Having Africa as a memory was one thing – there are times and events that cause further change. I was persuaded to do a show at a local pub – the East House – because of my Coventry roots and my love of ska. This later developed into my fully returning to the world of the DJ (first times being in the early 70s). Thus, this became a time of new growth, new discovery. I soon acquired a partner in musical performance – Chris and later Matt (Ripparoots). The odd event at the East House became regular shows, carting a P.A. and playing gear from my home in the flats close by to the pub. It was then that new loves and interests were sparked, particularly deep house, trip hop and a lot more – eventually spanning liquid dnb, 2step garage, balearic beats, soul , northern, on towards breaks via big beat, even cajun, french hip hop and so on. These were days that took me and shows to the Tea Gardens another local, the Highway, mentioned elsewhere and various parties. Ultimately I spent a fair amount of time in places such as the Arches and a whole raft of other slightly and fully ‘underground’ venues, warehouses and the like.
It is a shame that most of these venues have now gone, either simply derelict, burned down, converted into shops. These were days of all sorts of music for me – classic deep house, the beginnings of my tastes trip hop wise, my ongoing love of ska, northern soul, classic soul, disco, original r&b, funk and then the later tastes in what was to become liquid dnb, big beat, later breaks.
Working class areas of northern towns and cities regularly have areas of dereliction. This is not necessarily so bad because those areas do acquire a very particular feel – there is both a grain and a texture to what happens to the area.
We used to party at a number of places in the area – Pitsmoor is just outside of the city centre and is noted as being the area where newcomers first settle – having had significant Jamaican, Kashmiri, Somali, Kurdish, Polish and more populations. I used to dj at places such as the Highway, the East House, the Tea Gardens and more. Each of these has a history, some going back many years – the Tea Gardens was originally a temperance pub providing mainly tea and no alcohol, the East House was the scene of a well-known murder decades ago and so was also known as ‘the wild west saloon’. The Highway though, now burnt down and demolished was a place for all-nighters.
All of the above gives an idea of some of what was played.