Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Leave me my name!

Some time back I said I would tell you why I use the name 'crowd-pleasers' (currently it's in my website URL, my blog URL and it's also now my 'publisher'...if blog URL is nonsense...sorry about that - Tech Support is at work...someone has to be...). So would you like to know why I use the name? Sit down comfortably and I'll begin...

In about 1992 I started DJing. It was a pretty bizarre series of events...it wasn't something I had ever thought about doing but I was deeply involved in Raveworld and at times like that (and in worlds like that) the strangest things can seem 'like a good idea'. Just ask Amy Winehouse...at least I never married a rubbish gangster. Anyway, a friend and I started DJing on the Leeds pirate radio station Dream FM - mainly because all the DJs were male and it was thought by someone (I can't quite remember who...might have been me!) that a few girls' voices would be a good idea too. We used the names Daisy & Havoc...guess which one I was...We had some records of our own, we borrowed some off my then boyfriend (hello Sean of Smith) and we spent a lot of time buying cheap records in charity shops and at car boot sales.

It was a lot of fun and we ended up getting quite a bit of paid work in nightclubs - particularly the quite trendy Leeds club - Vague. I've never been what you could ever call trendy so it was a new world...great...for a while. It was at Vague that I first came across the term 'crowd-pleaser' I suppose. To DJs it is just a big record, a safe bet, something you know will fill a dancefloor...it can also be a 'floorfiller' (clever, eh... no-one ever said DJs had to be inventive linguistically..).If you're a DJ you might want to 'educate' the crowd with new music some of the time but your job is to make people dance pretty much. They have paid for a good time and they come to dance...you have to play some big tunes (sorry, that's what they were called!) or your night is pretty painful and so is everyone else's. We were not the most crowd-pleasing of the DJs at Vague (far from it) but we tried to play an interesting mix and we did OK. We worked there for quite a while - had a lot of adventures. It was what was then called a mixed/gay club. It was fairly lively.

Eventually the club lifestyle took its toll on... everything really and I had to retire at the grand age of about 30. I had one or two braincells left. I still have them. I hid in a cupboard (OK, a very small flat) for a few years and then I met the Beloved (not the band!), had Small Girl, generally returned to planet Earth. About that time I started writing more seriously (up till then I'd just written as a small-time journalist) and one of the things I wrote was a collection of stories - 8 in all, some long, some short. I'll post a link to them some time...not this week. They were all about people who work as modern-day crowd-pleasers in some way - one was a club DJ, one a tabloid journalist, one a model, one a film studies lecturer, one a poet (appearing at a reading), one a chick-lit-type novelist, one a conference organiser, one a small-time music journalist going to a dance music convention (yes, they do exist!). They weren't bad stories I don't think - maybe they'll come into their own sometime - but after I'd worked on them for a while I discovered I was happier writing poetry and that I seemed to be able to finish a poem whereas with prose I can sometimes just ramble on..and on...and on...

The stories were up on-line for a while and it was then that I starting using www.crowd-pleasers.net as my website. When I started putting poems on-line a few years ago I decided to stick with the same name. I know 'crowd-pleaser' does get used as an insult sometimes in Poetryworld but that doesn't bother me a whole lot - in fact it makes the awkward bugger in me laugh. Plus after some of the craziness in Raveworld Poetryworld bitching is really nothing to get one's knickers in a twist about. Personally I find it interesting to think about the audience, the reader, the rest of the world...what do they think when they read or hear our poems...what do they like, what do they feel? That's not to say I write to please...I absolutely do not...but I do think about crowd-pleasing as a subject, as a whole. I think about what pleases me when I'm part of the crowd and then I go off and think about it from the other side too. That's why I've kept the name.

So now you know...and you can go back to Jim's and read that lovely review again.

p.s. Anyone know where the title for this post came from? Come on quotation spotters...

16 comments:

Ken Armstrong said...

Is it from the Daniel Day Lewis movie The Crucible? (That's kind of a joke)

If I'm right, you have to go to mine and identify the title without looking at the comments (where my clever friend Fiendish has already cracked it).

'Got some lovely post today - it was like a recyclable Christmas! :)

Rachel Fox said...

Go to the top of the class Ken. It is from 'The Crucible'..although I've not seen the film..I got my quote from my high school copy of the play. I remember that last scene really distinctly and it's funny because I am not attached to my name particularly. I've had lots of different names. But then I've never been involved in a witchcraft trial either.

Hope you like the book...I'd love to know which poems you like most.

Rachel Fox said...

And by the way Arthur Miller's autobiography 'Timebends - a Life' is a great read. He was a marvellous man.

Art Durkee said...

That's an interesting context in which to put the bitching in Poetryworld: it's nothing compared to other worlds. I appreciate that, especially at the moment, as the poetry world can get very vicious very quickly. I just lost a set of friends over it, in a small online poetry corner, as I chose to speak my truth rather than drink the kool-aid along with anyone else.

There was a comment made once about academia, that also seems apt, to the effect that the reason the infighting can get so vicious is because there's so very little at stake.

Speaking of witch trials, that is . . .

Rachel Fox said...

I read a very similar comment (re there being little at stake) about poetry. It's funny - so little at stake and yet so much at stake all at the same time. In my off-line life I don't meet many poets (not out of closet ones anyway). I come and meet them here in the funny real-but-not-real place and...much like any other section of society...some are amazing, some are depressing, some are hilarious, some are well... a little uptight. I was uptight once...what a joy to leave all that crap behind and unwind...unwind...unwind...

