The Early Years
Born 10th March 1975, the 1st child to my parents. Dad was a hairdresser, mum worked in a department store and we lived in a maisonette very close to Leeds city Centre on the Marlborough Grange council estate.
This estate was concrete playground heaven as a child. There were no roads to worry about and a great bunch of kids in every block. As a very young child I had my best friend Suzie living straight across the landing and we would play on the stairs and landings of the building all day long until we were old enough to roam the estate with the rest of the big kids! Like any child from that era we would head out early in the morning and come home as the sun went down.
As a big group we would play games of hide and seek that would last for hours, hiding in empty garages and bushes across the whole estate. My mum would make me wear these sandals from Mothercare which made a hideously loud slapping noise as I ran that would echo around the estate, not ideal when trying to remain incognito!
Just across from the estate was a large field which would host the annual bonfire, another favourite past time for the kids was collecting firewood in preparation Bonfire night, I received many ‘chumping’ related injuries https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/chumping
I would make a Guy Fawkes from newspaper scrunched into tights and push him around in my old pram collecting money for Fireworks!
My grandparent (mum’s side) live on the estate along with my uncle and his wife. I spent a great deal of time with my grandparents and have fond memories of their home, I even had my own bedroom there with the famous Athena Tennis poster hanging on the wall. I spent most Saturday afternoons with them watching great TV shows like Worzel Gummidge, The Hulk, Buck Rodgers and eating Baton Cake.
I went to Westfield Primary School on Burley road, along with just about every other kid on the estate. It was here where I first became friends with Melanie Brown (aka Mel B, Scary Spice). I feel like I enjoyed primary school but also know I went through a stage of not wanting to go, I can’t for the life of me remember why, but I must have been a pain in the arse for my parents as I distinctly remember having a few tantrums!
When I was 5 my parents decided they wanted to get into the Restaurant business, and they found the location for what would be the 1st of many restaurants. The location was in the ‘dark arches’ on Neville Street in the city, nestled in under Leeds Train Station.
A couple of years later they opened their 2nd restaurant but this time with a night club in the back, called Casablanca. I think this is where my love for music and night life really began! I worked as a waitress and even helped out in the kitchen making prawn cocktails; I was extremely fortunate that my parents let me get fully involved. My favourite past time was hanging out in the nightclub (not during opening hours obviously!). I had the whole dance floor to practice my moves with full length mirror along the wall. There was a small DJ booth off to the side and the DJ (Steve Luigi) would play my favourite tracks before the club opened. More on the restaurant and clubs later!
My home at Marlborough Grange was a 3-bedroom maisonette and the living room was very spacious and mainly a playroom, mostly for my dad and me! My dad was a drummer and had been in a band with Mark Knopfler, his drum kit lived in this room, he was also heavily in to martial arts and had a large Wing Chun dummy attached to the wall which made an excellent climbing frame. There was a stereo in the corner which my mum would use to play records and dance around the room, mainly Rod Stewart or the Rolling Stones pretty much on repeat.
I had a bright yellow bedroom and we called it the Yellow Submarine. My dad had made me a very large wooden toybox with a big lid on hinges, which also doubled as a great hiding spot. I lost count of how many times I trapped my fingers in there!
My best friend Suzie moved to a new house when I was around 6 or 7, I remember been really sad that I wouldn’t get to see her all the time, as an only child she was the closest I had to a sibling. I do recall my parents taking me to visit her at her new home, at the time it felt like she had move to the other end of the earth. We would walk up the hill to the park and visit the shop in the corner with some loose change and buy a bags full of penny sweets, isn’t it funny how you remember these little moments in life as clear as day, as if they were yesterday.
Not long after she had moved the most devastating thing happened. Susie was crossing the main road near her home at the pedestrian crossing when a truck driver ran the red light and she was killed. I cry every time I think about it, even now. It is just heartbreaking. I remember the day of her funeral, I was not allowed to go but a couple of the teachers from school went, my class had a supply teacher for the day and I remember wishing so much that I could have gone.
I’ll pick up from here next week!
For those who are interested in my journey to be a DJ, I’ll be writing a piece each week from where it all started.
So, back in 2018, around June I thought I would download Virtual DJ on to an old laptop and have a mess around. I’m not 100% sure what had triggered this, I don’t think it was any single thing as I have had a passion for house music for many many years and often though about how cool it would be to learn how to DJ, but maybe I just thought the time was right!
I signed up to a DJ pool so that I could access music to play and simply began messing around. I was very quickly hooked and amazed at how simple this tool was to use. After a few weeks of messing around I decided to do a broadcast on virtual DJ to a few of my friends. Their feedback was overwhelming and I became obsessed…………..
1st record ever purchased (please don’t judge me) Superman by Black Lace, obviously with musical taste like this I have always been destined for big things!
Here are some photos from my childhood starting in the top left moving clockwise
1. Susie and me at my 6th birthday party
2. My grandparents, sitting out on the back step
3. My Mum and I enjoying the swing in Scarborough (we went every year for a holiday)
4. My parents and me at, you guessed it, Scarborough
5. Some of the Marlborough Grange gang (I absolutely loved that jacket!)