A love letter to Newport’s nightlife – 1992

today30 January 2024 165

share close

In 2017 I proudly wrote a blog series which tied up my love of Newport, clubbing and radio. Now let’s revisit it.

At that point I’d been dj-ing for 25 years mainly in Newport. Whilst it’s not in my nature to look back, as I arrive at my quarter century I’m feeling that I want to re-ignite some cool memories and celebrate my successes with you.

Each week, I’m going to take each year in order from 1992-2017.  I’ll be selecting five songs from each year which will hopefully take us back in time to that moment. What was I doing with my life and how have those songs shaped my memories. It would be great to hear from you too on social media.

It’s 1992, the year the dj geezer officially began after a few test gigs in the Blakes cafe bar in the old John Frost Square and the Bank on Griffin street. I also had my first taste of radio at the Royal Gwent Hospital.

I’m studying A Levels. I’m the 17yr old Station Manager of Lliswerry High School Radio presenting Monday and Friday lunchtime shows. The studio is based in a biology prep lab on the 3rd floor, hard wired by myself and some friends as a ‘radio station’, by crawling through ceiling tiles when we should have been at games lesson. Nowadays, this would violate all sorts of health and safety regulations. There is no swish radio desk or equipment. The diamond of a head teacher, Mr Cowan has given me £700 budget and access to the school minibus to pop to Tandy’s – the ”IN shops” in Kingsway – to pick up two Realistic branded turntables, a cassette player and according to my mate Clive, something that turns music into electric current and then at the speaker changes it back to music and vibrations again. Magic!
I was driving too. I had an orange Vauxhall Astra that cost me £100.

Then something big happened… I found an advert in the job centre for a ‘light jockey’. I had no idea what that was. All I knew was it was at my fave club, Brooklyn Heights on Stow Hill. I got the job.

My thing was to play a touchpad lighting desk (so head of its time as far as computing went). The talent… Mr Ray Heaven played the tunes I would select the right combination of lights to flash in time. Epically the night would start with a ‘lightshow’, a mad way to introduce the customers to the dancefloor. Ray would pick a big banger of the tune and help me choregraph the light and smoke machines around it. And I got paid for it!

 So what are my five big tunes that sum up 1992?

The Floorfiller: Not necessarily my favourite, but one that I’ve used (or seen used) to pack a dancefloor.
Heaven 17 – Temptation (Brothers in rhythm remix)

It’s a bit odd starting with a remix of an 80’s tune. This had it all for a decent light show. According to Wikipedia, In 1992, the new mix charted at number 4 on the UK singles chart, and reached number 1 in the UK dance charts. The 1992 remix of “Temptation” was certified silver by the BPI in January 1993, for sales exceeding 200,000 copies.

Could have easily been Prodigy – Out of space, KWS – Please Don’t Go or Snap – Rhythm is a dancer or Undercover – Baker Street (who did a live P.A at Brooklyn Heights)

The Twister: This is a song from that year which I normally wouldn’t have fallen in love with, but I did.
SL2 – On a ragga tip

Admission. I wasn’t cool enough to brave the illegal rave scene or brave/stupid enough to do drugs. Still loved the music. According to Wikipedia On A Ragga Tip, released through XL Recordings, spent 11 weeks in the UK charts. It peaked at number two and was their first song to chart across Europe. Could have easily been Shamen – Ebeneezer goode, Smart E’s – Sesames Treat or Utah Saints – Something good.

The Clubber: The one song that wanted to get me onto the dancefloor.
Janet Jackson and Luther Vandross – Best things in life are free

How happy and positive can one tune get? I still own this on 12 inch vinyl and still play it when I’m djing, especially if DJ Mad Andy calls in as he loves it. Produced by legendary Jackson producers, Jam and Lewis this was created for the soundtrack of the film ‘Mo Money’. According to Wikipedia it peaked at number 2, spending 13 weeks in the chart. It became Jackson’s first top ten hit in the UK since “Let’s Wait Awhile” in 1987. The song was remixed in 1995 and re-released, reaching number 7.

Could have easily been, Was Not Was – Shake your head, George Michael – Fastlove,  or Ce Ce Peniston – Finally

The Coolest: This is the tune that I felt was the coolest yet mainstream song of the year.
Arrested Development – People Everyday

For someone who says they’re not into their RnB this maybe the starting point in proving myself wrong. I learnt from Ray that when dj-ing you can switch between styles and genres. Something I continue to do to this day. According to Wikipedia borrowing from Sly and the family stones 1969 tune, Everyday people, it peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart, just behind End Of The Road by Boyz II Men.

Could have easily been, Jon Secada – Just another day, Ten Sharp – You or Shanice – I love your smile.

The Radio Tune: The one that take me back to listening to the radio or playing it on my show wherever that has been.
Tasmin Archer – Sleeping Satellite

Obsessed with Radio 1, I was shocked when DJ Gary Davies was moved from weekday lunchtimes to weekend breakfast. Fortunately, he was also give Sunday nights 10pm – 2pm with a show called ‘Pure Quality’. Playing the best radio tunes and the best oldies this was essential listening for me. A new track, Mr Davies introduces me to a tune that still lives on my music player even today. According to Wikipedia, in homage to the Apollo moon missions of the 1960’s the Sleeping Satellite is actually the moon! Sleeping Satellite swiftly rose up the UK charts to the number one spot, replacing “Ebeneezer Goode” by The Shamen. It stayed there for two weeks, before being dethroned by Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road”.

Could have easily been Charles and Eddie – Would I lie to you, Jimmy Nail – Ain’t no doubt or Sophie B Hawkins – Damn I wish I was your lover.

That’s almost it from 1992. At the end of each blog I’d like to thank some people who made the year very special for me.

Big love to Mr Heaven, Simon Davies, James, Jim, Mike, Candy, Bill, Jax and if he’s still knocking around the strange owner – Mr Raj and top customer, Mat James and all my mates who seemed to have birthdays on a weekly basis due to the free bottles of bubbly.

Written by: Ian.Lamsdale

Rate it

Post comments (0)

Leave a reply

Join our VIP club

Free Tickets, Exclusive news, Guest access to special events, and a chance to be part of our team