“It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon” became my mantra this weekend. On Saturday 27th July I DJed and broadcasted for 24 hours straight on Barricade Radio, my internet radio station, in aid of CALM. It had been a long time coming – I got the idea back in March, made it public in April (this was probably the hardest step, as it made it real, and something I couldn’t turn back from), and have spent the last few months spreading the word, getting people involved and planning the show.
I started by putting word out amongst my friends and fellow Barricade DJs asking who wanted to be a part of it. I decided that having guests pop in for 30 minute slots would be the way forward – any longer than that and it wouldn’t feel like such a personal achievement for me (incidentally, I had already set the ground rules that I wasn’t allowed to sleep or repeat any songs), and 30 minutes is just about the right time to stretch my legs, use the bathroom, or grab some food and drink. The response was really overwhelming – I am extremely lucky to have a lot of talented and supportive friends, and we ended up with 12 people willing to guest (even at extremely unsociable hours) on the day. Another two of my friends offered their nice spacious house and garden as a venue, and we decided we would have a BBQ for everyone who wanted to come along.
As the weeks ticked by I drew up a running order for the guests, spent a month devoting all my spare moments to picking tracks, and even got sent special Barricade 24 badges (including personalised ones for the DJs) by the lovely folks at Big Wow Badges.
Finally the day was upon us – having spent the previous evening setting up Mission Control, we were ready to start. I got up at 7am and headed over, armed with a bag full of energy drinks, a change of socks and determination to get the task done.
I didn’t really know what to expect from the listeners, but during the first two hours I played lots of, mostly old, mostly funky music to an increasingly swelling listenership, which peaked during the first guest slot, from CALM volunteer Hannah Goodwin, who made her DJ debut. She was incredibly nervous but pulled it off with aplomb – and then proceeded to spend the rest of the marathon taking awesome pictures. What a trooper! As the afternoon progressed with excellent sets from Roy D’Cour, DJ Municipal and Hedonism Bot, the music got increasingly more uptempo, and the sun was shining. People started gradually turning up to support and party with me, and by the time DTism and AKA got we had a full house bopping to their party breaks. At 8pm it was time to let the party properly kick off, and I pulled out all my breakbeat, drum and bass and dubstep favourites for the next few hours – helped out by Ms Codex who guested and even dropped an exclusive new tune to rapturous reception. Thankfully The Bothersome Man popped in to chill things out a little with his indie dance stylings before the roof actually came off. After that we took things darker and techier, and Jo Cliche and Cloud spun their dark musical magic taking us in the small hours. By 2am I had started feeling a little unwell – Possibly the result of too much caffeine and over-exertion! But after a quick breather during Jo Cliche’s spot I was ready to go again. The party started to wind down a little during the early hours, with Kit Rathener’s more ambient 3.30am slot suiting the mood perfectly, and Owlin’s 5.00am set kicking things back up a gear for those who were still going.
At 5.30am I was back at the decks with 3.5 hours to go – I can’t lie, it was a struggle. I tried to shut my eyes for a few minutes before I went back on, but, mindful of my rules, my friends kept me awake with coffee. For the next two hours the time seemed to slow right down, and the calmer nature of the early morning music I was playing was more for the people snoozing than for the benefit of keeping me awake! However at 7.30am people started to wake up, and the radio station chatroom started to fill up again. I abandoned my playlist for some party classics, and before long I had a room of people dancing at 8am! This perked me right up and I was able to finish the marathon off on a proper high, with people cheering their lungs out (apologies to the neighbours). I finished with some of my favourite records of all time (Luther Vandross’s Never Too Much was the final tune), and it felt like a real achievement. However by this time I was so tired I had to immediately pack up and go home to bed – I was probably fast asleep by 9.30am. After a couple of days of feeling rather the worse for wear I am now able to look back and appreciate the event, I had great fun (despite gruelling moments) and send all my love and respect to everyone who helped out on the day, with extra thanks going to Roy D’Cour for being tech dude and to Stonecypher for manning the social media for a full 24 hours, and in the weeks running up. We managed to make well over a thousand pounds for CALM!
Here’s to next year!