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Paul Wellings

Paul Wellings

Paul Wellings (pictured here with the great Barry White), AKA Paul T/DJ Madhatter was one of the original  rebel pioneers of underground black music on the iconic LWR pirate radio station in the 80s and is an acclaimed author, broadcaster, journalist and spoken word artist. He attended the famous free Anna Scher Drama School in Islington, North London (where Kathy Burke, Spandau Ballet's Gary and Martin Kemp, Phil Daniels and Oscar-winner Daniel Kulaya went). He was named after the civil rights singer Paul Robeson (his mum's favourite). He was born in the London Newtowns and raised in the East End and is the grandson of a famously philanthropic Miner.

In 1985 Wellings was lucky to land a prestigious freelance job on the music press with the New Musical Express (NME), thanks to iconic Editor Neil Spencer and also on Black Echoes. He was one of the first to write about the Rare Groove/Rap scene and its links with the soccer casual movement. He hates name droppers (as he told The Pope recently!) but has interviewed hundreds of diverse musicians including James Brown, Barry White, Public Enemy, Lady Leshurr, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, the Rolling Stones, the Sex Pistols, the Specials, LL Cool J, Queen Latifah, Yellowman, Paul Weller, Jazzie B, Natalie Cole, Barry White, Ian Dury, Norman Jay, the Wailers, Gregory Isaacs, John Martyn, Ronnie Scott, and random oddities like Hollywood actor Christian Slater, activist Tony Benn and the notorious Reggie Kray.

He also worked on Mojo, the Daily Mirror and London's Evening Standard, writing about sport, music and showbiz. Paul has appeared on numerous TV shows discussing football, black music, youth culture, soccer casuals, and pirate radio. He was interviewed for the major ITV music series S.O.U.L. about underground music. In the early 1980s as a teenager his punk-reggae group the Anti Social Workers released the LP Positive Style, produced by the legendary reggae producer the Mad Professor (of Massive Attack fame) spitting lyrics over his dub tunes, to rave reviews. The group supported reggae royalty Peter Tosh (Bob Marley's partner) and Eek A Mouse on tour and did well in the Japanese reggae charts. He has performed poetry with the likes of John Cooper Clarke and Benjamin Zephaniah. He has had five books published: This Is The Modern Word (his poetry collection); I'm A Journalist...Get Me Out Of Here (about life on the NME and Mirror); Spend It Like Beckham (about the greed in football); Sex, Lines And Videotape (about cult movies); The Divine Comedians (about Radical Stand Up Comedy) and the screenplay Thieves (for BBC Play For Today). But his expertise was as a rare grooves DJ with underground radio station LWR (the station that launched Radio 1's Pete Tong, Carl Cox, Mr C, Westwood, Derek B and Maxi Jazz from Faithless). He has DJ'd at Ministry Of Sound in London and Pacha in Ibiza. He was one of the first DJs to play Public Enemy and Soul II Soul on air anywhere in the world and was a B-Boy DJ as a teenager. Now he just DJs, performs spoken word and writes when he can. He is married to the cousin of the late great reggae superstar Sugar Minott. He is fuelled by socialism, the love of a good woman and West Ham United.

Read Paul's article on famous film quotes

9 articles

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Anti Social Workers and Me

Book Excerpt by Paul Wellings, 'I'm A Journalist...Get Me Out Of Here', 2004

UNLIKE MOST music journalists, I didn't want to be in a band. I'd signed a record deal a year before through the legendary dub producer ...

Natalie Cole, Ian Dury, Terry Farley, Gregory Isaacs, The Jam, The Specials: Top 10 interviews

Memoir by Paul Wellings, Louder Than War, June 2021

10. Terry Farley, Superstar House DJ Terry was my Editor at Boys Own fanzine. He was a country bumpkin from Royal Berkshire but he had ...

The Good Bad and The Queen, Janet Jackson, Prince, Public Enemy, Sex Pistols, The Specials, Thin Lizzy, Peter Tosh, Wiley: Top 10 Gigs

Memoir by Paul Wellings, Louder Than War, June 2021

10. The Good, The Bad And The Queen, Rock Against Racism 30th anniversary, Victoria Park, London. 2008 I went to the original RAR gigs and ...

John Lydon: Lydon and I

Book Excerpt by Paul Wellings, 'I'm a Journalist...Get Me Out of Here!', 2004

I BLUFFED my way into journalism and am still bluffing in the PR world. If the truth were told, most journalists are bluffers to some ...

List of genre pieces

The Ultimate Top 10 Pirate Radio DJ guide to Underground Black Music clubs and Anthems

Guide by Paul Wellings, Vice, April 2021

1. The Four Aces, Dalston, London I was never one to go to those mainly white clubs that the suburban househeads went to. I was partly ...

Eastie Boys: Real Life in London's East End

Report by Paul Wellings, The Evening Standard, 24 July 1987

IT IS A HOT day in London’s East End. I’m sitting in my home of Stepney, sipping an ice-cool lager outside the infamous Blind ...

Make my day: the best (and worst) lines in the history of film

Essay by Paul Wellings, The Independent, 20 October 2006

As in life, first impressions count in cinema. In Citizen Kane (1941), the opening word, Charles Foster Kane's dying utterance "Rosebud", holds the key (perhaps) ...

The Badder the Better: Soulboy Life in London

Report by Paul Wellings, The Evening Standard, 31 March 1988

IN LONDON TOWN, they’re funking till they’re raw. From badland clubland they’ve voted with their feet for black soul music. Pirate stations like ...

The Rise and Rise of the Casual: Football and Music

Book Excerpt by Paul Wellings, 'Spend it Like Beckham', 2005

THE BEST FANZINES in the mid 80’s were The End (from Liverpool, written by Pete Hooton, lead singer of The Farm, whose single ‘Altogether Now’ ...

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