“It was Ibiza, 1998, and I had spent several days ligging behind the decks with the world’s best DJs desperately trying to figure out how they did it, but no-one showed the least bit of interest in letting me have a bash on the wheels of steel until Edinburgh’s Voodoo Club offered me a gig out of the blue. I took a flight there.
“The bag of tunes I had taken optimistically to Ibiza was still with me, covered with shingle, crumbs of Moroccan soap bar, and a variety of compressed insects. I had no cloths to clean them. I panicked and started screaming for record cleaners. Glasgow jock handed me a small box. 'For Christ's sake, these are Brillo pads, not record cleaners. It's my tunes that are filthy, not my dishes nor my dick', I said.
“'Trust me Howard. DJs from the Highlands always clean their records with Brillo pads. The record-cleaning industry is a scam. We know because we run it'.
“New to DJing, I couldn’t claim to know the tricks of the trade. Brillo pads might well be more effective than the new sophisticated stuff. They were certainly cheaper. I fished out some arbitrary vinyl, stuck it on the deck, and gently applied the Brillo pad. The sand and some squashed mosquitoes turned white. I double-checked the speed (I'm always worried about messing up on that one), and put the needle down right at the beginning of the track. It slid gracefully over the soap-covered vinyl and started playing the label. The room emptied.”
Howard Marks is touring his brand new show Scholar, Smuggler, Prisoner, Scribe throughout the autumn.
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