|"I feel naked without
them," confides STEVE YOUNG, referring to the two-and-a-half
thousand records in his collection. Terrified of not being able to
satisfy requests for favourites from the dance floor, he dare not leave
even the most unlikely songs at home.
Young began working as a disc jockey 14 years ago and he progressed from entertaining in pubs with strippers – "the punters weren’t interested in the disco, they were just dirty old men" – to running his own disco centre in north London. As well as his self-hire equipment, he has 50 DJs on his books, covering every style of music from old-time Thirties and forties, through the rocking rhythms of the Fifties and sixties to the club DJs playing the latest chart, hip-hop, soul and house sounds. The cost of a DJ starts at £90, but if you want Steve Young himself, allow £400 in your party budget.
People are willing to pay Young’s price because he is what in known as a personality DJ, someone "with a bit of chat, who can create a good atmosphere". Unlike the hosts of many parties, Young is not afraid of the dreaded empty dancefloor syndrome. "I actually like it most when nobody dances because it’s more of a challenge. I’ll choose a table of people that look like they might want to dance and threaten to play Max Bygraves if they’re not on their feet by the end of the record that’s on." Young is extremely critical of the new breed of DJs who specialise in the art of seguing – merging tracks with technical wizardry. "Anyone can put records on," he says. "If you want a guy who can just mix, you might as well simply have a tape deck."
Young is a dead ringer for Cliff Richard and has a somewhat puritanical mentality to match. He doesn’t drink – "I’m afraid I’ll enjoy it" – and he sees his work as a DJ not as an endless stream of parties but as a job. However, Young is a professional and he takes every party he works at to heart. Put him behind his turntables in his glittery paisley jacket and you can guarantee that it will not be long before a good old knees-up is well underway.
Young’s Disco Centre, 20 Malden Rd, NW5 3HN
(020-7485 1115 / 07659-593232)