Manchester Worker Bee: meet DJ Paulette, radio presenter, writer and Hacienda DJ

'Nowhere in the world matches our openness, generosity, warmth and genuine all-round decency' says DJ Paulette about Manchester
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DJ Paulette is a true Manc, born in Crumpsall Hospital and raised in Prestwich and Fallowfield.

A DJ and radio presenter, and now “writer by trade and academic on the sly”, she plays big ticket gigs like Hacienda 40th at Hacienda Apartments and Classical Albert Hall, Castlefield, Moovin Festival, Mighty Hoopla, dreamland in Margate, Kelburn Garden Festival, Beatherder, Fields of Fantasy (Bristol), Homoelectric,  Brighton Pride, Birmingham Pride, All Points East, Glastonbury (NYC Downlow), Warehouse Project and Fatboy Slim’s ‘All Back To Minehead’.

DJ Paulette has three monthly radio shows for Reform Radio, Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide FM and a global residency that is syndicated worldwide and produced in collaboration with The Radio Department production company.

She also curates events, including ‘People Like Us’ at Escape To Freight Island, Manchester International Festival ‘In Conversation’, and ‘Homeground’ for HOME in Manchester.

She is currently in the process of writing her first book for publishers Manchester University Press, called Welcome To The Club, is a serving member on the Regional Committee (North) for the Musicians Union, and is a Power Up Mentor for shesaidso.

What got you started in your field of work?

Firstly? It was my love of music, my love of people, not caring that I had no idea what I was doing and having a beyond respectable vinyl record collection. Practically and technically it was being asked by Adele to DJ at her party at the Number 1 club which led to us pitching Paul Cons and Lucy Scher at A Bit Ginger Productions to host the second room at Flesh. This led to my four year residency at the Flesh Party at The Hacienda

Who have been the biggest influences on your work?

Grace Jones for the look and attitude, Tim Lennox, Paul Cons, Lucy Scher, Gilles Peterson and Norman Jay MBE for the music and my DJ career.

What is your proudest achievement so far?

Photo: Charlie J Watts

There have been so many but ‘Flesh’, licensing Afro Medusa’s Pasilda for Azuli Records in 2000, 2005 Solidays Parade through the streets of Paris, my 2018 ‘Homebird’ exhibition / gallery interruption for The Lowry Gallery, 2020 / 2021 livestreams with United We Stream which has now evolved into StreamGM and 2021 getting commissioned for my book Welcome To The Club (due in 2023) are equal stand out moments.

What does your typical day involve?

A little procrastination then yoga. Breakfast. Business calls / WhatsApps. Some manic typing. Interviewing. More manic typing. Interview transcription. Hours of listening to music for three very different sets. Weekends – DJing up and down the country.

And how do you relax on your days off?

Yoga. Walking. Gardening. Heaton Park is a godsend as is my sister Elicia’s dog, Walt. Cooking. Talking to friends. Switch off my phone for a few hours. Writing.

What is the best advice you have been given or can give?

Photo: Lee Baxter: Baxter Photography

My mum has always told me to reach for the stars and never take no as a final answer. My therapists have all said that the dark clouds will always pass. And Anthony H Pike told me, ‘you can’t always be everybody’s cup of tea, but that’s alright’.

If things hadn’t worked out, what else could you have seen yourself doing?

Teaching.

Tell us one thing about yourself people might be surprised to hear…

I have an identical twin sister who I’m super proud of called Paula Burdess, she is a Labour Councillor for Blackpool North.

Red or Blue?

Red ’til I’m dead. Politics and football.

If you could change one thing about Manchester, what would it be?

Maybe make it more of a 24 hour city? Or give us a few more weeks of sunshine and heat and we’ll be right, thanks – we’ve got everything else.

And finally, what do you love most about Manchester?

The people. Nowhere in the world matches our openness, generosity, warmth and genuine all-round decency.

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