BEATS & PIECES
DISCO MIX CLUB’s 1989 International DJ Convention remained an unsurpassable meeting place for the world’s dance music business, but its two main days (held for the first time at the Empire in London’s Leicester Square) were a hard slog and many people expressed regret that the event was no longer at the now doubtless outgrown Hippodrome — itself criticised in the past, mainly about drink prices! — where, by being “in the round” with a central stage area, everyone could see what was going on without having to make a special effort, unlike at the cavernous new venue where the stage was at one end and usually obscured by people standing on stools to get a better view … Shep Pettibone (who wasn’t there) came out top of a poll to find the favourite remixer of the panel members in the interesting producers and remixers seminar debate, which featured Frankie Knuckles, Bruce Forest, Ben Liebrand, Les Adams, Phil Harding, Arthur Baker, Paul Dakeyne, Brian Harris, Dave Morales, Gail ‘Sky’ King, a taciturn (and in fact 27 years old!) DJ Mark ‘The 45 King’ James, and Derrick May — who Derek B himself made a very true criticism of DJs who buy records purely to impress other DJs, ignoring their customers (much of the “rare groove” vibe?) during a Chris Hill chaired “million pounds of experience” debate in which I hope I was as controversial as possible, along with Jeff Young, PWL’s Tilly Rutherford and veteran jock Ian Reading … Uncle B Nice (East London’s slow talking freestyle Brian Bennett) was the Shure Golden Mic winning rapper, much to the delight of co-sponsors Sleeping Bag Records who had fancied him from the start … Alyson Williams was joined by Chuck Stanley in a soul searing live showcase, while other live PAs at the Empire included Adeva, Jomanda, Paula Abdul and Black Rock & Ron … Technics World DJ Mixing judges at the Royal Albert Hall (where Tony Prince was aided by Jeff Young and Mike Shaft as comperes for the BBC TV-filmed event) were Bruce Forest, Ben Liebrand, DJ Mark The 45 King, Les Adams, Red Alert, Tim Simenon, Derek B, Paul Dakeyne, Cash Money and myself — I actually scored Finland’s DJ Eliot Ness as my winner, not only because I thought he was best on the night but also because I can’t help thinking that there will be no incentive for other countries to compete if the championship is always hogged by the UK and USA … Cash Money, last year’s champ (who remarked during the final, “These guys are all copying what I did last year”), had been due to perform as well and wanted to show people that “when you win you don’t just fall over, you go on and get better, and doors are opened to you, there is something more to strive for”, but he was told he would be “too good” and blow the actual competitors away if he did — hence his pointed remarks during the award giving! … Chaka Khan was the final live “surprise”, teasingly introduced except nobody recognised the new long intro of Dancin’ Danny D’s drastic remix of ‘I’m Every Woman’! … MCA Records’ private party at Kensington’s swank Roof Gardens, following the finals, was the hottest invitation in town and a grand finale for all who got in! … Gail ‘Sky’ King, Les Adams and Emma Freilich (LA Mix), Roger Tovell (Severn Sound), Rich Edwards (Radio Wyvern), ‘Mad’ Max Burns (Lincoln Cinderellas) and I went to a well known “after hours” Grecian restaurant for a late night meze after the MCA party, and had to leave in a hurry (luckily after eating) when the people a couple of tables away started trying to kill each other with broken bottles —just prior to this, the restaurant, by complete coincidence, had been playing a bootleg of Les’s and my Capital Radio New Year’s Eve party tape from 1987! … Bruce Forest, legendary New York club DJ/remixer, and Simon Harris discovered, during an earlier, Mexican dinner, that they both share a passion for new radio edits, which I wouldn’t have thought entirely necessary! … Heather Austyn turns out to be the Cool Notes’ Heather! … Martin Collins, now managed by Adrian Webb, will be broadcasting vocally on Capital Radio by mid-April … LNR ‘Work It To The Bone‘ (US House Jam), reviewed last August but never hot enough to hit the Club Chart, is finally taking off in the wake of being much sampled … WEA’s club plugger Fred Dove included in the “goodie bag” that all DJ convention-goers received, “the world’s first CD slip mat” —think about it! … WOOO! YEAH!
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