There can only be one DJ

17th April 2009 at 01:00
And when it's the head, all others step back and allow the maestro take to the decks

When ian Macindoe became a DJ back in August 1978, John Travolta and Olivia Newton John topped the charts with their hit from Grease - "You're The One That I Want".

Ian started his teaching career at the same time and, 30 years later, the Aberdeen headteacher is still behind the decks on a Saturday night. This evening, he's agreed to host a school disco at the city's Muirfield Primary, where he was assistant head before his current headship at Kittybrewster Primary.

The theme for the evening is The Musicals - and among the rows of girls dressed as cheerleaders from High School Musical are a few five-year-olds with quiffs, paying homage to the Grease revival three decades on.

"I mostly do weddings and big dinner dances. It's just a total release, it's my way of de-stressing," says Ian, as he leads off stomping Primary 1s and 2s in another chorus: "I am the music man, I come from down your way and I can play. What can you play? I play piano... "

"Pia pia piano, piano, piano," the children yell back, as Ian's former colleagues clap and sing along. He flirted briefly with the idea of a career on radio with a try out on a breakfast show in the early 1980s.

But radio was never like this and Ian stuck with the role of live entertainer, where the disco divas vote with their dancing feet. "I always fancied doing the radio thing, but I soon discovered it's totally different. If you're in a studio, you don't have the same interaction."

The headteacher at Muirfield, Annie Sleven, appreciates her former colleague's talents. "Ian was my depute before he became a headteacher of his own school, and he has done discos all his life. When I met him, he was already doing discos. I can't imagine him not doing it," she says.

One of her deputes, Lesley Kidd, also worked alongside Ian. "It's an absolute skill, I would say. Ian has these children just eating out of his hand. I think it's understanding children, liking children, knowing his music and knowing the right sort of music for the different age groups. I think it's also a time for him to let go, an escape."

Ian's grown-up son Joe is now a professional DJ after his father showed him the ropes when he was just 13. Now Ian's about to pass on some of the entertainment and associated business skills to his P7 pupils at Kittybrewster, with the launch of a school disco business after the summer.

"I decided to spend our Determined to Succeed enterprise money to buy our own school disco with the aim - in line with A Curriculum for Excellence - of setting up a project which will be run very much with the children.

"We can really only have one DJ - a lot of the boys fancy being the DJ. But there are plenty of other roles - we need a road crew, maintenance, PR dept and someone to do the money side of things."

He sees endless opportunities for learning and for enterprise, offering the disco for hire to other schools for occasional functions. "We will even design light boxes - one of my classes is doing electricity at the moment," he says.

"We will have our own group of dancers who will demonstrate the Cha Cha slide, the Macarena, the YMCA - all the moves. So we have to talk about costumes, the name, the image, and we will have a website.

It will be very much planning from the children. They are very excited," says Ian, who is also a bit excited about it himself.

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