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Rigsy, The Early Years

Stuart Bailie | 09:16 UK time, Friday, 8 July 2011

I remember Rigsy in those innocent days before he was a broadcaster, DJ, scenester and bachelor of the most eligible kind. Back in 1997 he was an effervescent kid from Newcastle called David O’ Reilly. He used to enter all the Across The Line competitions, he virtually stalked Mike Edgar and he introduced himself to me as the guy who was gonna bring the Chemical Brothers to a huge gig in the shadow of the Mourne Mountains.

I thought he would eventually calm down, but I underestimated the chap and his supplies of innate fizz. On another occasion, he wrote me a letter, wanting to know if he should follow his dream by way of a post-grad journalism course. I’ve had a few of these letters over the years and sometimes, to my shame, I have forgotten to respond. But a few days after the O’ Reilly note, I sent him back an answer, suggesting that if he wanted to bum a ride on the rock and roller coaster, he might as well just improvise and busk the necessary skills along the way.

And so he put in his time with Colin Murray and Paul McNamee on Blank magazine, became more embedded in ATL, played in a few bands and started up a club that was named after something I wrote in a music column. I should have taken out shares in thon Sketchy enterprise.

Anyway, Rigsy was deputising for the Alan Simpson Show on Tuesday afternoon and he gave me a birthday shout on the airwaves. It was a kind and respectful message, although he made me sound like a retired Wing Commander. And then he played Design For Life by the Manic Street Preachers, which is a kind of theme song and a most cherished blast of sentimentality. He got me.

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