John Grant, one of the UK’s leading black music DJs of the late-‘70s / early-’80s died last month – he was 71. Apart from his family and close friends, his passing went largely unnoticed – his legacy somewhat forgotten. This is because he retired from DJing in 1981, right at what was seemingly the peak of his powers, completely disappearing from sight as he moved to the South coast, as the legend at the time was told, to become a lighthouse keeper, or, in another version, a harbour master (the truth seems to be that he moved to Peacehaven to work for a Hovercraft company).
In the summer of 1978, when I was 18, I went out to Denmark and then onto Norway, plying my trade as an ‘International DJ’, having secured bookings via I.D.E.A. a Copenhagen-based agency specialising in bringing British DJs out to Europe on monthly contracts – of which there were many, Norway seemingly invaded in the process, the English language deemed authentic with the microphone still a DJ essential. Having stopped off in Denmark (via Holland and West Germany) I’d taken the car ferry across to Norway. I wasn’t supposed to head to Skien, the small Norwegian city I ended up in, but after arriving there the police had searched my car on the docks, undoing bits from under the bonnet but not putting them back, which caused problems for someone of my limited ability when it came to the workings of an engine. As a consequence, 50 miles on my car broke down on route to the North of the country, resulting in my agency hastily re-arranged things so I could play somewhere closer to hand while my car was repaired. So, by fate or accident, Skien by default became my destination, initially playing a few times at a venue called Galaxi, whilst I waited to start a one-month residency at a club called Lines (pronounced Lena’s).Continue Reading →
Australia bound – my first of 5 dates coming up in Melbourne this Friday, with the Return To Rio Festival near Sydney the next day, before a trio of special Credit To The Edit parties in Brisbane (11th), Sydney (17th) and Perth (18th). Further info here:
Last year, Isaac Ferry, who runs Gouranga, which has hosted some of my live mixes on SoundCloud, asked if I’d be up for doing something more bespoke, suggesting I focus in on Chic, given both their history and more recent renaissance as one of the must-see live feelgood experiences of the festival calendar.
Sheffield-born Peter Stringfellow who died yesterday, aged 77, was Britain’s most famous nightclub entrepreneur. The glitzy London club that bore his name a magnet for celebrities during the ‘80s, epitomising the glamourous world he always sought, in contrast to his cash-strapped working class roots.
I received a copy of the new Late Nite Tuff Guy remix 12” through the post recently. Issued by Salsoul, the classic New York label that unleashed numerous dancefloor gems between 1974-84, including the very first commercially available 12”, ‘Ten Percent’ by Double Exposure (1976). LNTG’s 12” included another Double Exposure favourite, ‘Everyman’, plus ‘Dr Love’ by First Choice, both of which have been huge for me, having received digital copies in the last couple of years – ‘Everyman’ topping my ’20 Choice Edits & Reworks’ selection for 2017, whilst ‘Dr Love’ featured on the 2016 list:
In December 2003, when I made my comeback after a 2-decade hiatus at the Music Is Better night in Manchester club The Attic, one of the tracks I featured that night was the 1982 Electro-Funk cult-classic ‘The Voice Of Q’ by Q. I also played it the following month in London, when I appeared at Ouch! @ The Key in Kings Cross.
It’s a special night tonight, when we look back to one of Manchester’s great clubs, Legend, which was my Wednesday night home circa 1981-84. I’ve previously written about my much-treasured time there in a blog piece called ‘Legend – Manchester’s Other Club’:
Bostonian John Luongo is someone who seemed to have slipped through the cracks of dance history – his legacy largely obscured, whilst that of his contemporaries, Tom Moulton and Walter Gibbons, has served to inspire a new generation of Disco enthusiasts.
Just come across a few paragraphs I wrote as part of my Time Capsule series, where month by month I compiled a selection of the tracks I was playing back in the ‘70s when I started out as a DJ, writing accompanying text about the music featured and my own progression within the local club scene on Merseyside, and more specifically my hometown of New Brighton. I managed to cover the period January 1976 (December 1975 if the prequel, ‘First Impressions’, is included) to September 1977 (each edition originally put together exactly 30 years on, between Jan ‘06 – Sept ‘07) but the process became too time-consuming to maintain, at a point when my DJ trajectory had really built momentum.