This was acid house. A nation of post indie rockers had finally learnt to dance.
It was no accident I became a DJ. I'd always loved music and made mix tapes for friends. I'd gravitated to boyfriends in bands. The arrival of acid house in '88 prised me away from my indie rock credentials and opened my eyes to unadulterated rhythm. And I was a 'keen member' of the, wait for it, Rave Society at University. It goes without saying that I didn't study very much in my third year.
Then I turned 21 and threw my savings and birthday money on a pair of technics record decks which in '92 didn't come cheap. It took me a while to master blending the beats of two records together. The moment I finally accomplished this nimble fingered skill sent a fated lightening bolt down my spine. Intuitively, I knew in the depths of my bones that DJ'ing was my life calling. Destiny.
My DJ moniker was Tantra.
And so it began. My singular vision to become a professional DJ sent a synchronistic wheel in motion attracting a belly full of opportunity; I met other DJ's, played at numerous house parties, and then I landed my first residency on a local pirate radio station. Tantra's dulcet tones transmitted on the airwaves of West Yorkshire but I wisely let the grooves do the talking. Mix tapes went out, club promoters bugged and DJ agencies joined. My first club gig was a night in Liverpool - I rocked it.
I was in the right place at the right time. I was in a minority; a talented female DJ, and I milked this for all its worth. My career snowballed as I played in clubs across the UK and Europe. My music of choice was deep house and techno; everything from Kraftwerk inspired European trance to the disco influenced, funk infused minimalism of Detroit electronica. I built a solid reputation for long, seamless mixes and emotive sets which undulated in musical style, tone and pace.
I spent my weeks making hallowed pilgrimages to record shops. My favourite was Eastern Bloc Records in Manchester. The boys there were great. An assorted pile of 12"s always greeted me when I eagerly rushed through the doors every Wednesday morning. I ate vinyl. I was what was affectionately termed as an anorak. I had a record collection of 1000's organised meticulously into different genres, labels and artists.
The memories are myriad ...
The comforting aromas wafting from Parisian bakeries at 6.00 am as weary street sweepers cleared the detritus from the night before. Racing precariously through a pot holed field on a bear hunt for the location of a very secret party. Bottle green dragon flies on a Southern French hill top hovering unnoticed over bobbing heads, and brightly painted faces in the soft light of dawn.
I played in a bunker in East Germany. I played on a moving float at the Zurich Love Parade; the streets overflowing with dancing, cheering, empty beer cans. I once played a gig in Germany on Christmas day - I can recall the eerie desertion of Manchester airport, the festive dish of rare beef and sauerkraut with the club promoter and her father. The strangest gig was an outdoor rave at 8.00 am. Can you imagine having breakfast and then spinning your best vinyl to, by that time of day, a hoard of messy, unappreciative clubbers? My biggest event was spinning a nerve wracking opening set to 20,000 ravers in Germany. That was a buzz on every level. But my favourite gigs were the homegrown ones, the smaller clubs, and playing to my friends.
And then one year it all crumbled. I met HIM. Not Younger Dad. But a rotten apple. An apocalyptic messenger of heartbreaking change. When I resurfaced a year or so later I found myself at the back end of my twenties with a withering career. Like parched paper evaporating in a flame, the European gigs shrivelled up. I was past my shelf life.
I moved to London. I worked in a grey office somewhere in Aldgate. I tried to revive my career and continued playing at a few select clubs here and there. I even promoted my own night. Then one day, somewhere in my mid thirties, I decided that enough was enough. I'd lost interest in late nights, parties and the must have release. It was time for something new. So I settled back and let life's compass point me in a fresh direction.
I treasure the fun times I had, the friends I met and the cultures I tasted. But I still live with a small handful of sadness. Where would I have been if I hadn't met HIM? But then life seems to have a mysterious trajectory for all of us. Its only when we look back that we can clearly see the road map that led us to this particular point. One thing I can confidently say is that if I'd carried on DJ'ing I wouldn't have met Younger Dad or held Little A in my arms. This is how it was meant to be ..... in the end I was intended for motherhood.
One day I will be able to regale Little A with all my turntable adventures.
Once upon a time her mummy was a cool DJ.
So once upon a time, what did you enjoy (or dislike) doing, seeing or creating? It could be anything. What were you like many moons ago? Do you have a once upon a time story to tell or picture to share? It could be a happy, sad or humorous tale. The skies the limit. I've decided to turn this into a monthly meme blog hop thing. So do Link up below and grab the badge code ... and don't forget to tweet #onceuponatime.
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