On Saturday I woke up at stupid o’clock and headed off to Cwmbran along with a box of vinyl and my trusty Technics SL1210s. The destination was Starbucks. The mission was to DJ non-stop for 8 hours in order to raise funds to provide 360 mosquito nets for all the kids and their families in our Compassion partnership project in Burkina Faso.
It was such a fantastic day on so many levels…
1. The Coffee Level
Erm, I love coffee and I got to drink a lot of it (and pay for very little of it!) That’s all I need to say.
2. The Personal Level
I had really wanted to capture people’s imagination and push myself in this fund-raising effort (I’m one of them blokes that really needs a challenge). The longest I had ever deejayed for before was probably about 3hours (and that was a long time ago!) So when I finally did complete my 8 hour marathon mix I was fully knackered, yet chuffed-to-bits to have set myself a challenge and actually completed it!
3. The Family Level
One of the most special parts of the day came at around 7am when my daughter Elen found a Cadbury’s Mini-Rolls tub with a slot carved out of the lid (my collection pot!) When I told her what it was for she went into her room and returned with a fist full of 1p and 2p coins (her entire personal fortune as a 4year old!) She grinned as she posted them into the pot – my first sponsor money of the day! Suffice to say, I was blown away by this simple act of support and compassion.
However, what happened later was equally special! Just as I started to get really tired (about 6 hours in) Michelle and my precious army of kids trooped through the door (we can’t go anywhere subtly anymore – there’s too many of us!) The family procession was led by Elen who was holding a little banner above her head, reading: “WE LOVE THE DEEJAY” It was hand-written on a McDonalds napkin and held aloft by 2 McDonlads straws! It was such a precious moment! My 2 eldest kids then came across and ‘helped’ me to mix for a while, much to the delight of the Starbucks punters!
4. The Friends Level
Keeping me company for the whole day was my good friend Allan (his mates call him Alsie Boy – but I can’t bring myself to do that!) He was simply a legend all day – picked me and my clobber up early doors, helped me get the stuff to the venue, helped me set the venue up and kept me company for the whole 8 hours before dropping me home too! A gargantuan effort by a proper soldier!
I also made loads of new friends too.
First up there was the lady who sells flowers on the stall in front of Boots, who kindly leant us her flower trolley to wheel all the DJ kit to Starbucks! I told her I’d big her up on my blog, so here goes:
IF YOU EVER NEED FLOWERS IN CWMBRAN – GO BUY THEM FROM THE LEGENDARY FLOWER LADY BY BOOTS AND TELL HER DJ DAI SENT YOU!!
I also got to know the staff at Starbucks loads better too. Obviously they already knew me as a regular, but now we’re on first name terms! They literally bent over backwards to accommodate us, loved the tunes (one of them was a proper D&B lover), encouraged us all day and told me they want me to do it again…soon! (I’ll def DJ for them again…but not for 8hrs!!) Throughout the day I met so many people, chatted with them, laughed with them and gave them Hill City CDs!
I was buzzin’ all day (and it wasn’t just the coffee on tap!) What really got me buzzin’ was how many friends came to support me in what I was doing! Hill City friends like Pete, Maggie, Margaret, Alan, Donna, Megan, Helen, Tegan and Sam, as well as other friends such as Richard Taylor, Gary and Ben Smith, Karen, Steff, Dellielou (hope that’s spelt right) and the Malpas Road girls (who graciously bought lunch for me and Al!)
Thanks to all who came (and all who didn’t come but prayed for me.) By the time I’d finished I felt keenly aware how blessed I am to have so many good mates!
5. The Music Level
It’s been a looooong time since I stood behind some decks purely to play music for a room-full of people. (I’ve done plenty of teaching workshops for high-energy kids – but that’s very different!) It didn’t take long for me to remember why I fell in love with DJing and it was great to blow the dust (literally) of some of my favourite drum & bass vinyls.
However, while I love my D&B, I think 8 hours of that would have driven people mad, which is why the wedge of records which I borrowed off my mate Carl Morris (the King of Quirkiness and inventor of Sleeveface) was such a God-send! Just when the D&B was starting to get too much I could whack on a bit of Dela Soul, Sam & Dave and even Lady and the Tramp!!
Mixing up the genres made the day go so much quicker and meant that most people’s tastes were catered for to some degree or other! I was reminded again what a beautiful, diverse, inexhaustibly creative gift God has given us in music!
We had put flyers on all the tables explaining what we were doing and I had a pictures of our recent trip to visit project BF201 on the wall by my decks. It was incredible how many people were touched by the vision and put money in the box on the way out. By the end of the day, what had started as a few copper coins (courtesy of Elen) had grow into a pot that was chocka-block full of cash! The target I had unofficially set myself was £250, so you can imagine my delight when I finally got home and counted the money to discover that I had made £272.26!!
However, that’s not the end of the story.
My crazy DJing adventure was only part of Hill City’s fund-raising drive to provide mozzy nets for all our kids and their families in BF201. The total amount we were aiming at was £1,133.30 – way more than I was ever going to raise on the wheels of steel. However, mine was the last piece in an already exhilarating jigsaw. Incredibly, James Richards had already walked 52 miles of the Cotswold Way, Claire Price had run the Cardiff half-marathon and Helen Leek had organised a car-boot sale – all for the mosquito net project!!
So here’s the incredible news – as I was finishing my 8 hour stint of Starbusking, Hill City Church was crossing the finish-line on the mosquito net project! I’m so excited to announce that we have now raised the full £1,133.30 and will be forwarding the funds to Compasson asap!
So thanks to all who supported me, but thanks more to my fantastic flock – for all your love, compassion and hard work in hitting target number one!
But don’t get too complacent – target number two (a playground for the kids) is up next.
I’m seriously considering a 24hour DJ mix marathon for that one!
Watch this space…