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Downtown Radio

My sister Norma, six years my senior, was a major influence on my musical edu- cation. Tere was no real music for young people on the BBC so she was really into Radio Luxembourg. Tat introduced me to music ahead of my contemporaries, artists like Elvis Presley, Tommy Steele, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis. By the time Radio Caroline came along in 1964 I was hooked on the idea of becoming a disc jockey. I made endless tapes, including my own jingles, but I thought they needed to be perfect so I never got round to sending them off. Te very idea that I could become one of those people on the radio seemed ridiculous, which explains why by the beginning of the Seventies I was working in the Legal Aid office of the Civil Service. One night the DJ at the Boat Club hadn’t turned up and they were looking for someone to play the records at the disco. Te organiser, having been told I would be ideal, called me up and asked if I wanted the job. I knew I would always regret not doing it so I agreed, without letting on I’d never really done anything like it, certainly not in public. Te most I ever got was maybe a few pints, but I loved the work and very soon

my week revolved around those Wednesday nights at the Boat Club. After that a friend offered me the chance to do some discos for money, which led to appear- ances in front of as many as a thousand people at the King’s Arms in Larne, the Deerpark in Antrim and Ballygally House on the Co Antrim coast. I was approached in autumn 1971 by Jack Rodgers and Bob Lennon, who had

taken over the King’s Arms and also supplied entertainment for a new venue in Newtownards, the Town ’n’ Country. Very soon I was there every other Saturday and then Tursday nights as well, playing pop and oldies with plenty of chat too. Te promoter didn’t think Trevor Campbell

was a particularly great name for a DJ and he knew I’d been known as Big T at school so that was it. I didn’t mind as it was printed in block capitals on adverts and stood out better than an ordinary name! Doors opened at 7.30pm and by then the people were already queuing up. It was the early days of the Troubles and people from Newtownards were reluctant to travel to Belfast. City people also travelled in great numbers to Newtownards and to the T’n’C in particular. Around that time I had my first taste of


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