Mobile DJ 1979

It’s 1979 and I’m doing my first gig as a DJ. This was long before Pete Tong and Judge Jules. I’m not playing to a crowd of thousands at the Ministry of Sound. This is upstairs in a pub for a silver wedding anniversary to about 30 people. No banging house music or hip hop, it’s the Nolans I’m in the mood for dancing and Gloria Gaynor i will survive.

The first Record I play is Heart of Glass by Blondie, the extended 12” version so I can go for a wee after spending hours setting up two speakers and a state of the art lighting system that comprises of a rope light, an ultraviolet strip light and a set of traffic lights. Spectacular I think you’ll agree. Although there were problems with the ultraviolet light. When the happy couple came up to make a speech it made her white dress look see through revealing bra and big pants to the world.

One of the things about being a DJ is learning to have a thick skin. One night It can be a disaster, the next it’s brilliant. On the nights it goes down badly you tell yourself that you will never, ever, do it again. But I did do it again so my first time must have been ok, I don’t really remember.
There were only two types of mobile DJ back then. The personality DJ and the music DJ.

I was more into the music, only talked when I had to, and concentrated on trying to pick the right records to play, in order to keep things going. But I did know others who had the gift of the gab. They were more performers than DJs. They could play almost anything they wanted and still keep the party swinging, they played games, made jokes, talked the punters to death over the mike and generally annoyed the hell out everyone Although I admired this kind of DJ for his work. In reality I thought most of them were tossers. I know this because when I moved away from playing records to selling them I had to deal with a lot of them on a daily basis and they could be just as bad without the aid of a microphone. I have to say not all of them were like that , Just say, about, 99%. Give me a music loving DJ any time (But more on that some other time)

I did quite a few parties, weddings, birthdays & pubs for a while before I was given the opportunity to work in a club. I dropped the Nolans and Blondie. It was New Order Blue Monday and Frankie Goes to Hollywood Relax. I stopped ending the night on Gerry and the Pacemakers You’ll never walk alone (common as muck) and moved on to Frank Sinatra New York New York (a touch of class). Another downside to being a DJ has to be that you are playing for an audience. It’s not what you want to hear, it’s what they want to dance to. As I remember thinking once when I slipped on Goombay Dance Band Seven Tears.

3 comments:

Jeff Hickmott said...

Dear God, the Goombay Dance band! That was a blast from the past! A jolt from the vault! A rave from the grave! A prehistoric frolic! A Golden Mouldy!

Actually, I heard a real golden mouldy this morning on the way to work. Joe Fagin's 'That's Livin' Alright', the theme to Auf Wiedersehen Pet.

L D Man said...

Great pictures and memories from a Golden Time in our musical history.
It was about this time when I faded away from the Disco scene and concentrated on family life. I still love 60's & 70's music especially Northern Soul and keep in touch with my favorite age in time by keeping a facebook page for Winter Gardens going. I still get 'the buzz' when I find a long forgotten track on you tube.
Keep The Faith Disco brother, best regards, Ady Barlow

the "Beach Bum" said...

I started in 1976. I wish I had some pictures from that time-- and wish I had chosen a different profession. I've had a lot of good times, but the business has fizzled out, creating a lot of uncertainty about my future and any retirement.

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