I've always loved music. From being 3 years old and telling my parents that I wanted
to play the violin through playing many other instruments and writing and producing
my own music.
I was a member of the Air Training Corps, and every year we had a Christmas party.
We couldn't afford much, we usually ended up watching some awful video or playing
rubbish games like how many cadets could fit into the toilet, that was before one of
the staff set the fire extinguisher on the sardine packed cubicle. What we really
wanted was a disco. So, a few of us clubbed together a random collection of
equipment- two hifi's, my guitar amplifiers and I bought a kit from Maplin Electronics
to make disco lights using coloured bulbs screwed onto an old melamine cupboard
drawer. The electronics were housed in an old packed lunch box! When I finished
building the lights, my sister and I gave it a test run in her bedroom. They were
flashing in time with the music mostly red, orange and yellow with a little bit of green
and blue. We switched the lights off, put the music up and were enjoying our own
private club experience when there was a frantic banging on the front door. It was
our neighbour across the street who was out of breath, did we know that there was a
fire upstairs? It took me a minute or so to realise that perhaps there was a little
imbalance in the colour range of the light bulbs.
The first disco was so exciting. I felt like a pro dj setting up the equipment, even
though it was a health and safety nightmare- not that it was an issue then. We'd all
pooled together our CD collections, lots of NOW albums and other current popular
music. It felt amazing, all of these people dancing and enjoying the music I chose,
such a buzz when I pressed the button and everyone went "oh I love this track!".
We did more of these discos after this, though bitten by the bug I started to buy
better equipment and I built my own PA. I also started a course in Music Technology,
and I was producing electronic music in my bedroom. I remember the first time I
played one of my tracks at an Air Cadet disco. I was in two minds about putting it on.
What if people hated it? Or laughed? It had a high-pitched vocal sample which was
actually me singing but I hated the sound of my voice. So, I swallowed hard, and put
my track on. This was before regular people were able to make recordings at home.
Everyone kept coming up to me and asking who the track was by, what was it, where
could they get a copy?
I ended up being resident DJ at the Egypt Cottage (may it rest in peace), playing for
wedding receptions, engagements, birthdays and work dos. The most famous
people who I've played for were probably Tim Healy and Sue Elliot who had their
wrap party. The buzz was still the same, if not greater, playing the crowd- I was like a
puppet master, I'd get them up on the dance floor, I'd let them have a rest, I'd get
them to move a certain way just by the track I chose. It was an art, and I was refining
it all the time.
I was also part of setting up NE1fm, which is Newcastle and Gateshead's first full
time community radio station in 2007, I occasionally do a radio programme on there.
I continue to produce my own music, some of which has been played on local radio
and in north-east clubs, and a few years ago I bought record decks to learn how to
mix with them.
I'm a single parent now with a small daughter, so djing isn't really something I can do
much anymore. I do help others to learn, so the buzz I felt from seeing others enjoy
my music choices has changed to seeing others feeling good about achieving
I will always love music, I couldn't live without it.