It was the winter of 2006, and I was living in the great city of Glasgow, a year into an audio engineering program that I was fast losing interest in. I played guitar then, and my roommates were all musicians: a drummer, a bassist, and a DJ. While I would jam with the other boys from time to time, the DJ’s perpetually shut bedroom door would always hide a low thud of metronomic kick drum, as he would smother himself in techno for up to 18 hours a day.

Being a wee lad from deep in the mountains of bonnie Scotland, my only experience with electronic music then was overhearing abrasive stadium trance blasting out of the open window of boy racers’ snarling Ford Fiestas. The mysterious noises coming from his room was the only meaningful and curious connection I had to electronic music then.

“We simultaneously turned and gave a dismayed look at our once snug apartment, which was now strewn with enough vinyl to redo every kitchen floor in Scotland.”

One day, he came into the living room eating a slice of toast and asked if I wanted to come out with him to Vitalic at the Arches—Vitalic being a monolith first-wave French electro producer, and the Arches being one of the best nightclubs in the world, housed in the cavernous yet dingy recesses of one of Glasgow’s abandoned subway lines.

“What kind of music is it?” I asked.

“You’ll like it,” he said with a toasty grin, sidestepping my question, either because he knew I wouldn’t like the answer or that it wouldn’t mean anything to me.

“Vitalic at the Arches” ended up being the gig I can point to that ignited my love for dance music, and heralded the mutually amicable end of my flaccid flirtations with rock ‘n’ roll stardom. I started asking my roommate for music, and he turned me on to minimal techno, the in-vogue Ibiza sound at the time. Richie Hawtin’s seminally click-beep DE9 Transitions became the soundtrack of that winter, and by the time spring came around, I was itching to start playing music again.

“So, I know this guy, solid dude, moving to the United Arab Emirates for work and is selling off all of his stuff,” said my roommate one afternoon, “and he’s selling his turntables. Two mint-condition Technics 1200s and a Technics scratch mixer. £400.”

I just looked at him, clueless.

“Just buy them,” he said.

“Okay,” I responded.

When I called the guy up and told him I wanted to buy his setup, he told me that there was one condition upon purchase: “that you take my entire record collection as well.”

Based on the title of this article, I would assume you know exactly what happened next. But place yourself in my giddy wee shoes for a second. I was about to buy a DJ setup that I was told was “the gold standard,” for a price anyone would consider a steal, and I was going to inherit a library of probably awesome minimal techno, since that was the only electronic music I knew existed.

“I stayed silent as I surveyed the debris of my superstar DJ career, decimated and covered in lumps of dried plaster.”

When he arrived at my tiny tenement flat to drop off the turntables, he asked me and the rest of my flatmates to come downstairs to help him and his mate unload his collection. For the next 10 minutes, six boys lifted 2,500 musty records up three flights of stairs in splitting grocery boxes, bin bags, and a disheveled suitcase.

“Oh fuck, mate,” said my DJ roommate, as he sat over one of the boxes, flicking through the endless waxy bounty. He pulled out a neon orange sleeve with a ‘90s wild-style effigy of a cartoon rodent wearing a backwards cap and a gold dope chain, holding a can of spray paint. He handed it to me and burst out laughing.

“The Wax Weazel,” I read aloud. “Is this shit, then?”

“Mate, this is fucking happy hardcore! Weeks and weeks of happy hardcore!”

When we got the turntables set up, my roommate unsheathed the Weasel and dropped the needle on the record. We all stood around the turntable as the 12-inch crackled softly, before giving way to the most violent, doinking blob of kick drum I have ever heard in my life. The noise came fisting out of his crystalline Rockit speakers at what felt 280 BPM, pulverizing our ears and recoiling our senses in horror at its militaristic, amphetamine-basted melodies. He took the needle off the record and broke down into a fit of laughter. We simultaneously turned and gave a dismayed look at our once snug apartment, which was now strewn with enough vinyl to redo every kitchen floor in Scotland.

Luckily my roommate, who was primarily a CDJ DJ (oh yeah, kiddos, there was once a time when DJs carried CD wallets to gigs with them), had a box of Balearic house records circa 1999–2003. We were saved. We could allow the now-unhappy hardcore to collect even more dust, and prove itself to be equally egregious when it wasn’t being played, becoming a perpetual nuisance and an eyesore that sat slumped all over our flat.

We had those beautiful turntables for exactly two months. I spent time figuring out the finer points of beat matching and started to learn about how dance music worked structurally. But one day I came home from a weekend away to a handwritten note taped to my door, asking me to “Call landlord ASAP.” I came into the house and smelt a pungent musk, surpassing even the dankest odor emanating from our surplus of shit music, but I didn’t think anything of it. I pottered around the house for a bit, got settled, and decided that I would go and play on my turntables, completely forgetting about urgent note on my door.

I opened the walk-in closet we were keeping the Technics in, and my mouth fell agape. I looked up at the hole in the ceiling above me, into our neighbor’s apartment, and then back down at the destroyed turntables, covered in roof, plaster and dried splashes of white, semeny water. I pulled out my phone and called my landlord. He explained that the people above us had left the bath running and that it had flooded their apartment. He asked me if we had incurred any damage. I stayed silent as I surveyed the debris of my superstar DJ career, decimated and covered in lumps of dried plaster.

Unbeknown to me at the time, the Blunder From Above had cost the world a couple of endangered audio species. Technics were winding down their production of their iconic turntable, and the vinyl format was about to plummet into near extinction as dance music went digital.

It would be nine years before I bought another pair of turntables, and sadly today I’m repping a pair of plastic Stanton Fisher-Price belt drives that can barely hold their tempo and skip every time I get carried away and stomp the floor too hard. But that doesn’t matter. They do the job, and I’m back playing dance music again, this time armed with the savvy of knowing exactly what I like and how to scurry through record stores like a truffle hog to find it.

I don’t recall exactly what happened to all of my happy hardcore records, but I’m assuming we chucked it all in a big skip somewhere. This was before recycling was a thing in Scotland, so it wouldn’t surprise me if we had committed a minor environmental atrocity. But it’s worth it to know that that the Wax Weazel will never infecte anyone’s ear canals ever again. That is, until now.

Ladies and gentlemen, the above is a choicey cut of vintage Weazel from 1996, courtesy of none other than ID and fucking T.

Endure.

Illustration by Jon Wesley


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