Saturday, February 21, 2015

A foreigner at Deejay 33

If you know me then you know that I'm a massive fan of Radio Deejay, one of Italy's most popular radio stations (the latest listening figures show that it's dropped down to 4th, eek). Tuesday night it celebrated its 33rd birthday in style at Fabrique, in the east of the city. The party had used the number 33 as an inspiration - it was a vinyl-only party!

I went with four of my friends, who I met a few years ago thanks to the radio - two from Milan, and two from over the border in Piemonte. As it was Martedì grasso ('Fat Tuesday') we went in fancy dress (give us half an excuse to dress up!). Me and D had bright pink wigs and black masks, and the two Ms were dressed up as cartoon characters.

We had a great time, with presenters and producers playing all kinds of records - from cartoon theme tunes to rap, to 80s classic and 90s cheese. I managed to completely break my voice by being far too over-enthusiastic (I never respect my limits!). The breaking point was probably when I lost my crap at L'ombelico del mondo by Jovanotti, a song that I first discovered during my Erasmus year and is connected to a lot of good memories.

Another highlight for me was one of my absolute favourite songs from my pre-teen years, The Tamperer's Feel It. Remember this? I only discovered fairly recently that not only was it two Italian producers who were behind it, but that at the time they both worked at Deejay - and one still does! 'Numero uno in Inghilterra!' presenter Nicola Savino declared as the track started playing, which is true to an extent - 'Number one in England!' I still remember that song getting to number one, I listened to the Top 40 on Radio 1 religiously for years. But as Italy calls the whole of the UK England I still celebrated. It was a bridge between my past and my present.

So how was it for someone who didn't grow up in Italy? At some points you could never tell, or at least that's what I thought. I even had a pink wig covering my blonde hair. Even the cheesy Italian dance tracks I've got to know, and I sang along to the remix of Il cielo è sempre più blu - one of my all-time favourite Italian songs - at the top of my voice, and even managed to blag the words to 883's Gli anni - people from my generation and a few years older in Italy grew up with 883 - when Max Pezzali showed up. But there were times when I was completely lost, looking around me to see everyone singing along to a song I didn't know, or at least didn't know well enough to start singing the words. There was a Vasco track, and 90s dance that just hadn't been exported to the UK. For these short moments I completely felt like a fish out of water.

Towards the end of the night we were lucky to have a quick chat with two of my favourite presenters, the lovely Laura, and Sarah Jane who had been absolutely tearing it up in the VIP area. Yes, there's a presenter on Italian radio called Sarah Jane, blonde and half-English. Her name becomes Sara Geinnuh to the Italians, or even just Sara. And in the nicest way possible, she's from another planet!

The party finally came to a close at 3am. 3am on a Tuesday night! The next day I was totally feeling my age, everything hurt and I could barely speak. But it was completely worth it. I want a party like that every year!

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