26 December 2011

Put the needle back on the record…

As I sit here now as a pyjama clad thirty something it’s hard to imagine I was once considered cool. As ghastly a term as that is to describe yourself as at any level of maturity it was indeed true. At least it was to me at the time and I guess if you are going to consider yourself cool then that’s all that matters. What elevated my ego to bestow such a social status upon myself I hear you ask? Was it the clothes I wore? The people I socialised with? Or was it that Curtains style haircut complete with undercut and single gold hoop earring? Hell no, it was the music I chose to listen to, and ultimately play to crowds of likeminded individuals.

The year is 2000, I’ve a steady job and courtesy of living at home still (all the cool kids lived at home back then) few overheads. For years I’d been into dance music, mostly of the house and techno variety whilst most of my kick drum hating friends was into the Britpop scene. I’d record The Essential Selection every week, and catch as many Dj sets from the likes of Carl Cox and Jeremy Healy as my meagre cassette collection would allow. Finally I was in a position to buy my own set of decks and give mixing a try myself.

What followed were many hours of practice comprising galloping beats, clashing vocals and much swearing and frustration, all at high volume. Looking back my parents were quite laid back about the whole thing even though my dad insisted it was nothing more than “Boom Boom Boom” and not music of any sort.

I digress, I progressed from playing in my bedroom to myself and the cat, to bars and clubs dotted around the country and almost made it onto the professional scene. However the point of this article is that back then, the music I bought, practiced with and played to total strangers meant so so much to me. It defined who I was, where I wanted to go. It gave me confidence in myself, lifted my mood and the feeling you get of making a room “pop” with a killer record you love is just unstoppable. That was the greatest joy I had in my formative years, crafting  your set, reading the crowd and seeing them react to your song choices building and building until you drop a sonic bomb and the place goes crazy. They were good times indeed.

Do I miss it? Yes, but I’m no longer that man, indeed I was still really a boy as I’ve done a lot of growing up since I retired the 1’s and 2’s. My family and the choices I’ve made define me now. The only tinge of sadness I get is that the music that I once felt so deeply attached to, almost like it was a part of me has lost that connection we once shared. I guess that’s the ageing process, I wonder whether my daughter will follow in her dads’ footsteps or whether she’d be proud of her old dad for being an old skool vinyl dj. Probably not, I don’t look back at my great granddads gramophone and wonder if he rocked the fucking hut with it, but I bet he did.
Oh, and Underground will live forever baby!

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