The Coolest: This is the tune that I felt was the coolest yet mainstream song of the year.
Blu Cantrell – ‘Breathe’.
A perfect combination, Blu Cantrell and Sean Paul, and I don’t say that very often. According to Wikipedia, it was "originally recorded for the Bittersweet album without Sean Paul, but his vocals were added for the single release. The song uses a slightly altered instrumental of Dr. Dre's 1999 song "What's the Difference" featuring Eminem and Xzibit, which in turn revolved around a sample from Charles Aznavour's 1966 song "Parce Que Tu Crois”, Phew, that’s one hell of a mash up
Could have easily been, 50 Cent – ‘In da club’, Beyonce – ‘Crazy in love’, R Kelly – ‘Ignition’, Jay-Z featuring Beyonce – ’03 Bonnie and Clyde’, or Sean Paul – ‘Get busy’ or ‘Like Glue’.
The Radio Tune: The one that take me back to listening to the radio or playing it on my show wherever that has been.
Outkast– ‘Hey, Ya!’.
One big happy clappy track that makes you just want to sing. According to Wikipedia it’s “a song written and produced by André 3000 for his 2003 album The Love Below, part of the hip hop duo OutKast's double album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. "Hey Ya!" takes influence from funk, rap and rock music. Its music video features a live performance by a band, all eight of whose members are played by André 3000, that mimics the Beatles' 1964 performance on The Ed Sullivan Show.”
Could have easily been, The Black Eyed Peas – ‘Where is the love?’, Jamelia – ‘Superstar’, Justin Timberlake – ‘Cry me a river’ and ‘Rock your body’ or Rachel Stevens – ‘Sweet dreams my LA ex’.
That’s almost it from 2003. Big love to my team of friends then and now, Nic, Vickie, Dave and Steve. Love you guys.
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.
See all 119 videos on our You Tube Channel: