I want to give you a heads up on a new book that focuses on the evolution of black music radio in London during the ’80s. ‘Masters Of The Airwaves – The Rise And Rise Of Underground Radio’ is the labour of love of 2 influential figures from the period, Dave VJ and Lindsay Wesker. The book is presented as a series of interviews with the great and the good of London’s pirate and specialist radio back in the day (plus a few Northern exceptions) .
It’s 2013 and Coldcut duo Jonathan More and Matt Black are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their Solid Steel radio show. To mark this milestone, a number of selectors have been invited to contribute a mix to the programme, its presenters choosing various artists and DJs they feel have had a significant presence at some point during the last 25 years. I regard it as a big compliment to be one of those approached, so was more than happy to oblige, the only brief being that they wanted us to weigh in with something that sits outside of that for which we’re generally known, which suited me fine – it was just a case of what?
Just over 12 months ago, on October 29th 2011, the TV and radio personality Sir Jimmy Savile died 2 days before his 85th birthday (he was born on Halloween 1926). He was regarded as one of the great British eccentrics, but there were always rumours about deviant behaviour, although nothing proven. Apart from his contribution to broadcasting, Savile was also said to be the first DJ, not only in Britain, but the World, to use twin-turntables, back in the 1940s, making him an unlikely icon to DJs of the modern era. Here’s the blog post I wrote at the time of his death:
One of the defining moments of my DJ career took place exactly 30 years ago, on Monday May 10th 1982, when my first radio mix was broadcast on Mike Shaft’s show, ‘T.C.O.B’ (Taking Care Of Business), on Manchester’s hugely influential Piccadilly Radio, which played a major part in bringing black / dance music to wider attention during the ’70s and ‘80s – from Soul, Funk and Disco, through Jazz-Funk and Electro, and on into Hip Hop, House and Techno. I go into its rich legacy in greater depth here:
I started writing this before I headed off on my travels to Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and back to Australia again (concluded on my return home, having made notes along the way). I’ve been very preoccupied with time, or, to be more precise, the lack of it – this is where my head was at:
Very pleased to inform you that all 12 episodes of Random Influences are now available on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad via the Radio ditto app, downloadable for free from iTunes:
Seminal British Disc Jockey Sir Jimmy Savile died today, two days before his 85th birthday.
Rewind 12 months:
“Launched on his 50th birthday, Greg Wilson compiles a celebratory selection of 7” singles from his formative years. Covering the ’60s through to the mid-’70s, when he started out as a fresh-faced 15 year old club DJ, these records embody the soundtrack of his youth.
With running times of approximately 2 hours, the 12 individual monthly parts will conclude in a full day’s worth of music. Having only pre-determined the opening and closing tracks, Greg will select the rest as he goes along, moving in whatever direction his mood takes him at that given moment. The title, ‘Random Influences’, reflects this arbitrary approach”.
I’ve just uploaded three previously unavailable ‘turntable edits’ (as I called them at the time), which can now be streamed at my MixCloud page. Back when I did them in 1984, their original purpose was to help me in my forlorn quest to make a breakthrough into remixing, but they were also played on Manchester’s Piccadilly Radio during Timmy Mallett’s award winning ‘Timmy On The Tranny’ shows, which hit the bullseye with the teenage audience they were aimed at.
On January 20th, I did something I’ve never done previously. I stood before an audience and, for close on an hour, talked about my musical journey – from when I was a child in New Brighton, right up to what I’m doing nowadays. I’ve been in similar situations before, where I was being interviewed, or I was interviewing someone else, but I’ve never stood alone and spoken for so long.