t’s 2006: from Legal & General to Afan FM and Valleys Radio, from Newport to Egypt via Ibiza, from househusband to resident DJ, FM radio presenter and sales bloke. Did my alter-go, DJ Lamsie, go from zero to hero? You can decide, as I went on a bit of a blinder!
As you probably know from my previous blogs, I loved working at Legal & General. During 2005 and 2006 I had departed from my role as Web and Sales support manager. I’d like to think that both teams improved for my leadership. The new role was more project-based, but still involved team management. We were piloting a new level of financial advice called Basic Advice, an initiative from the Blair Labour government. The project was completed within a year, and at the same time, Claire and I had grown tired of the two-hour trip home on a Friday afternoon and felt that we’d achieved everything as far as that level of management was concerned. It was time to leave.
The summer of 2006 was the best. With money in the bank, I enjoyed some time off. If you know me well, you know that means time on. I’d found out about another government initiative called Community Radio. I’d spotted that there was one of these in Afan and Port Talbot. I went to their makeshift studio in Aberavon Leisure Centre on the beach front (such an amazing location). I found out that a studio doesn’t have to look slick, it just needs to be functional. I was also reminded that radio was my true path.
The blows from RAW 104 and Newport FM were not fatal. They were surface wounds that were healing. I came up with a plan. I needed to know how the business of radio worked. In October, I successfully applied for the role of Sales Executive at Valleys Radio. Based in Ebbw Vale, Valleys Radio was owned by one of the big commercial radio companies, the Wireless Group. This seemed to be a large step down the career ladder, but it was a big move forward in my radio ambitions.
DJ Lamsie was also back. I had decided that retirement was not for me, and Claire didn’t seem to disagree. My old mate, DJ Mad Andy, was doing his thing every night in the Greyhound, but looking for cover for Thursday and Sunday nights so he could have some time off with his family. As well as that, the Banc in Maindee was looking for a new weekend DJ. Then came the icing on my DJ Cake…
Steve Collis mentioned that he wanted to go back to Ibiza. He was looking for a chilled-out holiday and wanted to show me what San Antonio had to offer. Just a week before my planned holiday to Egypt with Claire, I was on a plane. San Antonio Bay was to be my home for the next 7 days. As soon as we arrived it was clear that this was going to be full on. Steve had a friend DJ-ing in some of the smaller clubs in San Antonio town, and suddenly we were on the VIP list. In the bay our local pub, Buccaneros, was being run in its entirety by a very nice girl. Steve offered our services. Steve could help on the bar and DJ in-between, and I could take the reins of the DJ box for a couple of hours. Not quite an Ibiza DJ in its proper context, but still, DJ Lamsie could add this to his CV and list of bragging rights.
So what are my five big tunes that sum up 2006?
The Floorfiller: Not necessarily my favourite, but one that I’ve used (or seen used) to pack a dancefloor.
Fedde Le Grand – ‘Put Your Hands Up For Detroit’.
As a DJ, I always despair when the young-un’s come back from Ibiza thinking they understand the new language of dance music. Firstly, there is an assumption that biggest europop anthem will sound great on a rainy night in a pub in Newport… probably not. The next error is because they’ve learnt the current year's term for the genre they’ve become more knowledgeable than you. I’ve lived through trip-hop house, tropical house and in 2006 it was electro house… and I was the young-un’ who went banging on about it. This track was at the forefront of this year’s wave of dance music, or whatever new label it may have.
Could have easily been: Infernal – ‘From Paris to Berlin’, Cascada – ‘Every Time We Touch’, Rogue Traders – ‘Voodoo Child’, Bob Sinclar and Cutie B – ‘Rock This Party (Everybody Dance Now)’ or Beatfreakz – ‘Somebody’s Watching Me’.
The Twister: This is a song from that year which I normally wouldn’t have fallen in love with, but I did.
The Kooks – ‘Naïve’.
