Passed/Failed: An education in the life of Paul Oakenfold, DJ and producer
'I struggled with my dyslexia'
Thursday 13 October 2005
My schools did as much as they could. It's easy to blame other people; it's harder to look in the mirror and say, "It's me!". I wish that my English was better, and my pronunciation, too. When you look back at school, you wish you'd paid more attention. If I ever have children, how will I get this across?
My parents lived in Highbury but I was born in Mile End hospital - as you can tell from my pronunciation, I'm a true cockney. My father decided that it would be better if we moved out to Greenhithe, near Dartford in Kent, so we went from a from a built-up area to a place a minute's walk from the countryside. The struggle at my primary school there was about fitting in: all the other kids were local and I was from London.
I learnt to play the piano at seven or eight. My father, who worked for the London Evening News, distributing the papers, had a skiffle band and there was always music floating around. I remember that I was on holiday when Elvis died.
I was about 10 when we moved to Croydon because of my dad's job. At Archbishop Lanfranc School, I made some good friends and I'm still in touch with them to this day. We were a band of boys but not a band playing music. The English teacher was the most popular with me; he seemed a lot more down-to-earth, a cool teacher. I liked doing photography (I have always dabbled since then), and I liked cooking (I studied to be a chef for four years).
I think I got six GCSEs and then left; I wanted to cut loose. I don't blame the school. I never did as well at school as people, seeing what I have achieved since then, imagine I must have done. I'm dyslexic; I'm not sure they knew what it was then. I struggled. I really lost interest in school and was sometimes on the verge of getting into trouble, until my family background dragged me back.
I came to terms with my dyslexia when I left. My mother and father brought someone in for about six months; it did help a little. I worked at the Army & Navy Club as a chef, and also did a course on the theory and practical side of catering, for one day a week at Westminster Tech. Also, I started to help a friend who was a DJ in a Covent Garden club. Then I went to New York - for music, not as a chef - and started to work as an A&R man. I signed up Will Smith and Salt'n'Pepa.
Having not really learnt as much as I would have liked to at school, I would now like to do something to help children with dyslexia. For a series that has just finished on Radio Galaxy, I took a classic story such as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Oliver Twist or Dracula, and wrote a narrative for an actor or a pop star to perform. I also did the music. Each one-hour programme went out every Sunday for a month, and then we would do a new one.
My idea is: why not put these stories on to CD and send them to schools?
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 3 Belgium fan Axelle Despiegelaere lands L'Oreal campaign after World Cup viral photo
- 4 Britney Spears sings 'Alien' without Auto-Tune in embarrassing leaked audio clip
- 5 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Mick Jagger denies being World Cup curse and reason for Brazil’s embarrassing defeat
Israel-Gaza crisis: ‘We just want it to end… We don’t deserve to live like this’
Israel-Gaza crisis: Eight killed in Gaza Strip cafe while watching World Cup semi-final
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
£24000 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...
On Application: Council of Europe: The European Court of Human Rights’s judgme...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Charter Selection: A professional services company ...
£400 - £450 per day: Orgtel: Project Manager (PM), Key Banking Client, Retail ...