Something happened in London between the summer of 1987 and the spring of 1988. I`m not going to pretend I was there. I was still studying in Leeds, with any money spent on vinyl divided between Hip Hop like Boogie Down Productions & EPMD, Wedding Present 12s and Prince long players, whilst a growing Tom Waits obsession was fed with visits to the University Record Library (what a marvelous thing that was, the record library). My only clues to what was going on back home were cryptic phone-calls from my younger sister (usually needing cash) and the copy of ID (#59) that featured photos of Nancy Noise and hirsute chaps in ponchos.
Something happened and, musically, Go-Go, the Jackson Five`s ecstatic break from Bambaataa`s “Death Mix” and James Brown produced rarities gave way to Todd Terry and Tyree Cooper mixed with Euro Pop like George Kranz and the mighty Mandy Smith (and that guitar), and early UK House experiments from Dave Lee and Tony Thorpe. Chris Coco taking his cues from Coldcut. House was no longer clearing the capital`s dancefloors.
Stuff like Beats Workin` I came to shun as I acquired “the knowledge” and a copy of “Rhythm From Zaire” from Oscar in Trax, but listening now it has a kind of naïve charm, a reminder again of the enthusiasm of a time when club flyers and memberships were hand-drawn. I have to admit that I played Jim & Gene`s “Shake” the last time I DJed, and that was December 2012, not 1988.
If, for me, Mandy Smith is The Trip, and the view from the top of the Astoria looking down at a balcony full of dancers in aisles, dancers on tables, then William Pitt`s “City Lights” is Bonnies in Catford. It`s a record I couldn`t live without (two copies yet), but it`s not one I care to play so often. It was the soundtrack to a thousand conspiratorial grins and handshakes as the lights came up, but it always made me feel kinda lonely. The soundtrack to the end of the night and all that might accompany it. Off lost somewhere, in my head, emotions all upside themselves. A would be Morrisey, still ill. But I must have listened to Mr Pitt at least 30 times over the last two weeks, struggling to accurately put down the feelings and memories it inspires. I`ll keep those secrets close. Airing some things only serves to dilute them. I was gonna say it`s a record that`s probably never gonna be in the box, but what I think it really needs is playing loud and a healthy crowd strong sing-a-long.
“Boy`s Own. The Complete Fanzines 1986-92” is published by DJhistory.com and can be purchased directly here.