Since I was about 10, I’d been pulling record players apart, fixing toasters, and playing around with anything electrical. I once made a set of ‘micro disco lights’ with a load of tiny torch bulbs which I painted different colours and mounted on a piece of silver cardboard cut from a Nesquick milk shake powder container (I hate Nestle and all they stand for). A battery and loads of switches meant I could make the different bulbs flash in time with any music I chose to play. I regularly raided the local dump in the small town in the beautiful county of Devon where I lived, and brought back bits of old TVs (which gave me some excellent electric shocks), car headlights, radios and even bits of old fridges.
One of my best recycling masterpieces was at the age of about 15 when I made a ‘still’ (a still makes almost pure distilled alcohol) from the copper tubing from an old fridge and a windscreen wiper pump ripped out of an old dumped car.
I’d also studied electronics at school and loved it, Mr Ellis was my electronics and woodworking teacher and he was wonderful. I ended up spending all my free time building things like electric guitars, radios, guitar amps and disco lighting. By the time I was 18 in 1980, I’d built an entire disco system and I mean the lot. Lights, amps speakers and a DJ mixing console.
I built a DJ mixing console that had two record decks mounted in a wooden frame with a pre-amp that had a stereo fader wired as a ‘cross fader’ where one volume goes up while the other crosses it going down so you could mix across from one deck to the other. Not quite as smooth as today’s version but it worked! Due to an unfortunate under calculation in the capacity of a wire link, the entire thing caught fire one night...
In my late teenage years I ended up organising discos in and around my hometown in Devon, I’d use the lights, speakers and the DJ console I’d built. My mate Ross and I would DJ the whole night between us and we loved it. I became hooked on music and electronics and I have been ever since… Well actually, I now realise that I was hooked on trying to make people happy; my method of choice, was via music and electronics - and I still do that with the not-for-profit clubbing organisation Planet Angel.