One of my Proudest moments (BC, Before Children) was at a DJ Kool Herc gig at the legendary TJ’s Nightclub in Newport, South Wales in the year 2000.
DJ Kool Herc is the Father of Hip Hop, he created the Breakbeat, when he would mix the Break (The Beat of a Record without Instrumentation or Vocals) of the same tracks so the Break would last longer. Allowing people to dance to the Break. Break Dancing. This happened in 1973 at a Block party that DJ Kool Herc was playing at (Throwing for his Sisters 16th Birthday).
Block Parties were the thing in New York back in the day. It’s kind of a Rave in a Block of Flats, only Cooler! The place was a Bombsite, Planet Rock.
Back to TJ’s Nightclub in Newport, South Wales, 28 years later.
DJ Kool Herc was about to start his set when a fuze blew on the PA. Or something, there was no decks or CD player. Nearly 200 people rammed into the club, B-Boys and Girls, Oldskool guys like me surrounded by young kids.
There was a Microphone but no music. I was at the front of the stage and yelled up to DJ Kool Herc that I could fill in for him. He laughed and asked “What you gonna do brother?” I said I’d beatbox for him.
Well that was way before the Beatboxing of now, I’m more your Biz Markee, Doug E Fresh type of Beatboxer, Oldskool. Not Technical, I can hold a beat that you can Rap to.
I got pulled up on stage, handed the Mic and while they sorted out the sound, I did the Doug E Fresh and Slick Rick (Original) Version of “La Di Da Di”. The Snoop Dogg version had just come out and so it was fresh to the kids.
I started spittin’ (Not Spitting, that’s gross) on the Mic and in seconds the kids started nodding then dancing to my beat. I do the beatbox and the lyrics, not at the same time. I’m not Rahzel you know. This is a Rap I know and love from way back in the day and I do it rather well.
“La Di Da Di, We like to Party,
We Don’t cause Trouble and
We don’t bother Nobody..”
They Loved it and I was buzzing. I even started to Rap Kool Moe Dee “Go See The Doctor”, but got stopped on the second verse as they’d sorted the sound.
DJ Kool Herc gave me a bear hug and had everyone applauding for me, he gave me mad props for standing up there and saving the day and got a picture of us together, Polaroid! Oldskool.
After that I was buzzing. Try as I might to remember the gig, I can’t. I got hammered. Everyone was buying me drinks and it was one of those nights that leaves you with the feeling that it was amazing.
No Digital Cameras, No Camera Phones, No Evidence!
A side note.
Later that month I was on set of the Steve Coogan Movie “The Parole Officer” I was part of the Audience in the Final Scene of the Movie, where they all sing and dance to the David Bowie song “Heroes”
Three Days of Filming to be in shot for about a second. Yes, that’s me at 8:09 with the Jam Jar Glasses, Ponytail, wearing a Suit, Blue shirt, Pink tie and Dancing Badly (They told us to dance like that)
The First Day of filming in Manchester, I got back to where I had parked my Ford Scorpio. It was gone. The Car park, spare ground was clear and there was no nothing. My car had been nicked.
I had all my belongings hidden in the boot of the car. Everything I owned. I was moving house and took all my clothes, gadgets, diaries, photos, everything with me, locked up safely in the boot. That’s a lesson learned right there. Pay for a Decent Car Park, it was £10 for the Day at NCP or £8 where I abandoned it.
It was an expensive trip.
Yes, the Polaroid picture of me with DJ Kool Herc had been stolen too.
I was angry, frustrated, sad, skint… The police told me to get a lift and thankfully my brother Adrian drove from Blackburn to pick me up and take me to my Mums house.
The next day we got to Manchester early and filmed the second day. Steve Coogan came up to me and said “Sorry to hear about your car, I hope they find it for you” “Thanks Steve!”
Later that day I got a call on my Motorola. Yes, I had a mobile phone, it wasn’t the Dark ages.
“Hello Mr Taylor, this is Manchester Metropolitan Police, we have found your Vehicle!”
“Oh, thank goodness, can I come and get it”
“Sorry Sir, it’s been Burnt out. There’s nothing left of it.”
“What about my belongings?”
“They were burnt too, there’s nothing left. Kids steal the cars to get home, have a ride around and then burn everything. They don’t take anything from the car as it would be evidence, so they destroy the lot. I’m sorry Sir, would you like us to arrange disposal? We will provide you with a letter for your insurance company”
Like my Car, I was Gutted.
Thankfully, my Mum and Dad helped me out. They found me a Renault 5 Campus that lasted me a few years of faithful service.
I never did see DJ Kool Herc again.
But I do have the memory and the Breakbeat and for that, I am grateful.