Tag Archives | Don Letts

DJ Derek

DJ Derek

It’s now been announced that the body found in woodland outside Bristol on 10th March, has been confirmed as being former Bristolian Reggae DJ, Derek Serpell-Morris (aka DJ Derek), who had been missing since July 2015. He was 73.

Derek retired from DJing in 2013, although he returned for a final one-off appearance at Bristol’s Thunderbolt on New Years Eve 2014, alongside fellow Reggae selector legend Don Letts (the sell-out event being filmed by Don for posterity).

Derek’s disappearance was, and for the meantime remains, a mystery. That someone so identifiable within the local community could seemingly vanish without trace left hope that perhaps he would miraculously turn up again somewhere, but as each week / month passed that hope evaporated, and more and more people came to believe that news of Derek’s death was inevitable. The last flickers of hope faded just before Christmas when reports of Derek being sited in London came to nothing more than a case of mistaken identity.

I wrote about Derek back in 2012, before he’d announced his retirement, in a blog post called ‘Never Judge A Book By It’s Cover’:

I’d imagined him enjoying a lengthy retirement travelling up and down the country quenching his thirst as he fulfilled his intention to visit every Wetherspoons Pub in Britain in order to sample their real ales (Derek, despite his JA leanings, more hops than herbal), but this tragically wasn’t to be.

By way of a fitting tribute, I’d highly recommend you take out the 20 minutes necessary to watch this film about Derek by Jamie Foord, which celebrates his DJ career and love of both Jamaican and American black music: Pt 1: https://vimeo.com/1758371 Pt 2: https://vimeo.com/1758440

There’s also this wonderfully observed 4 minute short by Yan Murawski:

DJ Derek Sweet Memory Sounds

DJ Derek Wikipedia:



Just wanted to make you aware of a project my former Invisible Players colleague, Don Letts, has been commissioned to produce, focusing on the clothing brand, Fred Perry, and its cultural relevance in the UK from the Mods in the 60’s to Britpop in the 90’s, and right up to date via their association with Amy Winehouse, whose designs for the brand continue to be released, with the full blessing of her family, following her untimely death last July.

Through the ‘Tell Us Your Story’ website, Don is currently asking for people to come forward with any Fred Perry related footage they may have recorded down the years, whilst you can also submit your photos and share your memories on the site. So if you are, or you know someone who can contribute, the full lowdown is here:

Don, who shines immortal as the DJ that turned the Punks on to Reggae at London’s Roxy (76/77), and who later experienced chart success as a member of Big Audio Dynamite in the 80s, has made numerous films and documentaries since his 1978 debut ‘The Punk Rock Movie’.  He currently presents his twice weekly ‘Culture Clash’ radio show on BBC6 Music.

Don Letts Wikipedia: