“No one who was there then remembers it the same way” – Sheffield barber James Worrall on DJing through a pandemic
A couple of weeks ago, I spoke to Sheffield barber and former Plug resident DJ James Worrall about bedroom DJing, car accidents, and club nights. As well as what he and many others had been up to since the first lockdown until now.
It’s no secret that the first lockdown changed our way and pace of life dramatically, as businesses were forced to close due to the pandemic. We all dealt with this home isolation and separation from the rigours of daily life in a variety of ways. Some of us used the time as a holiday of sorts, some of us found the time quite a struggle… and others got a little creative.
“At the start of the first lockdown, a Facebook page was set up by a friend of mine called Errol L Jones, as a means of entertaining people at home.”
Errol’s Facebook page has hosted both professional and bedroom DJs from the local area and was put together as a means of reminding people why Sheffield was (and remains) a great hub of talent, as well as being the destination of choice for many partygoers over the years. Plus, it was a great way to give those who had been furloughed something fun to do with their time.
“Errol and myself, well we cut hair for a living. So, it was a nice way to keep people entertained and also have something ‘normal’ to look forward to doing - and focus on - at the weekend — especially as I was on my own at home for the first two months of lockdown.”
As the various lockdowns came and went, some DJs returned to their day jobs and left behind the DJing but others had continued hosting DJ sets throughout the entirety of the pandemic, like Errol who continues to live stream on his page Sheffield Lockdown - LetsDance2gether (https://www.facebook.com/groups/sheffieldlockdownld2).
“I have to say a massive thank you to Errol for encouraging me to do this, as well as all of the other DJs I’ve yet to meet. I used to be a resident at Plug nightclub until I had a car accident that triggered thyroid disease and now I have a constant pain in my spine as a result, which put an end to my love of going out in front of a big crowd and playing tunes.”
“After this experience over the last year, I have now got my confidence back. I wanted to get the people who played a similar genre to me, which is house and disco together to help each other. So I've decided to put on my first night that is actually physical with no masks on - unless you want to.”
And, he’s been taking this seriously, cycling across and around the city on a boogie bike over the past couple of weekends, you’ve maybe already seen him down at Kelham Island, tunes blaring. It’s clear that there’s a passion there and while some of us have found this time one where we can’t help but struggle and flounder, perhaps we just need the escape of the music to take us out from under this cloud? Whatever you feel at this moment in time it’s hard not to feel enthused when you hear the boundless energy that emanates from James, who is intent on making the best of a bad moment for so many of us, whether that’s psychologically or physically. It seems that there are no barriers, not when music is involved.
When I asked if he had anything else to say, he said: “If you like to wear a smile and hear music that gets in your soul, you're welcome into our sanctuary.” I think he means you should go and check out the upcoming night.
DJs on the night include the likes of iMFROMULL Naughty Nick, Snare and Climax, James Worrall, Jake Vertigo, Errol luv soul Jones, Kavita, Paul Foxall
See you at the DiscoTech.
WE AR presents Disco Tech takes place on Saturday, July 31, 2021 at Bal Fashions, 16 Exchange Street, Sheffield, S2 5TS.
You can buy tickets here.