Profile: Hugh McGuiness
I can vaguely remember my mother and father going to town and returning with the first record player for our family home. It was a Philips Stereo Unit and the very first records they bought were from ‘K-tel’. It had a record deck as well as a tuner and I soon found myself being introduced to the hits of that era. Middle of the Road, Dawn, T-Rex… Yes, it was 1971.
Music centres were just coming in to fashion, but Mum said she didn’t see the need for a tape recorder. In my eyes, this was a massive mistake. I was a kid. In primary school. But I already saw the limitations of not being able to tape the top 40 on a Sunday! All the other kids’ parents were steadily getting a new music centre, which meant that they could! Every week I would be sitting on the edge of the chair with my headphones on listening to the latest tunes to fill the airwaves as the weekly countdown unfolded.
Every time family came round and Mum and Dad had a party, I would be the one in charge of playing the records. They were great days. Everyone had to sing a song and everyone knew the words… without a karaoke monitor!
I can remember clearly the end-of-term party before leaving primary school to move to a new home, as this could be counted as my first DJ gig. Dad took me and my records to school and I played music all day to my class mates. In the class next door a teacher brought in a separates hi-fi that was much clearer and louder than mine, which made me very jealous! I must also admit that I think I was the only one engrossed in the music at that stage, all the other kids were playing games!
Moving on, Dad got a new house as an incoming worker to the Clyde shipyards and I started at school in a new area. During my secondary school years I also started to attend a youth club. It was a weekly meeting for all the kids and there was a disco too, which made it really popular. One day we were all asked if anyone wanted to try out DJing. A competition was organised, where each contestant had to pick a record out and introduce it. Well, could I stop myself? Back in those days it wasn’t what you played, it was all about your presentation on the microphone. How you introduced a song, as it were. “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, that was ‘Blah’ by Joe Blogs. Coming up now, it’s currently no. 1 in the charts…” I’m sure you get the picture.
Anyway, the long and the short of it, I won the competition on the day. So what was the prize? An offer to get involved in the disco business! The DJ was really looking for extra hands to help out!!
My first task was looking after cables. If a cable didn’t work at a gig it was me that got my butt kicked! The old 8-pin Bulgin plugs were always needing some TLC - I’m sure anyone who remembers them will be able to relate!
Unfortunately, this first foray into the world of DJing was short-lived. One time I missed a date when I was meant to be working and the boss was not too impressed and ditched me. Well, that just got me more motivated and I got together with some other guys to start another disco.
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