Isn’t it curious what a big pay cheque can make you do? Idris Elba reveals Meghan Markle told him what to play at royal wedding in 2018 – and speaks about it being “a high pressured gig”…

This blog is firmly of the opinion DJs should be left alone to get on with their work. When you hire a DJ, you should do so trusting they will choose the right music at the right time. You wouldn’t tell a builder which type of brick to use, would you?

If you start getting into the realm of telling a DJ what to play, you might as well not bother hiring one in the first place. Because this means they’re not a DJ anymore – they’re just relaying a playlist. And you’re making yourself look stupid, because you’re paying someone else to play your choice of music.

Meghan Markle appears to have not received this memo. Idris Elba was the DJ at her wedding to the exiled ginger one known as Prince Harry – and he’s now revealed that he was told exactly what to play by the lady herself. No freedom to choose his own tracklists for Elba!

He also mentioned feeling it was a “high pressure gig” – a comment which seems to have left heads scratching in certain quarters. I suspect he might have been referring to the lack of freedom offered by the gig, although he can’t explicitly say that. Heaven forbid he upsets his friends, eh?

Although in the unlikely event Elba comes along and reads this, don’t expect this blog to offer any sympathy. The huge pay cheque you got for the night should more than make up for basically being a relay for a few hours, Idris…

Andrew Lloyd Webber did a DJ set this weekend and played an EDM remix of “The Phantom Of The Opera” – but can someone please tell him you’re meant to mix the next record in?

Andrew Lloyd Webber. You might know this name from the world of musicals. You might know him as the man who once suggested he’d break lockdown rules – and was rewarded with the Prime Minister suggesting “Cinderella” could become a government test event. Or you might even remember the time he voted to cut tax credits for the poor.

And now, at the grand old age of 73, Lord Webber has decided to get involved in the world of DJing. Even in this world where practically anyone can give it a go – even when most will inevitably be crap at it – this one caught me somewhat by surprise.

Here’s some footage, taken from outside Broadway in New York. The track ID, because it seems compulsory for someone to ask these days is “The Phantom Of The Opera”. The artist is unknown, as is whoever did the remix…

Hmm. It tells you something about the state of dance music that this isn’t a complete train wreck. Indeed, it’s nice to see a crowd for once that actually seems into the music and is enjoying themselves – in most videos of this type I see these days, the only one enjoying themselves is the overpaid DJ.

But as far as I can see, he only played one record. Who does he think is, Father Billy O’Dwyer? So perhaps next time, he could arrive with a bit more material. Oh, and seeing he’s worth £650million, he can afford to commission some more remixes from his musicals.

Perhaps Masters At Work could do one of their dubs of “I Don’t Know How To Love Him”. Or Derrick Carter could create a credible house interpretation of “Any Dream Will Do”. And maybe a new mix of “Sunset Boulevard” by Sterling Void – leading to articles on this blog asking who really made it.

Full credit for his enthusiasm, though. A lot of DJs can’t manage anything like that, and they’re nowhere near 73…

51st State Festival caves in to the anti-vaxxer brigade and declares tests to enter the venue optional – but was a rebellion by pampered, egotistical DJs behind the decision?

The news cycle moves quickly sometimes. Late last night, I wrote an article about Hannah Wants and whether she would have a response about the news that 51st State Festival had made it mandatory to show proof of vaccine, a negative test or proof of recent infection in order to gain entry.

It was published this morning. Not long after it appeared, 51st State backtracked. It will now be optional. In accordance with the guidelines the government has laid down for England, doing a test before entry will be encouraged, but not essential. Cue another victory for the anti-vaxxers out there.

The question, however, of why they seem to have had a change of heart remains a mystery. Allow me to shed some light on the situation. An insider on the festival circuit spoke to me this afternoon and confirmed there appeared to have been a rebellion from some of the DJs booked to appear.

I must emphasise my source does not know exactly who is involved, but it’s believed that Hannah Wants – a known anti-vaxxer – was not. My source said “I think it’s the non-British DJs that caused the change of heart. Some of them come from countries where these things aren’t a requirement, whereas others are saying it would be impractical”.

When I asked what he meant by “impractical”, he explained “A few of these DJs are effectively treating 51st State like part of a tour. Some of them say getting hold of these tests is logistically difficult when travelling between many countries, others say they have their own arrangements in place and extra tests are not necessary”.

I verified this information with another source, and it all seems to check out. So it looks like the festival organisers decided to pander to the egos of DJs who didn’t want to be inconvenienced. Travel restrictions in place across many countries mean booking a replacement in a hurry isn’t always easy. Less forgivable is the undeserved victory they’ve given to the loud, dangerous and fact-free anti-vaxxers…

He can’t mix and he looks like he walked into your venue from 1985 – no, not Boy George, it’s one half of the Chuckle Brothers scouting for work…

As lockdowns start to ease left right and centre, DJs everywhere are experiencing something that they haven’t had for some time – well, except the plague rave DJs. Dates in the diary.

