Friday, 24 April 2020


Today as I woke, my mind wandered back to my youth. The days when getting my next copy of NME and Melody Maker were as vital to me as the air. I was around 17 when my interest in music began. I liked music before. In that I watched TOTP and spent a lot of time trying to end a recording of Radio One before the over-enthusiastic DJ chatted over some inconsequential Mariah Carey hit. I wasn't cool then. I'm not cool now. But somewhere around 17 to 25, I tried to be. My image was tied up in 'significant' music. Kurt Cobain was God and NME was bible. 

Yet I felt unknowledgeable. It seemed like everyone around me had been listening to Black Sabbath since birth. They knew music. They could probably write a column in Indiecator magazine ( if magazines employed cocky teenagers). I was still learning. Of course they were too. Everyone was. In their own lives, with their own interests. But I didn't know that. To me, they were Mr Miyagi. Wax on. Wax off. 

I was excited though. It seemed like a whole world of magic was opening up for me. My passport to the new world was record stores, alternative clothes shops and music papers. 

Sometime into my foray into 'real music', I started attending Chicos in Hanley. It was Stoke's home of alternative music. Thinking back to the decor, it had wall to wall mirrors. No doubt designed to support the ego's of its narcissistic clientele.The people (I generalise) liked to watch themselves dance. It didn't matter if they were rockers, goths or indie types - everyone had their moment in the sun that was the lights of Chicos. 

The greatest narcissist of all was the DJ. Like many DJs, he was the all-seeing-eye of the dancefloor. Literally - from his elevated DJ box and figuratively - from his self-important vantage point. Even Moriarty wasn't as cocky as this guy nor was he this much of a sociopath (ok, that's a moderate exaggeration). The DJ at Chicos wasn't there to entertain. He was there to impart wisdom through his speakers. If you dared to request a tune, it had better be an 'impressive' one. Music taste is subjective? Not in Chicos. Obviously you couldn't and wouldn't ask for Mariah Carey. That would be ridiculous. Fortunately, by then, I absolutely detested her. Yet you couldn't necessarily ask for The Levellers either. And woe betide the person who asked about a song without full accurate details of artist and track. I did this once, I nervously approached the DJ of Doom and mumbled my question. Who was the band on the last track? He looked down at me with a gaze of contempt. Corner shop, he said. Or so I thought. It was years later that I discovered that the song was actually by Culture shock. The song track was Pressure. I now own the vinyl that includes this song. The DJ wasn't wrong (impossible, at least in his view), I'd just misheard him. Nerves and noise certainly affect the eardrums. 

As I write these words today, I think I've written something like this before. Likely on this very blog. Maybe it was even my first ever blog post. If I have and you've read it, consider this the remix. Otherwise, consider this entirely unique. ;-)

Yours, The RGF 

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