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Go BackOVERCOMING THE BEAT MIXING OBSESSION – With the help of “Bedroom DJ” author and Essex chica Piper Terret

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"Bedroom DJ" author Piper Terret runs contrary to the stereotypical clubber with an attention deficit disorder. She’s a financial affairs reporter for starters, and has written a whole book about rolling with the wheels of steel. So does Piper know what she's on about? We asked Brighton-based promoter and good buddy Dan Ellitts to review it for us.

Dan Ellitts right @ Blowup, BN2 9QA:

"Bedroom Dj - a beginners guide" follows the progress of fledgling Dj Piper Terret along their bumpy road from technophobic compact disc buyer to fully blown dj vinyl junky.

It collates tips and advice from well known djs Ali b, Cosmo, Cutmaster Swift, Adam Dewhurst, Mark Doyle, Graeme Park, Roger Sanchez, Dave Pearce, David Morales, Judge Jules. Also included are anecdotal tales that unpack the contents of a dj's toolkit.

Chapters in the book cover mixing, scratching, buying vinyl and organising a club night. This is not a technical manual or a list of record shops and label, but is an interesting rough guide to each of these areas. Personal stories are interspersed with dj interviews and advice for a user-friendly read.

As someone that djs, I found some of the contents familiar but also managed to pick up a few tips. It was also very refreshing to hear constructive and positive comments from professional djs who have all to often disappeared up their own headphone socket. A particularly pertinent comment was made by Ali B, who remarked that djs have become over obsessed with beat mixing and have forgotten that the most important thing about djing is tune selection - damn right!

Some of the other sections did not sound such an inspiring note however. I thought the "packing vinyl: how to buy records" chapter was enough to put anyone off even trying to go record shopping. Adam Dewhurst (the celeb consultant for this section) give the distinct impression that the only way to get decent records (and avoid the “rubbish” in the shops) is to get them sent to you direct from the labels or to know a record shop manager. This might be OK for the owner of Jockey Slut, but isn’t particularly encouraging advice for a would-be dj.

The promoting chapter raised a smile as it touches upon many experiences that anyone putting on a club night would have had, including that horrible moment when the dance floor is that empty that you expect a tumble weed to role across it.

All in all I found this book and interesting and entertaining read. Even if you don’t agree with all the pro djs comments, it is very useful to hear the viewpoint of the people who are at the top of their profession.

If you are thinking of becoming a dj, get a copy, have a read and get mixing, because as the author rightly puts it "she (he) who dares spins".

Wouldn't ya know it, we also got some comments from someone who has dared and spun, the author herself. Piper skived off work for half an hour to complete her PR duties, a task she described as “really fun”.

How's it going? How was your NY's? Did you have a gig?
I had a really quiet family one actually! Not very rock n' roll is it? It's been a really busy year with the book coming out and I was exhausted so I went over to Northern Ireland and spent a lovely Christmas chilling out with my parents who have just retired over there. New Year's was a icky coupley one spent with the other half and my cat eating good food & getting quietly paralytic. I did however spin some tunes at my work Christmas party, which was a very rowdy one. Lots of pissed-up people bumping into the decks and knocking the needle off the records actually. Complete mayhem. You wouldn't believe how wild finance geeks can be!

How's your day job going? Where are you typing the answers to these questions?
We're just putting the magazine to press for the week and I'm surreptitiously typing this while my editor isn't looking. The day job is going ok - it's keeping body and soul together (contrary to the beliefs of most of my friends who can't understand why I'm still working, book writing isn't that lucrative a pastime!) I've just got back after the Christmas hols and it's a horrible shock being back at work I can tell you! I just zoned out for a moment this afternoon and then woke up in the office wondering where the hell I was!

Are the bizness and club dj worlds compatible? Do the people you work with at Shares magazine know about your other life? What do they think?
Not always! Like anyone who does something else on top of a day job it can be a real slog doing a gig after work on a school night. Yes everyone at work knows about my 'other life' and teases me about it. But lots of them are music fans too and went out and bought the book, which is really cool. Our IT guy has just got some decks and was asking for advice. But I think knowing something about business is helpful with Djing too because at the end of the day there is a business element to it.

Where's good to go out in London? What's hot? What's shot to bits?
I just bought my first car so I'm totally skintoid and can't afford to go out much clubbing these days, which is a shame so I'm probably not the best person to ask! I love Fabric near Farringdon because of the space and atmosphere in the club and the mix of music. Herbal off Old Street is also a cool place to go too - it's chilled and intimate. When I started getting interested in Djing I was really excited to go to the Ministry of Sound because it was so famous but it's probably a bit too full of poseurs. I also love going to see bands in Camden but sadly can't see my favourites The Darkness for a fiver at the Underworld anymore now they're famous!

Do you get to Ibiza much?
I'm thoroughly ashamed to say I've never been to Ibiza - mainly because I just haven't had the chance yet. Are you still speaking to me?! Although interviewing Roger Sanchez last year on the phone from the island and listening to him speak in Spanish to somebody in the room I could close my eyes and almost imagine myself there. I hoped I would get to go there while doing research for Bedroom DJ but it didn't work out in the end. Hopefully I'll get there sometime this year because I'd love to go.

What's Ibiza rep in the UK?
Well, we've all seen the 'Uncovered' programmes - shock horror - so people generally think it's a place of hedonism and excess. I like to think the musical spirit is still there among the craziness though.

What's more important, the music or the party?
Ah - a tough one. The music I suppose. The music's got to be right or else the party flounders. If the party is flat then the right music can put it back on the right track but then you've got to have party goers who are up for it and want to have a good time.

Is clubbing compatible with a healthy lifestyle?
I think the dancing is definitely a good way to keep fit - she says, as her waistline continues to expand post-Christmas - and gives you a natural buzz but if you combine that with drinking, drugs and late nights it can be harsh on your system. However not going out and having fun is singularly unhealthy, not to mention dull as nuts!

Is writing a grind for you, or does it just flow?
I write all day long really - at work I'm writing about all sorts of business stuff from drug companies to the security problems on BA's Washington flights, then when I get home I write my own stuff. Most of the time it flows and my on the job training as a journalist trying to make boring business stuff sound interesting and bashing it out quickly for a deadline has helped tremendously. But I'm currently writing a humorous column for my local newspaper in Essex called 'Essex and the City' and that can be tougher sometimes because it's getting everything you want to say into 500 words. I generally get the ball and chain to act as my editor and tell me whether the jokes I've put it in about white stilettos aren't funny.

How was the publishing process for you? Are there more books on the way?
It was so exciting for me, my family and a lot of my friends when I got the book contract and then it came out. The guys at Omnibus Press were great - my editor there was very supportive. It was scary though when it actually came out seeing what people would think of it and whether it would sell, but it seems to be doing ok at the moment. Phew! Not giving up the day job yet though! I hope there'll be some more books on the way. I want to write a novel some day and also a book about Essex, where I'm from!

Any other exciting plans for 2004? What about this weekend?
I'm going to get cracking this weekend on my next book idea in order to distract myself from a large box of Thorntons chocolates left over from Christmas that is lying around in my living room.

Anything else you'd like to add about anything at all?
It would be great if you could mention that 25% of my royalties from Bedroom DJ are going to the World DJ Fund, which raises money for the Nordoff Robbins music therapy charity.

Consider it done, Piper.

Words by me, Dan & Piper