Photo: Me with legendary journalist James Hamilton, circa 1987
I have to confess, it was a bit of a shock when I realised it’s exactly 30 years ago today that I started my career in the music industry. I had abandoned a promising career in advertising to take up the position of head tea boy at DMC (Disco Mix Club) in the ‘big smoke’ of London and have never really looked back since. In-at-the-deep-end was exactly where I wanted to be. Within 6 months I found myself in the Editor’s seat at DMC’s then fledgling, subscription-only DJ publication, Mixmag and the rest as they say, is history.
Of course, things were very different back then but I couldn’t have timed it any better. 1987 was the year that DJs suddenly became seen in a very different light as technology opened up boundless new opportunities and the likes of M/A/R/R/S, S.Express, Coldcut and Bomb The Bass gatecrashed the pop charts on a insurgent scale. Change was in the air but little did we know the extent of it.
I think like most UK Youth Culture moments before it (Mods & Rockers, Punk, Northern Soul, New Romanticism, etc) we all saw Acid House as a scene that had a shelf life of a few years but here we all are, 30 years later, with the Electronic Music Scene arguably healthier than it’s ever been. It’s now a multi-million pound global industry supporting all manner of ancillary services with many, many more DJs, artists, labels and outlets than ever before. Of course, that overwhelming level of choice brings it’s own downsides but I think there’s sometimes a tendency to look back at those early days through rose tinted spectacles. People easily forget what it was like to have such limited access to the music. Outside of London, I was restricted to a couple of hours per week of dance music on the radio and a single column of information courtesy of James Hamilton’s weekly round-up in Record Mirror Magazine. So be thankful for what you’ve got and careful what you wish for. As the saying goes, people that say things are not as good as they used to be are generally not as good as they used to be.
I feel blessed to have lived through the end-of-analogue/birth-of-digital era and am never more excited than by the hear-and-now and what the future holds. Upwards on onwards. The adventure continues..