Catch The Beat

Publishing Soul Underground was many things – exhilarating, maddening, exciting, exhausting. But, above all else, it was of its time. Its end was brutal but it had achieved all I wanted of it, so maybe finishing when it did wasn’t such a bad thing.

In 2010, DJHistory asked me to edit an anthology of material from my little zine. The result is Catch The Beat – a tribute to the energy, the passion and the talent that helped redefine dance music journalism.

The toughest job in the whole process was getting back in touch with all the contributors – to get their permission to re-use their words and pictures. After around 20 years, I had no idea what to expect – after all they hadn’t exactly grown rich off the modest rates I could pay at the time (£60 per thousand words, give or take). Amazingly, all but one of the contributors were happy to have their work reprinted – all for a credit and an invitation to the launch party.

I’d lost touch with most of this group of amazing individuals, many of whom cut their teeth on my little magazine. I was well aware of the talent the mag attracted, but was still blown away by just how many of them had gone on to greater things – everything from fashion entrepreneur to Radio 1 DJ, novelist to honorary Spice Girl…

We agreed it would have to be a big book – Soul Underground was heavy on content and light on filler. Even after sifting, editing, ditching ‘of their time’ articles (and, in a couple of cases, removing items that nearly got the magazine sued when they were first published), we were left with a 440-page behemoth. If you were there, it’s a huge nostalgia-rush. If you weren’t, learn about the most exciting and important period in UK dance music from people who were living it.

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