t was 2012. We had an administrator for Newport City Radio, I deejayed the annual V Awards and managed to get the police to kiss my ass. This was not going to be a ‘normal’ year. Anyone for pizza?
It was year four of Newport City Radio, but only our first full year as an individual Community Interest Company. Our attendance at local events was keeping us above board financially. Our radio training ‘division’ kept us fresh in terms of ideas, with new volunteers joining our ranks. The training settled into a twelve-week pattern: two weeks to recruit and register, eight weeks to deliver the content and two weeks to accredit and wrap up the paperwork. The success of this system can be summed up in two words: Kerry Duke.
Kerry was employed by Charter Housing and seconded to us one afternoon a week. I still don’t know what an ‘administrator’ does, but I know when we have a good one, and Kerry was the best. Everything was in place for Dale and me to focus on making sure the attendees had a great time with us. Kerry did the rest.
I was enjoying my Saturday nights in Breeze. 2012 was the year that we had the V Awards in the bar. I very much enjoyed running the sound system that night, even if I did get photographed with a Capital FM microphone! Due to the recession, my Sundays in the Greyhound were on the decline. People just didn’t have the money to spend. On one of those quiet Sundays I had a very cheeky meeting with Rob Stewart and Robbie White, organised by someone who has always had my back, Rob Steed. We were there, me and three Robs, sat in my current residency talking about the possibility of my next one. I was a bit embarrassed as the Sunday night was hardly a great advert for my skills.
Rob Stewart did most of the talking, but was quite cagey about the venue they wanted me for. I knew they’d had a bit of success with Under the Arches on Stow Hill, but this was to be a move to the immediate town centre. I trusted Rob Steed, I liked Rob Stewart and poor Robbie couldn’t get a word in. In the end, it was easy. I would work Friday in the new club and in time move my Sunday over too. I would still be able to do my night Saturday at Breeze.
The new club was the old Quids Inn where I’d left on bad terms in 2002. As my favourite venue in Newport, and with the thought that we had some unfinished business, I got started, with a new name: ‘KMA’. Within a few months, we asked for an extension to the licensing hours to 6am. The local police liaison officer objected so Rob, Robbie and I had to go to meeting at the council chambers to put our case forward. Firstly, a very awkward question for a respected council elder: what did KMA stand for? Rob indicated it was street slang and chose the French word ‘derriere’ to add to ‘Kiss My’. I think the honourable gentleman got the message.
Following on from that I got quite agitated. Representatives from the police were making comments about the amount of trouble that we had in the venue. While having absolute respect for the police, I knew this was a blatant lie. We didn’t have many customers to have any ‘problems’, hence why we were seeking extended opening hours. I found myself challenging the police, via the chair of the meeting, by repeating the same line: ‘Where is your evidence to support this?’ Injustice makes me angry and I couldn’t believe that this one was coming from our own law enforcement bodies. After hearing all sides of the argument, we were all sent out whiled the panel to discussed and deliberated. After what felt like hours we were invited back in for the ruling. We won! KMA would be open till 6am. If there were issues of bad behaviour on Market Street, they could not be levied at Rob and Robbie. Benefit of the doubt had to be given to us to run the business safely, which we did.
KMA was cheeky in name and nature. Iffy had just opened Warehouse 54. It was beautiful. Newly fitted out, open in the day and night, and providing food - mainly pizzas! We had a wreck of a building that was just a nightclub, so that was our proposition. In a town where clubs had closed and bars and pubs had club hours, ours was to be ‘Newport’s only decent nightclub’. This seemed to upset some of team Iffy so we modified it to ‘Newport’s Proper Nightclub’. I also added the tagline, “We don’t do pizzas.” #badlamsie
So, what are my five big tunes that sum up 2012?
The Floorfiller: Not necessarily my favourite, but one that I’ve used (or seen used) to pack a dancefloor.
Swedish House Mafia – 'Don’t You Worry Child'
Pure KMA anthem. Lights on, smoke pumping, everyone singing it on the dancefloor. According to Wikipedia:
"The song was announced during the Swedish House Mafia's tour of Australia while they played at Future Music Festival 2012. They say it was made from the inspiration they took from the beauty of Australia. The title ‘Don't You Worry Child’ was mentioned a few times, with hints from the group members themselves on their Twitter pages. When it was announced that the tour the Swedish House Mafia was about to set on would be their last, a farewell single was also announced – ‘Don't You Worry Child’ being that single".
