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Saturday, 12 November 2011

My dancing years with Jimmy Saville and the career I lost – plus a little vulgar commerce

The picture is for overseas readers who don’t know who the hell Jimmy Saville – or rather Sir Jimmy Saville OBE, who died a couple of days ago - was.

He was as you see the epitome of understated good taste and I once had a job interview with him. How my life would have changed if I had ignored his advice!

I first laid eyes and ears on him when I was 19 and used to go dancing every weekday lunch time and on Tuesday evenings at a ballroom in Manchester called The Plaza.

I was a pretty nifty terpsichorean by all accounts. Seven years ago someone I had not seen since those days sent me an email mentioning that people used to copy my moves. I can’t express how much childish delight that gave me – but that’s enough about that.

Jimmy Saville was the new manager at the Plaza, and when the band wasn’t on he used to play records with a commentary. The first time I heard him I turned to a friend and said, “That man is going to make a fortune.”

“Why?” my friend asked.

“Because he can talk non-stop about fuck-all and keep your attention.”

Yes, friends: Jimmy Saville was the first real disc jockey I ever heard. Others played records with comments about the people who made them, the music and so on. Jimmy used a twin-turntable (and had done since 1947) with minimal gaps between records. During the gaps he talked non-stop about nothing in the most engaging way with a bizarre semi-transatlantic phraseology delivered in a broad Yorkshire accent.

He became by far the most successful DJ in Britain - and certainly the only one to be knighted. He wore ghastly track-suits and gold chains, dyed his hair blonde, had a litany of catch-phrases, several of which entered the language, never married and did a prodigious amount of work for charity. The picture is of him with a local charity - when he was 80 years old.

All those years ago I was so struck by him that, having a love of music, a trivial mind and a burning desire to show off I got an interview with him. He was a very nice man. When I said I was married he advised me not to become a DJ as it would ruin my marriage. Ironic, really, as I managed that all on my very own.

One of my most interesting career opportunities in those years was being asked by a very attractive blonde dancing partner if I’d like to be her ponce. I declined, not on moral grounds but because I am a coward and thought the job might involve violence.

So there you are.

Meanwhile, if you are worried about whether the world is coming to an end I have five practical money-making ideas for you, most but not all to do with e-commerce.

I am emailing them to my list. If you are not on that list, just email Drayton@Draytonbird.com reading “Berlusconi”. That will help you remember one big fat crooked degenerate reason you’re going to need better ideas and also remind me to send you the ideas.

They do not include setting up as a disc jockey. However my friend Martin Chilcott is not only a is freely available for parties and excellent marketing advice. As I may have mentioned oh, three hundred times, four of my family are musicians and I know a lot more than Martin about soul, jazz and r'n'b no matter what he thinks, the poor young fool.

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