February 20, 2013 by Colin Kelly
It was a Saturday morning and I was still in bed. I heard my Mum downstairs letting out a shriek. Being a 14 year old boy I Immediately started racking my brains trying to figure out what I’d done wrong.
The footsteps racing up the stairs made it clear I’d find out very soon.
She burst in, with my Dad in tow.
They’d opened a letter. Addressed to them but very much for my attention.
It was a letter from ERNIE. I’d won the Premium Bonds.
This was too much to take in. It was still too early and I’d stayed up late listening to the radio. I didn’t even know I had Premium Bonds.
Turned out some smart thinking service engineer that worked beside my Dad at the gas board had bought them as a present when I was born. Whoever you are – wherever you are – thanks.
Because the 50 quid I won that day set off a chain of events that shaped my life.
I had that 50 quid spent before I’d even replied to ERNIE and explained that yes, I very much did want to cash in my prize and had no interest whatsoever in ‘leaving it in my savings to increase my chance of a future prize’.
No, it was straight down to Tandy in the Piazza Shopping Centre and I knew exactly what I was going to buy.
It doesn’t look like much but this was my passport to the life I was dreaming of. The life of a DJ. Playing records, talking in between them and being paid for the privilege. I was up and running.
That portable mixer allowed me to set myself up as a mobile disco DJ and within a couple of months I was getting regular bookings and running my first business. As a sucker for a good bit of alliteration I called it ‘Dynamite Disco’ and got business cards printed a a polo shirt for my brother and I.
We catalogued all our CDs and vinyl and started marketing ourselves. One letter to the PTA at the local primary school led to a very healthy market in children’s parties and school discos. Lochwinnoch, Paisley, Gallowhill, Houston, Bridge of Weir, Renfrew, Erskine..we did them all.
Those first couple of years I relied entirely on my Dad transporting me and my gear. And helping humph it in and out the car and setting it all up. It was also useful having him on hand for certain ‘situations’ like the time I was asked to judge the fancy dress competition and declared an unpopular member of the school the winner. The ensuing fight was swift but bloody.
Dynamite Disco (I wish I’d trademarked the name) was great fun and definitely played a role in helping me develop as a presenter and my subsequent work with professional radio stations. It taught me how to deal with people, got me used to handling cash, planning, the importance of working within a team and keeping them happy.
Funny how life turns out. I then forgot much of this for years while working as a member of staff, but now I once again find myself running my own business, it’s amazing how these lessons I learned, even as a 14 year old, come back and prove themselves useful.
For those of you interested in endings as well as beginnings, Dynamite Disco moved on from children’s parties to weddings and anniversaries and was then taken over by my brother after I started working at the local radio station.
Alan took a different approach to business. Whereas I re-invested a chunk of the takings back into the business by buying the latest CDs, he didn’t. And he wisely decided to give it up when he realised he couldn’t get away with NOT playing the new single by Westlife.