For me, one of the strongest years for guitar-based pop. This time around it came from a multitude of nationalities so it couldn’t really be seen as the second coming of Britpop. The Kooks were formed in Brighton with singer Luke Pritchard on vocals. The line, “she knows, I know, I’m not fond of asking,’ had me hooked. Amazingly catchy.
Could have easily been: Gnarls Barkley – ‘Crazy’, The Feeling – ‘Sewn’, Orson – ‘No Tomorrow’, Lily Allen – ‘Smile’, Razorlight – ‘In The Morning’, My Chemical Romance – ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’, The Killers – ‘When You Were Young’ or The Kooks – ‘She Moves in Her Own Way’.
The Clubber: The one song that wanted to get me onto the dancefloor.
David Guetta vs. The Egg – ‘Love Don’t Let Me Go (Walking Away)’.
Oh Mr Guetta! In recent years I’ve found myself liking one track, then not being fond of the next, and then loving the following one. It didn’t start that way. This one and ‘Baby When the Lights’, ‘Love Is Gone’ and ‘Just a Little More Love’ were all clubbers for me.
Could have easily been: Armand Van Helden - ‘My My My’, Bodyrox feat. Luciana – ‘Yeah Yeah’, Booty Luv – ‘Boogie 2nite’, The Fratellis – ‘Chelsea Dagger’ or Paul Oakenfold feat. Brittany Murphy – ‘Faster Kill Pussycat’.
The Coolest: This is the tune that I felt was the coolest yet mainstream song of the year.
Chicane feat. Tom Jones – ‘Stoned In Love’.
What were Chicane thinking? I don’t really care, as this felt like a moment of genius. Dance producer meets vocal legend. The Welsh connection doesn’t end there. According to Wikipedia:
“Having written the song, Bracegirdle was looking for a singer able to reach a high pitch in vocal range, without having to resort to falsetto. According to Bracegirdle, his initial candidates were Jones, James Dean Bradfield and Kelly Jones — all Welshmen. Jones has stated that he had never heard of Chicane before being approached with the song, but soon took a liking to the material: 'It's a very well written song with good lyrics. It's a proper song structurally and not just a moody record'”.
Could have easily been: Notorious B.I.G. – ‘Nasty Girl’, Akon – ‘Smack That’, Ne-Yo – ‘So Sick’, Black Eyed Peas – ‘Pump It’, Kanye West – ‘Gold Digger’, Cassie – ‘Me and U’, Chamillionaire feat. Krayzie Bone – ‘Ridin’ or Nelly Furtado feat.Timberland – 'Promiscuous’.
The Radio Tune: The one that take me back to listening to the radio or playing it on my show wherever that has been.
Justin Timberlake – ‘SexyBack’.
I wasn’t an NSYNC fan, and I didn't really appreciate Mr Timberlakes earlier work, though I perfectly understood his popularity. SexyBack changed that. It’s a great radio track and perfect Pop/RnB crossover. Does this make it experimental? According to Wikipedia:
“Timberlake described "SexyBack" as an experiment gone right from the sort of synthesizer influence to the distorted vocals, adding that it was one of the songs that the more you listen to it it’s just hook after hook after hook. It’s just one of those 'flow off the top of your head' tracks, in terms of melody. We wanted to keep it loose and not too rehearsed, it's one of those very experimental records though”.
Could have easily been: Shakira – ‘Hips Don’t Lie’, Scissor Sisters – ‘I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’, Nelly Furtado – ‘ Maneater’, Take That – ‘Patience’, Embrace – ‘Nature's Law’, Snow Patrol – ‘Chasing Cars’ or The Automatic – ‘Monster’.
That’s almost it from 2006. At the end of each blog I’d like to thank some people who made the year very special for me. Big Love to the team at Legal & General, Steve and Andy for being top mates, Cassie, the stressed bar owner in Ibiza, Joanne and John for giving me the job at Valleys Radio and Craihg and team at Afan FM for that opportunity.
I’d also like to thank the team at Atlantica Café Bar on Market Street for sponsoring this series of blogs. They’ve got Britain’s Got Talent star Philip Green as part of a Pride Cymru after party on Saturday 26th August.
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