Emails from agencies and such hawking around for work for their clients – how else are they going to “earn” their percentages? – are going around at an even more plentiful rate than normal as a result. And Paul Chuckle’s agents are particularly desperate to justify how much they get paid right now.

Yes, one half of the Chuckle Brothers – who I never found particularly funny, if I’m honest – has a line in being a DJ. Sadly, Soundcloud isn’t filled with legendary sets of his filled with underground classics and unreleased white labels. But this 20 minute mix e did during lockdown is available on YouTube, saved by someone who’s presumably tone deaf…

Still, the mixing is better than any Boy George compilation from the 90s…


Tip of the hat for this story goes to Popbitch.

What disease – and it’s not coronavirus! – threatens to bring the dance music world crashing down? Why the idolising needs to go

I remember the first time that I read a dance music magazine. It was all the way back in October 2001. I was at college at the time studying for my A Levels and I had some time to kill before I had to catch the bus home.

So I wandered into town and saw a newsagents. I’d never been in here before and I saw they had a huge selection of magazines and newspapers – many of which I’d never seen before.

Whilst browsing, I saw a copy of Ministry magazine. Believe it or not, but before the internet came along, you had to get dance music news through the press. There were few ways to get it directly. If you weren’t in the scene, you had to go through the gatekeepers in the media.

I enjoyed reading the magazine and I bought many more. But as an overly inquisitive 16 year old studying Sociology – oddly enough, one of the better decisions I made at that age – I noticed one thing. The coverage was very positive. Insanely positive.

There was little criticism of anyone in there. Certainly not in the way you’d expect to see in newspapers, for example. And this trend over the years has just got worse and worse. It’s gone from being positive to downright idolatry.

And I can’t help but think this is an incredibly dangerous development. It creates the conditions where DJs can put whatever the hell they like on their riders and if you dare criticise them even mildly, they come at you like someone who’s just been caught kicking a puppy.

Whilst there are plenty DJs at the top of this scene who are humble and haven’t forgotten their background, let’s be perfectly blunt here. There are many others who are a bunch of overpaid prima donnas with a truly staggering sense of self-entitlement.

And I believe one of the reasons for that is the sheer amount of idolatry they’re exposed to. They’re treated like kings, and some of them inevitably fall for the hype and think it’s the truth.

They’re not used to dissent. They’re not used to dealing with criticism. In social media, they have a friend. Their fans will unfailingly speak up for them, defending them. Most of the time, it means they don’t even have to answer it in any way. They can express their view by simply liking a tweet or even saying nothing.

They make threats. They threaten to stop you from progressing further in your career. They find out what you want and they threaten to stop you from getting it. This is why they’re absolutely terrified of outsiders – there’s nothing they have in the artillery to stop them.

Derrick May is the perfect example of this. For years, he was venerated and worshipped as some kind of god. This allowed him to behave in whatever way he liked – hence why he’s now accused of sexual mispropriety against at least 18 women and has made a career out of pretending he can play.

No one ever challenged him on it, and he’s still benefitting from idolatry now. His stooges, like Carl Craig and Patricia Altisent, are defending him whilst he somehow pretends that anyone who doesn’t like him must be a racist.

This is an utterly contemptuous and disingenuous line of defence which the dance music press should have torn him to shreds on. Instead, they reported it – even they couldn’t ignore this – but made no further comment. Were they seriously that terrified of his Mickey Mouse lawyer?!

It’s high time that this culture of deference and idolatry in dance music stopped. Otherwise, the egos are just going to destroy what’s left of the scene – and since the egos will be rich, they won’t suffer…

Cooking up a storm: Gok Wan gives a lesson in how to troll DJs

These days, it appears to be common for celebrities to have jobs on the side as DJs – much to the irritation of full time DJs who think they’re being deprived of work, who don’t take the music oh so seriously and so forth.

Gok Wan – who previously used to tell women to take their clothes off on Channel 4 – is now amongst this cluster of part time DJs annoying aforementioned full time DJs. Alongside other jobs such as appearing on This Morning occasionally to cook stuff.

And if trolling them was the game, he’s certainly accomplished it with this message on Facebook…

On the subject, however, Facebook has repeatedly refused to comment on rumours that a two-tier system exists where celebrities and companies can be whitelisted from normal copyright takedown processes. Presumably on the grounds that they pay themselves.

One rule for the proletariat, another for the bourgeoisie? Although which category Gok Wan’s streams are in is currently unclear.