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You Don't Need a Dick to DJ

On sale

23rd May 2024

Price: £22

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Selected: Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781399615761

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Before she became Smokin Jo – the most famous and visible of the first generation of ‘superstar DJs’ – Joanne Joseph was a young girl growing up in a children’s home with her sister. Until her mother returned and whisked the siblings away just before secondary school to a flat on the Portobello Road, her life was devoid of music: the home didn’t allow it, apart from hymns and carols at Christmas.

As she entered the turbulent years of adolescence, Jo found herself pulled towards Soho and the burgeoning underground acid house scene, instantly finding herself at home amongst other artists, musicians and misfits who breathed and survived on dance music and ecstasy. Within a couple of years, in a lightning-fast ascent, Jo claimed her permanent place as one of England’s most exciting and revered DJs of the British rave scene. In 1992, Jo was awarded DJ of the Year in DJ Magazine‘s list of Top 100 DJ’s. To this day she is still the only woman to achieve this accolade.

This alternately celebratory and brutal memoir tells a story full of change, growth and determination. It documents Jo’s life and loves; her struggles with drink and drugs and journey towards peace and sobriety. It documents the highs and lows of rave culture in an unprecedented way through Jo herself: the elation and euphoria that comes with entertaining an audience as well as the misogyny, the racism, the prejudice and homophobia of the scene, as told by someone who has been at the hard end of these experiences. You Don’t Need a Dick to DJ is an extraordinary, moving and unforgettable story from a pioneer and survivor; perhaps the most honest and startling memoir yet to emerge from the club scene.

Reviews

Carl Loben
One of the first prominent female DJs in the scene, Smokin' Jo is refreshingly honest about the highs and lows of the DJ world in this book, a thoroughly enlightening romp through the last 30+ years of European clubbing history
Honey Dijon
Smokin Jo is a trailblazer and pioneer. She paved the way for so many women of colour in a male dominated industry on her own terms. Respect!
Groove Armada
An icon of the UK dance scene, and someone we were honoured to share Space Terrace duties with 'back in the day'. Smokin Jo is a brilliant DJ, a pioneer who blazed a trail for female DJs with impeccable musical taste, hers is an essential story
Norman Jay OBE
Brains, beauty and plenty of deck skills - if I were a female DJ, I'd want to be Smokin Jo
Todd Terry
Jo is one of my favorrites: she's a true DJ.
Danny Tenaglia
Smokin Jo is so much more than an amazing DJ, she's the kind of person you truly enjoy being around. She brings the beats, the vibes, the love and that everlasting smile!
Skin (Skunk Anansie), OBE
Smokin' Jo is one of those rare talents that has the ability to taste the room and feed it what it wants. These skills have been her bedrock, her mis-used diamonds and her saviour allowing her to rise like a phoenix from the ashes of her self-incinerated decks. Smokin' Jo came from a time when the blokes ruled the DJ world, and still she rose to the peak of her profession through hard work, endurance, but mainly through raw talent. She's a legend and an Icon because of everything she's been through not despite it, as she had no choice other than to succeed, and succeed she did. Life with my dear friend Jo hasn't always been a box of chocolates, sometimes the box got a little messy, but it was always very sweet!
Sister Bliss
I'm a bit of a perfectionist, but to me, those nights watching Jo work the crowd so effortlessly, was a lesson in perfection