Triptych - Annie Nightingale

Annie Nightingale

Annie Nightingale

Last month, Annie Nightingale was giving a lift home to Slyde, two breakbeat DJs who she’d just showcased on her BBC Introducing Tour. She got a weird pang of pride when they started talking about their cover of ‘Sex and Drugs and Rock & Roll’ by Ian Dury and the Blockheads, a band whose career she helped kick-start 30 years ago. ‘It was an interesting feeling; suddenly I saw this connection between two generations, and I’d been part of this very strange journey.’

As Radio 1’s longest serving DJ, and a long-time champion of underground music, she’s built a career on giving unknowns a footy-up, first with punk, then new wave, acid house, chill-out, and more recently breaks.

‘It still gets me excited finding undiscovered DJs whose sets send shivers up and down my arms,’ she says. ‘I credit my audience with intelligence. I know they want to hear the deepest, craziest, most wonderful thing I’ve got.’ Sharing her ex-colleague and friend John Peel’s tireless passion for ‘music I’ve not heard before’, she admits she draws a line at anything too sentimental. ‘I’m definitely a fan of ‘up music’. I heard some Chinese pop recently. It’s so depressing! I’d probably slit my throat if I lived there.’

At Triptych, she’s playing with breaks pioneers Krafty Kuts, A Skills and Utah Saints DJs, but confesses she’ll be preparing her own set with special care.

‘Scottish crowds are very discerning. They know their music. I remember once playing in Glasgow and being warned if they didn’t like it, they’d throw chairs. Luckily they liked it.’

Annie Nightingale plays Triptych at Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, Fri 25 Apr. She also plays the Sub Club, Glasgow, Thu 24 Apr.

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