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The Life of a DJ in the Days of Communist Romania

Here’s another great story from the guys at Vice:

Westerners tend to imagine cities under communist control as being bleak gray concrete expanses where the only form of entertainment revolved around watching your toenails grow through the holes in your socks. In some cases, that actually isn’t too far from the truth, but in communist Romania there were plenty of pursuits to remind young people that they were young, like embroidery or woodwork, or—if you lived in the right place—dance parties complete with DJs and disco balls.Sorin Lupaşcu was one of those DJs. The 57-year-old now coaches aikido, but from 1974 to 1996 he organized and provided the soundtrack to countless Romanian parties, which means he manned turntables before, during, and after the 1989 revolution.

“Before the 1980s, the only parties that would last till the morning were the private ones,” he told me. “Marian, the local police officer—a young fellow who ogled all the girls desperately—used to say, ‘Comrade Lupaşcu, what can we do to make sure there won’t be any trouble tonight?’ I’d say, ‘Well, Marian, how about you come by and dance a little? I’ll give you some civilian clothes and you can tell the girls you’re my buddy.’”

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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