Thursday, 9 December 2010


Now let me say from the off, I don’t like the term DJ, for what it has come to mean. If playing records for people in a sequence that brings pleasure is an art then I thought I could master the art form. So did the other members of That Group. After all music was the important thing and after spending nights and weekends in clubs it seemed the obvious next step now that we had abandoned the band idea. Crackers, The Electric Ballroom, The Hombre, Bananas, Epping Forest Country Club, Gossips, the Lyceum the whole scene for us was hand in hand with rock gigs.
Evelyn Champagne King-club classic
The catalyst for getting our act together was a performance at The Venue, which was a purpose built theatre owned by Virgin records for live music; smaller than the Hammersmith Odeon but not as big as the Hammersmith Palais, it was a perfect auditorium. The event that inspired us was ‘A New York Street party’ Featuring Afrika Bambaataa, The rock Steady crew, The Double Dutch girls Graffiti artists and rappers and was a day long event that captured the feel of the then nascent Hip hop scene.

It presented a lack of reverence for vinyl whilst having an appreciation of music. It was exciting to see Hip Hop and Rap in this early form there in front of us.
We knew that playing records was now something different and we had to get involved. So borrowing a PA from my then ex Girlfriend and investing in/borrowing turntables we started DJing in earnest. We already had the records and regular trips to Groove Records in Greek Street, a few yards from Le Beat Route Soho, ensured we got hold of the latest 12” Imports.
George and I got our act together behind the decks and Neil, still a good friend, remained the musician that he went on to make a career of.. The Mobile circuit and house parties was the beginning. In these early times it was fun and little in the way of serious business. Just learning how to manipulate a crowd with music and the technicalities of the decks and mixer were enough to be getting on with. However,George and I had the gift, you might say, in those early days and it was great being a mobile DJ; having fun and learning.
We did a new years eve, which was great and it occurred to us that this DJing lark  was a good way to actually make some money. Apart from the mobile circuit we played Heaven (formerly the Global Village) which was by far the biggest gig we had ever done. This gay night spot had been taken over by a University for their ball and we were given the job; this followed a successful gig at another University in Barnet.
The Heaven gig opened my eyes to the potential of this endeavour. The scale and control and most of all the buzz of it was amazing.
For the two of us different priorities began to manifest themselves and we ceased to DJ together. At this point I wanted to continue along a path that would lead to clubs on a regular basis, to be more of a career than a hobby. The soul scene was on the brink of becoming over ground rather than cult and I wanted to get in to the whole Club scene before it did, I also believed that the opportunity and time was right to take things to the 'career' level. Clubs, Warehouse parties, residencies, all that. With this in mind myself and Neil played at a gig by The Fall at North London Polytechnic as it was then known, we gave them soul and funk when they wanted Indie and I have to say we rocked the proverbial house, and it all seemed like the real deal was on.

And so The Gym was born.


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having said that;