DJ Tallulah

DJ Tallulah Tallulah is one of the London gay scene's longest-serving DJs, with a career stretching back to the early 70s. The first inductee into the House Of Homosexual Culture's Hall Of Fame, David Hudson caught up with him to talk about his historic career...

Firstly, how does it feel to be inducted into a Hall Of Fame?
Well, I'm quite honoured, to tell you the truth. I've never been much of a publicity seeker, but the reason I'm doing it is because I think it's quite a good thing. I don't think we necessarily celebrate individuals in our community enough, so I applaud the concept - it's about time we looked to our own people. Beyond that... well, it's embarrassing talking about myself, but I am honoured!
Who do you think deserves some additional recognition on the scene?
I can give you one person straight off and that's Bette Bourne, of Bloolips Theatre fame. On the political side, Peter Tatchell. And also Jo Purvis, who has been running gay nights in this country longer than anyone else alive, and proving that you can't go wrong with a bit of eclecticism! I think it's important that younger people look into gay culture a little bit more - it's so easy to be forgotten, particularly where music's concerned. People don't even know who Sylvester was. I was chatting with some people this week about Cleo Roccos on Celebrity Big Brother and I said that she was really only famous for appearing on the Kenny Everett Show, and someone said 'who's Kenny Everett?' There are a lot of people totally forgotten. Songwriters such as Paul Jabara - he wrote 'Last Dance'. We lost so many to AIDS.
You must have seen many changes in DJ'ing since you first started back in the 70s - changes for the better or worse?
Yes, many changes, obviously, but it really still comes down to entertainment. I find it easy because I just enjoy entertaining, but technically, it's changed radically. People turn up with laptops now. I bumped into Rusty Egan [former co-promoter of seminal 80s club Blitz] the other day and he told me that he now DJs from home, and downloads it to the club!
When I started DJ'ing there were probably about five gay DJs on the scene who were known and mentioned in the very small gay press. There were no flyers - it was mainly word of mouth. Nowadays there are so many different categories of music, and I think drugs have made a huge difference with regards to a Saturday night out - very few places exist just for a drink and a dance.
What was your first DJ job?
I started off in a little club in 1972 called the Escort in Pimlico. It was a little cabaret club where Hinge & Brackett started. I was a hotel manager at the time, , but they asked me because I knew a lot of people in the music business. They had a DJ called Jimmy Flipside, so-called because they only had one deck and he'd flip the records over! I had to operate the coat check at the same time as DJ'ing - it was good fun and that's where I started.

Tallulah will be honoured at the House Of Homosexual Culture's Hall Of Fame event, taking place at the Bush Hall (310 Uxbridge Road, W12 - 020-8222 6955) on 22 February 2007. For full details, check www.homoculture.org. Tallulah can be found DJ'ing at Salon at Soho's Shadow Lounge each Tuesday and BarCode Vauxhall's Mezzo Disco session each Wednesday.

An abridged version of this interview was published in
Out In The City, February 2007 David Hudson


This is the footerline