I hear the sirens calling
As the rain is gently falling

Double Deckers

Acid House DJsI’m both disturbed and intrigued by the news that Simon Cowell is preparing an “X Factor”-style TV talent show for DJs. I suppose I shouldn’t really be surprised that Cowell wants to extent his already excessive influence over another area of the music industry – and funnel more money into his bank account along the way – but he’s a wee bit late in his assertion that “DJs are the new rock stars”. Err, Simon, people have been saying that for well over 20 years.

I don’t feel any better about Cowell’s new show – I hope he calls it “Double Deckers” – knowing he’s joining forces with Overbrook Entertainment, a US production firm founded by Will Smith. By rights, Smith ought to have a solid understanding of the noble art of turntablism. When he first adopted the name The Fresh Prince, he was a rapper not a fictional TV character, and his partner was Jazzy Jeff, one of the finest hip hop scratch DJs of his day. As it goes, I interviewed Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince once. Lovely blokes they were too. The trouble is, Will Smith won’t be involved in the development of Cowell’s DJ show. Overbrook’s input will instead be directed by Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. And she’s a singer in a heavy metal band.

However dismayed I might be at the notion of “Double Deckers” (please call it that, Simon), it’ll be fascinating to see how this pans out. Who will the judges be and what will they be judging? Beat matching and scratching skills, that’s for sure, but what about the use of effects and samples? Will contestants be judged on their choice of tunes? How will they be able to demonstrate building a set and steering a crowd? Will any spinner who’s got any sense want to join what will inevitably be a circus freak show? If it’s not a circus freak show, it won’t be watchable telly. If they’re actually any good, wouldn’t they rather take a stab at the highly respected DMC DJ Championships, which have been running in the UK and the US since 1985?

Thinking about it, there are still lots of mobile disco jocks out there, so perhaps these are the guys who will be queueing round the block when the auditions roll into town. In which case, you can forget mixing and scratching. The winner of Simon Cowell’s DJ show will be based on the ability to suddenly fade a track out and breathe unnaturally heavily into a microphone while saying, “Will the owner of the green Nissan Almera please move it because you’re blocking in the hall caretaker and she wants to get off home because she’s got the doctors first thing tomorrow. I’ll play some slow ones in a minute, but first off here’s an old favourite by The Dooleys…”

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5 Comments on “Double Deckers”

  1. Roacilynn says:

    Very interesting, I didn’t know he was doing this. I grew up in a world where DJ’s were a huge part of the music we lived in…even owned a turntable myself. Kinda excited to watch…btw, great blog!

  2. Neil Mason says:

    Double Deckers was my favourite TV show when I was knee-high. Bunch of kids, hung out in an old Routemaster in the world’s coolest scrapyard. I remember it because it starred my very first crush, a girl called Tiger. Just Googled and the show first aired in the UK in 1970/71, which made me four. Clearly remember thinking she was lovely.

    Stuff I didn’t know. The leader of the gang, Scooper, was played by Peter Firth or Harry Pierce from Spooks and also featured Brinsley Forde, who went on to be the singer in Aswad. Tiger was played by Debbie Russ who is a newsreader on south west London’s Radio Jackie… which was one of the original pirate radio stations first broadcasting in the late sixties. Some excellent pics here… http://www.radiojackie.com/historymain.htm.

  3. Push says:

    @Roacilynn Thanks for your kind words ma’am!

    @Neil I thought everyone knew Brinsley “Spring” Forde was in Aswad? I remember Tiger, but I remember Billie (played by Gillian Bailey) better. Some great stuff on that link to Radio Jackie, by the way.

  4. Stoo says:

    yes – if its not too sad a confession i googled tiger not long ago and found her rather, ahem, hot. I’m trying to find my favorite “why dont you” girl next…on a sad note Donut from the deckers died last year i believe..next Push i demand a subject that turns us round to discussing the banana splits…

  5. Debbie Russ – ahh, the memories.

    Back before life became complex with the boring stuff like work, family, income tax, bills and the x factor. Miss those days.


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