Catch The Beat

Who’d have thunk it? Nineteen years after I published the final issue of Soul Underground, I was asked to edit an anthology of material from the seminal music magazine. The result is Catch The Beat – a tribute to the energy, the passion and the talent that helped redefine dance music journalism.

In early 2010, I got a call from DJhistory, asking if I was interested in creating a Soul Underground book. From anyone else, I would have assumed it was a spoof, but they had pedigree as people with a love of dance music history, and an ability to make things happen.

Funnily enough, 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 I contacted were happy to have their work reprinted – all for a credit and an invitation to the launch party.

Over the past twenty years or so, 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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