Nice job tying up the themes there by the way...I hadn't intended to make a link (trials, stakes, good vs evil)...that 'Crucible' quote just floats round my head sometimes. Funny how much of school stays with us for so long!

richard said...

This is utterly random but I was feeling nostalgic and googled "Daisy and Havoc" and found your blog. You won't remember me from Adam but I used to come into that little record shop you 2 worked in opposite the Corn Exchange and I was pretty regular down at the Cockpit because I was mates with Chris and Julian and so I caught you djing a few times. I actually still remember going nuts when you played "Da Bass 2 Dark"... Anywho, I felt compelled to post a message and here it is! I'm glad things are going well for you, sounds like you have a nice relaxed life. Take care.

Rich

Rachel Fox said...

Hi Richard
Thanks for the lovely message. It's nice to know that two daft girls playing drum & bass from behind a chip counter has left some fond memories for someone other than just us! We used to love playing at the Cockpit...it was a nice change from Vague and all the false eyelashes and coked-up nonsense!
It is a weird coincidence because I was playing 'Da bass too dark' about 2 days ago. We had some visitors and we were giving a younger relative her rave and associated musics vinyl education (cue embarrassing middle-aged people dancing around like lunatics...). I'm not sure why I've ended up with that 12" as really it was the person formerly known as Daisy who was L Double's fan out of the two of us. L has done well, I think, which is good. He is a lovely bloke as well as a king of bass.
I do remember your name but your face is not joining with it in my memory! I'll pass the message onto as-was Daisy (she was up here visiting earlier this month...we're still friends..both old mothers now...).
Thanks so much for commenting. We spent a lot of time on all that DJ and record shop business....it's always nice to be remembered!
What are you up tp these days?
Rachel/Havoc...lots of other names...
x

richard said...

Your still mates? That's nice, is good to have people in your life you've known a long time, they become more like extended family don't they? I've just finished a degree in Multimedia so now I'm on the lookout to be the next Michel Gondrey haha! University at 30 is an eyeopener, I'll tell you that, listening to these kids stories and thinking "Jesus! And you're still alive?" and then remembering you did the exact same things 10 years ago... They all thought I was a legend because I bought "Nevermind" WHEN IT CAME OUT.

I'm trying to think if you might remember me, the only thing I can think is that I was basically the only kid who used to actually dance in that little backroom, flailing around like an idiot, arms and legs akimbo.

Yes please, pass my regards on to the artist formerly known as Daisy!

Rachel Fox said...

Yes and extended family can be so much nicer than the real thing!
Good luck with multimedia. I'm not sure I even know what that is! But I am well over 30...
I've been amazed by some of the music fashions that have lasted or been revisited. I used to be a heavy rocker as a teenager and I never thought I would see the day when people in AC/DC t shirts were anything like cool but I have seen that happen in recent years. Quite unexpected. And funny.
x

richard said...

I saw a kid on the campus with a Misfits t-shirt so I say "Do you like the Misfits then?" and he said "They're a real band? I bought it at Topman..." Or maybe it was Dead Kennedys... Anyway, the point is still salient.

Anonymous said...

same as richard! i was a regular myself at the funny old flea market place next to the corn exchange...! the reason i've come looking for you is i had a mixtape back in the day from Daisy & Havoc.. some bugger nicked it 15 years ago and until now i forgot all about it. It had some amazing stuff on it, stuff i never heard outside of your tape but would just love to have the chance to hear it again... i don't suppose........

dan
x

Rachel Fox said...

Hi Dan and thanks for calling in. It's so nice to be remembered after all this time. That flea market place was Waterloo Antiques...long changed into something else now I expect. As for the mixtape...we only did a few (maybe 3?) so I probably have still got a copy of each one somewhere. Can you remember any of the tracks that were on it to help me choose which one it was. If I haven't got it used-to-be-Daisy probably will. Of course we didn't have them on computer files or anything...if we have it it will just be a cassette. Still, let me know. You can send me an email to make it easier. Email is author@crowd-pleasers.net

I noticed the other day that they have facebook fan clubs for lots of the old clubs and that there is a Vague one! I keep meaning to go and have a look.

Rave on and all that...

x

Anonymous said...

i loved that shop, i found the twa mix of disco biscuit which at the time was as rare as the proverbial rocking horse poo... ahh good times digging through your boxes (oooh err!)

one track i recall, and i am a bit fuzzy in the memory department from that particular era, was this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pvc0C-Ce2w
if that helps you recall which tape then brilliant! i would happily pay for a copy, or even if you could provide a tracklist that would be amazing.. there was one track that blew me away and i'm scared i'll never hear it again or find it! oh yeh, one more track was Mel'isa Morgan 'Still In Love With You'...
thanks! x

Rachel Fox said...

Well, I have found a tape with that 'read my lips' cotton club track on (turned up so fast...what were we like?). I've started listening to it and will try and get a track list for you (probably won't remember every detail..) plus a file of some sort to pass on or something.

Give me a few days and then email me or something. OK?

x

Anonymous said...

if you don't mind that would be amazing!! thanks so much rachel! i'm so excited!!! xx

Rachel Fox said...

I listened to it last night. It's all so fast! We got a bit slower later on...I think. This was a very early mixtape (and it shows in places!) so early that I can't remember the names of some of the tracks at all (though I have remembered about two thirds of them). I remembered that the last track on side a was called the Rachel Tune! I don't think I have that anymore. Shame - great track.

I'll speak to the technical department about how to transfer it all (crap mixes and all). I'll need an email address for you though.

x