When I was in my early twenties, everything I worked towards or thought about centered around my dream of becoming a working DJ. It’s highly likely that those early years spent practicing mixing in my bedroom, distributing demo cds and finding my skills, paved the way for my current career as a writer. Then, as now, my chosen vocation was available only to the dedicated, talented, and lucky few. I spent countless hours chasing the dream, and though I never “made it” as an established DJ, I played plenty of gigs and had a wicked time doing so.
I fell in love with dance music in my teens. At a time when most of my friends were discovering Britpop, I was listening to groups such as Underworld, The Orb, and Leftfield. I’d religiously tune into The Essential Selection with Pete Tong, and track down mix cds by others such as Carl Cox.
The music they championed was like nothing I’d ever heard before, and though it would be years before I caught the vinyl itch, that was when my interest in electronic music was set.
As a DJ, I enjoyed nothing more than sharing my love of the music with an appreciative and responsive crowd. The buzz I got when I dropped in a track that I’d spent weeks trying to source on vinyl, confident in the knowledge that few others in the area owned a copy, only to see the crowd explode with delight at my selection, was one of the best feelings I had ever experienced. Playing to a crowded nightclub is an experience like no other.
I miss it to this day.
However, there comes a time when all DJs must hang up their headphones and stand aside to make way for the new blood. I was a vinyl a lot at heart, staunch in the belief that you couldn’t mix a damn if you couldn’t do it the old skool way. With CDs and MP3s changing the game, I took my battered record box home and called it a night on my DJ career.
My last gig was also my best. It was in a house club in Hull. The place was packed, the crowd were up for it and I…well I had learned of the death of my grandmother a day or so before. Still, those around me said I should play, and play I did, receiving a standing ovation at the conclusion of my set. I like to think my that grandmother (knowing full well she didn’t entirely get the scene – but that was Ok with me) was proud of me that night.
So, here I am, all these years later, about to embark on a serious writing career, and I’ll tell you this:it feels good. I have no doubt that the dedication and application that I applied to my DJ career all of those years ago, helped prepare me for the difficulties I’ve faced thus far. If you are passionate about something, you have to push ahead, ignoring all the negativity that rejections and the opinions of others might bring. Self belief will carry you far.
I look back fondly on my DJ career, but I look forward to my career as a writer, and welcome the challenges and rewards that it shall inevitably bring.