Jay Wearden – Going Underground – The Story Of A Manchester (UK) DJJanuary 4, 2021
Jay Wearden was and is a pioneering & successful underground DJ who is a born n bred native of Manchester, a northern UK city and once a bastion of Acid House/Dance music culture!
His journey began on the tough streets of East Manchester, where street cred and being streetwise where an essential factor of day to day life until that is, when he embraced what would become a massive global music revolution unmatched then or since!
Manchester is very well known for its most talked about (press wise) club brand ‘The Hacienda‘, which leads many to think that it was all the city offered as regards venues and clubs, which really isn’t the case. Jay cut his teeth in the other tougher clubs of this infamous city, namely ‘The Thunderdome’ and the Hippodrome (Hippos)
Jay has just published his life story and his rise up through the Manc’ dance music scene and has kindly allowed us to publish excerpts from each chapter starting today with chapters one & two – ‘Openshaw’ & ‘Hip Hop’ which will continue over the next 14 weeks.
This a fantastic insight into the rise and influence a working-class man had on the embryonic dance music scene after turning his back on gang warfare, to help establish Manchester as one of the most respected Acid house/Dance music cities in the world. Here is his story….
CHAPTER ONE – OPENSHAW (Excerpt)
……… I could see big battles happening and lads coming up the drive way. Word had got out it was birthday and they were coming for us. My brother Matt and my mates were all fighting. It was really intense and a full on riot with a few going to hospital, Matt ended up having a broken cheek and one guy from the other side in intensive care. With a shit-load of riot vans and a large police presence, happy birthday Jason and all that the madness happened in front of my whole family.
That night I didn’t join in for the first time in my life. I still remember this clear as day, saying to her “No more, I am not getting involved again”. I was sick of fighting, sick of getting arrested, sick of upsetting my family with aggravation. I was always finishing fights for others and paying for it. I walked away and thankfully left that life behind forever.
When I started DJing at The Thunderdome, I became friendly with many of lads from Openshaw Village that were the crux of the O.M
We would go to Burny and Winny’s house to smoke and have the craic. Jay Parker, Lee Martin, Eggy and Jimmy the Weed (not that one) were all in that clique. At one brief moment in time their house was the place to be in East Manchester. If you have ever watched the brilliant tv series Ideal with Johnny Vegas then that was what it was like.
If you weren’t there then The Drop Forge pub was where it was all happening, we would sit in the car park wiling away the hours in the summer and all the business would go on in that car park. I am not going to go into details of what went on I will leave that to your imagination but trust me it all went on there. I was never involved but I was there, I was guilty by association maybe.
Ged and Paul Murphy, Mike Hulme, Luigi , Steve Dodds, Bobby Rimmer were all part of older gang which was led by Pete Hamlet. You would have never guessed that Pete was the boss of the crew.
He was small, quiet and polite. If you saw him you would just have though he was a normal guy just sat in the pub after work. He treated me with respect and once gave me a lump of money that one of his boys had conned me out of. He didn’t need to do that but he was man of honour.
I remember once playing at Butterflies in Oldham and going Into the toilets and two of that gang were in a cubicle. They motioned for me to come in and I reluctantly went in and they were smoking crack from a can. I hadn’t every done it or wanted to do it.
They pressured me into taking a puff of it and I honestly didn’t want to but I felt I couldn’t say no.
As the brought it towards me, I coughed with the fumes and probably with nervousness. It went everywhere and they just looked at like I was a complete dick and pushed me out of the stall.
I wasn’t getting another go and boy was I pleased about that.
These guys were all bank robbers and they never spoke about what they did in my company but I aware they were serious criminals
I just used to have a good time with them all and I never got involved or even knew what they got up to. Crime definitely didn’t pay for them as Pete’s brother turned super grass a while later and quite a few got long stretches inside.
These guys taught me a lot and gave me plenty of life experience. They never once tried to involve me in any of their activities. They treated me with respect and I saw they had a code of ethics. They really looked after each other, in a way that maybe people in the non-criminal society don’t.
The violence was only ever between like-minded parties and their business from what I could see was obviously dishonest but they weren’t out to actively hurt anyone.
CHAPTER TWO – HIP HOP (Excerpt)
…… I was in the last year of secondary school and my outlook on life was stilted. At this time in Manchester, the areas of the city were still very segregated. A black area was black, white was white, Jewish was Jewish and Asian was Asian.
Hip Hop culture in my opinion started that change in blurring the lines and opened people’s eyes to differences with more of an interest. I can only speak from my experience, as I have not studied social change and the drivers that bring these sort of transformations that come about.
Being a B-Boy united you under one umbrella. You wore the uniform, you used the terminology, you belonged to your clique. The biggest difference if you compare the Acid House movement to the B-Boy community was that you were very much part of your crew, your team
A more significant change came after I left school and went to sixth form. I suppose this is tied into the transition from child to adult. It is strange that it’s such a step change in a matter of months. You finish in May and by the time you get a job or you start college in September in my case, society sees you in such a different light. You suddenly become more accountable for your actions……….
If you are enjoying these excerpts you can buy the book here