Could have easily been: Nicki Minaj – ‘Starships’, LMFAO – 'Sexy and I Know It', Labrinth feat. Tinie Tempah – 'Earthquake', Otto Knows – ‘Million Voices', or Nicki Minaj – 'Pound the Alarm'.
The Twister: This is a song from that year which I normally wouldn’t have fallen in love with, but I did.
Of Monsters and Men – 'Little Talks'
Radio 1 was on the change again and I thought it sounded dull and miserable. This one on their playlist had a bit of energy about it and had me hooked. According to Wikipedia:
"The song holds the record for the longest climb to reach the top 40 of the chart with 30 weeks. ‘Little Talks’ is also the highest charting single to date on that chart by an Icelandic artist".
Could have easily been: Fun feat. Janelle Monae – 'We Are Young', Azalia Banks feat. Lazy Jay – '212', Train – 'Drive By' or The Script feat. Will.i.am – 'Hall of Fame'.
The Clubber: The one song that wanted to get me onto the dancefloor.
Alex Clare – 'Too Close'
I love a moody track… and this is moody. I also love songs with a simple story behind them. According to Wikipedia:
"Too Close was inspired by a particular relationship with a close friend that turned romantic. He said, 'One thing led to another, but it didn't really work out and that felt too close.'"
Could have easily been: Rudimental feat. John Newman – 'Feel the Love', Drake feat. Rihanna – 'Take Care', Rita Ora feat. Tinie Tempah – 'R.I.P', Flo Rida – 'Good Feeling' or Rihanna – 'Where Have You Been'.
The Coolest: This is the tune that I felt was the coolest yet mainstream song of the year.
Gotye feat. Kimbra – 'Somebody That I Used To Know'.
And on the theme of a very simple message, this time coupled with an uncomplicated soundtrack. According to Wikipedia:
"Somebody That I Used To Know was written and recorded by Gotye at his parents' house on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria and is lyrically related to the experiences he has had with relationships".
Could have easily been: Jay-Z feat. Kanye West – 'Paris', Rizzle Kicks – 'Mama Do The Hump', Flo Ria feat. Sia – 'Wild Ones', Ed Sheeran – 'Lego House' or Mumford and Sons – 'I Will Wait'.
The Radio Tune: The one that take me back to listening to the radio or playing it on my show wherever that has been.
Avicii – 'Levels'.
Another near perfect dance anthem. The tune to start the night at KMA. According to Wikipedia:
"Levels contains a vocal sample from the 1962 gospel-inspired song ‘Something's Got a Hold on Me’ by Etta James, as written by Leroy Kirkland, Pearl Woods and James. …. Flo Rida's single ‘Good Feeling’, which became a worldwide hit in late 2011, was primarily influenced by ‘Levels’ and its Etta James sample. Many fans and critics consider ‘Levels’ to be Avicii's greatest song and one of the greatest EDM songs of all time, mostly due to its chart success and the recognisable synth riff."
Could have easily been: David Guetta feat. Sia – ‘Titanium’, Carly Rae Jepsen –'Call Me Maybe', Jessie J – 'Domino', Maroon 5 feat. Wiz Khalifa – 'Payphone' or Taylor Swift – 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together'.
That’s almost it from 2012. Thank you to Rob and Robbie for trusting me with KMA and always Mr Steed for being my biggest supporter and setting up that meeting. Who knew that in 2017 he’d be a bloody great DJ in his own right. Talking of great DJ's thanks to Mat James for taking on Saturday nights at KMA, great working alongside a friendly face from the Brooklyn Heights days. Talking of 2017, big love to Angharad Morgan who stopped me in the street on Sunday to tell me off for not including her when I mentioned the Greyhound girls a few weeks back. Even though she wasn’t technically staff, I’ll not be allowed to rest until I put it right. Hi Angharad ?
I’d also like to thank the team at Atlantica Café Bar on Market Street for sponsoring this series of blogs. She’s back, every Wednesday… Top Totty has your midweek singalong from 10pm.
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