BBC Radio 6 Music DJ Gilles Peterson on his defining moments in the capital


The first pub where you felt like a local?

The old Belvedere Arms on Sheen Road in Richmond. It was a small place that became really big around 1988-90, when acid house was just coming. All the jazz bohemians who were in the grass and poetry gathered with the ravers who were returning from a night of decadence. It was a meeting of different tribes.

First big night?

When I was about 17, I organized a coach trip from south London to a club called The Royalty in Southgate for a jazz-funk night. I was a budding DJ and the only way to get a warm-up set was to bring a trainer loaded with soulboys. It was amazing, and it was the first time my name was on a flyer. Back then, the way to get noticed was to have a crowd. Somehow that hasn’t really changed.

Fancy first meal?

There was a place in Leicester Square called the Swiss Centre. I’m half-Swiss, so my mum used to take me there from time to time. It probably wasn’t that fancy, but it definitely is felt chic to go there and have a cheese fondue. It was a bit of a nostalgic moment from the 80s – the center no longer exists. It’s probably a cinema these days.

First room where you played?

When I was 15 or 16, I was a DJ at this place called Christies Wine Bar, in Sutton. I told my mother that I was at a friend’s house and that I would be back at midnight. I played until 10 p.m., then [house DJ] Carl Cox would end the evening to close at 11 p.m. Strangely enough, I’m actually DJing at his 60th birthday in a few weeks.

Listen to Gilles Peterson on BBC Radio 6 Music. Sat 3-6 p.m.

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