50 tunes for 50 years: Nitro Deluxe

It was Guildford 1987 and I had heard a tune like no other, a tune I couldn’t get out of my head. A glorious man called Mark I had found myself house sharing with (responsible for enough gay life lessons to last me, well, a lifetime) was a disco devotee and always happy to confirm my first childhood love for the cowbell and strings. But he was also into this thing called house, a heavenly new genre-gaining pilgrims across the land. And thanks to a way better soundsystem than mine he could easily drown out my upstairs Smiths meets Cocteau Twins meets Bauhaus sessions with his ground floor four-to-the-floor anytime.

He had been playing this one track over (and over and over) and when we hit the clubs or I made it to a rave somewhere in those Surrey fields, there it was, cascading out of the speakers like a new religion after a convert. After me. I was the convert. Which probably explains the religious fervour that got me past the nerves and into some achingly cool looking record shop to buy a copy. Not knowing the title or the artist wasn’t going to stop me. Luckily the dude behind the counter (it was always a dude in those days, it would be a while before women like Dulcie and Tula made record shopping the true joy it was meant to be) got my rambling request for a record that went like… My acid-tinged ramblings of ding ding, ding ding ding ding, ding ding, ding ding ding ding, dooo dooo dooo dooo dooo dooo and dodgy choral renditions of “groove to the millimetre” that produced the vinyl goods as he shoved a copy of Nitro Deluxe’s Lets Get Brutal (Mega Mix / US) on a label called Cooltempo into my thrilled hands.

From that moment on a new direction had been taken in my life. A thing called house became the thing that would make me and become the thing I lived for, the thing that would lead me to the DJ box, to clubland, to radio, to my nearest and dearest and to my queen (as well as so, many, many, many other glorious queens!) All because of a ding ding, a doo doo and a move to a millimetre. Blimey, one move to a different house, a different flatmate or a better soundsystem and I could have remained an indie Goth the whole of my life. My disco spine shudders.

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