Annie Nightingale’s Wicked Speed


Top: Annie Nightingale in 1964

The very groovy Richard Harland Smith over at Turner Movie Classics much admired Movie Morlocks Blog invited me to participate in a sort of “meme” with the following rules attached to it:

) Pick up the nearest book.
2) Open to page 123.
3) Locate the fifth sentence.
4) Post the next three sentences on your blog and in so doing…
5) Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

I tend to dislike these sorts of things but the meme was easy enough and didn’t require much thinking on my part so I took Richard up and his offer and in the end I was happy to be invited to participate.

At the time that I got Richard’s email the nearest book laying next to me was an autographed hardback copy of Annie Nightingale’s biography Wicked Speed that I bought at a Tower Records store when I was in London in 2000. Annie Nightingale was Britain’s first female DJ and she’s a fascinating woman who has mixed and mingled with many of Britain’s best bands. After writing my recent post about The Mod Musicals of Lance Comfort I’ve had the early days of British pop music and radio on my mind so I had recently been revisiting Nightingale’s book. From the book description:

“Britain’s first female DJ. A suburban schoolgirl whisked into the world of music, whose passion led her to the world of the Beatles, the Yarbirds, the Rolling Stones and the Who. As a young journalist she put herself on the line for young bands – and she’s still at it with Shaun Ryder, Primal Scream and Daft Punk, just to name a few.

Annie Nightingale became one of the hardcore “birds” of London’s growing Sixties pop-art scene. She got married, was a Cosmopolitan columnist, and had kids. She also had parties. But more than anything, she wanted to become a DJ on Radio 1 – hard in the days when the BBC was a male-dominated environment. Yet she won out in the end – and for years was alone in her field.”

Three sentences from page 123 of Wicked Speed:
“I’d be interviewing the Minister of Nuclear Procurement, say, and I’d address him by his first name, which would throw him completely, and ask him if he believed in God. Both Margret Thatcher’s children appeared on the show as guests; Carol was preferable of the two. French and Saunders, who were just starting out at the time, were also guests on Mailbag, in their newest guise as Duranies.”

When I bought Wicked Speed eight years ago I had no idea who Annie Nightingale was but I needed a quick read for the plane trip home and the book description sounded fascinating. I’ve been a fan of sixties era British rock and pop since I was just a kid (the first concert I ever attended was a Rolling Stones’ show when I was only 13 years old). I also briefly worked as a DJ myself in the late ’80s spinning dance music and popular club hits at a local nightspot so I was curious to learn more about “Britain’s first female DJ.”

Annie Nightingale is not a great storyteller and if you’re bothered by run-on sentences you should probably avoid it. The book also lacks an index, which is especially annoying if you’re someone like me who wants easy access to her entertaining stories about interviewing a bored Sean Connery after he had just completed the first James Bond film or driving Scott Walker’s Mini Cooper. But if you enjoy all the name dropping Nightingale does and are interested in what life was like for the first female DJ in Britain, Annie Nightingale’s Wicked Speed is an entertaining and quick read.

I hate the idea of “tagging” anyone but if the following people would like to participate please feel free to!

Tagged:
Jeremy Richey at Moon in the Gutter
Jonathan Lapper at Cinema Styles
Peter Nellhaus at Coffee, coffee and more coffee
Tenebrous Kate at Love Train for the Tenebrous Empire
Robert Monell at I’m in a Jess Franco State of Mind

Now on to Cinebeats’ irregular scheduled programming . . .

7 thoughts on “Annie Nightingale’s Wicked Speed

  1. logboy says:

    nightingale’s still regarded – perhaps it’s a resurgence, somewhat – as an influential and important figure in what we broadly call dance music. she’s closely associated now with the growth and importance of dubstep, it seems…

  2. Jonathan Lapper says:

    Wow, you actually managed to take a meme and turn it into a great post. Now I feel inadequate. Damn you Lindbergs! Curses to you! Oh, I’ll recover. Great post though, really.

  3. cinebeats says:

    logboy – Thanks for the update on Annie’s latest activities. It’s so cool that she’s still active in Britain’s music scene.

    Jonathan – Aw shucks! I’m glad you enjoyed my post about Annie Nightingale’s book. I was reluctant to post it since it doesn’t have much to do with movies but I hope some of my blog readers found it interesting.

  4. Peter Nellhaus says:

    I took the challenge. To you Miss L, I strongly encourage you to get a ticket or two (take the hubby!) to see Alone at the “Another Hole in the Head” festival.

  5. Jeremy says:

    Hey, thanks Kimberly. I will try and get mine up tomorrow…It’s an interesting concept and I enjoyed your choice!

  6. cinebeats says:

    Thanks for taking up the torch Kate, Peter and Jeremy! I tend to really dislike these things but when Richard calls, I answer. 😉

    Peter – Thanks for the tip about Alone! I hadn’t heard of it before but I’ll try to give it look when it hits theaters otherwise I may to wait for DVD. I watched a trailer for it online and it looks really interesting.

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