Tom Norridge T/A Crossfade Disco, 218 London Road, Headington, Oxford. OX3 9EE

(01865) 762901 tom@crossfade.co.uk

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What exactly is “Cheese”?

Cheese has to be one of the most widely used terms to describe music but what exactly does it mean? I was first made aware of “Cheese” back in 1996/7 when I started playing at University balls and bops. Oxford students would ask for Cheese, which generally meant party classics from the 70s and 80s covering multiple genres, but mainly pop. In 2017, Cheese is a very broad term indeed when it comes to describing music and is, more often than not, a matter of personal opinion! Here, I have tried breaking down exactly how Cheese differs and how it can often be misunderstood in so many ways, often with divided opinions….

In recent years, I have had brides requesting ‘No Cheese at our wedding please!’ and I’ll always ask to which extent. For many, Cheese is those cringeworthy novelty party dances such as the Birdie Song, Macarena, anything by Black Lace, Barbie Girl, Saturday Night, Gangnam style and such like. Basically ‘please get everyone up dancing but don’t embarrass us!’
To others, this extends to popular classics from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and now, even the 00s. These are the evergreen classics that are played at weddings and parties every weekend across the country, week in, week out. Examples include Do Wah Diddy, Build me Up Buttercup, I want You Back, Dancing Queen, I Will Survive, Blame It On The Boogie, Come On Eileen, Summer of ’69, Don’t Stop Me Now, Livin’ On A Prayer, U Can’t Touch This and many, many others, can be described as Cheese.

But in other extremes, especially from a clubbing point of view, Cheese can mean pretty much any song that has been a commercial success! I’m talking about those Dance Classics which became Top 10 hits. The likes of Robin S – Show Me Love, Black Box’s Ride On Time (which spent 6 weeks at Number One in the late summer of 1989), Darude’s Sandstorm, Energy 52’s Café Del Mar, (yes, Cheese can even include Ibiza classics too!) Pop and Dance besides, even Hip-hop and Rock aren’t safe from the Cheese Factor according to some folk. Think Run-DMC, Sugarhill Gang, and I hate to say it, even the likes of Aerosmith, Def Leppard and Guns’N’Roses! One good way of looking at Cheese is viewing it in the same way as the edible kind. From the cheap processed stuff through to a good mature Cheddar, a quality Swiss cheese (we all love a bit of Emmental, right?), Stilton (fetch me the Port and bicuits please!) and many others, you get the idea!

As a professional DJ, I have a few ground rules when playing at a wedding or other predominately adult function. The previously mentioned novelty party dances are on my banned list unless specifically requested, especially if there’s a number of kids present. At the same time, especially when a Bride has asked me so, the more predictable party classics can also be avoided. A good DJ will always have a few alternative classics up his or her sleeve, and with years of experience, will know exactly when and where to play them! But for those who want a full-on Cheese fest, who am I to stop them!? Some say a little bit of Cheese does you good, some hate it! Musical Cheese, is after all, as previously mentioned, a matter of personal opinion and I’m always interested to know what you class as Cheese in the meantime. I hope this helps define the overall perception of what we call Cheese! After all, Cheese can be a good part of a balanced diet, and the same can apply to music!

William & Katherine Clarke – 9th July 2016 Wedding

Tom is incredibly passionate about providing a great wedding music experience. We decided to book Tom after only a brief email exchange, as his enthusiasm was clear from early on. Tom was happy and keen to meet us several times in the run up to the wedding, to get to know us and our music tastes. He provided / sourced everything for the evening’s musical entertainment; including dance floor, disco ball, speakers and lighting. Tom was flexible with the arrangements for setting up at the venue, and dealt directly with the venue manager, once put in touch with them. On the wedding evening, Tom played a wide selection of fantastic music, taking songs from both our suggestions, and some our guests left via ‘Song Request cards’ handed out at the wedding breakfast. Tom provided great energy and liveliness to the evening, and the dance floor was still full at the end of the night!

“Absolutely Brilliant!!!” Lee & Justine Wedding April 2015

I recently got married and I’m not one for the cheesy DJ and I wanted to choose a lot of the music and have a classy feel to the night and Tom provided exactly that – He adapted to exactly what we wanted, he was a pleasure to work with, and as well as being a lovely guy he is an excellent DJ who really helped make our day special. Thank you Tom! Justine and Lee 🙂 xx

Cotswolds Wedding – Thiaga & Jamie 30th August 2014

Another lovely post from my Facebook page!

What an absolutely fantastic Disco! Tom was the DJ at our wedding in the Cotswolds last night and he was absolutely amazing! The dance floor was never empty starting from the first dance and we have had nothing but compliments from everyone!
Also, he has personally cared about us as a couple from the start.

Thank you Tom! 🙂 xxx

Wedding – Jodie & Shaun

Hi Tom!

Wow… What can I say?!

I would just like to drop you an email in regards to our wedding on 27th June, we had an amazing time and would like to thank you for such an awesome disco, everyone has said how good it was and you kept everyone on the dance floor all night long so big thanks for that!

Thanks once again, we shall definitley be recommending you!

Regards,

Mr and Mrs Hartree

Wedding – Fiona and Nick

Hi Tom

I’ve been so busy that have not had the chance to thank you personally for the disco, we had excellent feedback from the guests about music you played. Both Fiona and myself thoroughly enjoyed the evening. I hope you manage to get some more bookings from it and I would certainly recommend you.
Anyhow thanks again, happy to give you as a reference if anyone asks!

Nick and Fiona

Christmas Party – Burford Garden Company

Hi Tom!

Happy New Year to you!

Our Christmas party is a distant memory now and we are back to business as usual.
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the evening…it was a great success. Thank you for helping to make it great.

I was really sorry that I didn’t get to meet up with you on the night, but I couldn’t get through the crowds on the dancefloor! Rest assured, I shall certainly keep your details on file for our next event.

Kind regards,

Elaine

Wedding – Daniel & Juliet

Hi Tom

Juliet and I would just like to thank you and Crossfade for Saturday night, you did a fantastic job. And rest assured we will be recommending you to friends with forthcoming events. Thank you!

Kind regards,

Daniel and Juliet Cox

40th Birthday Party – Lisa

Hi Tom!
Just a quick note to say thank you very much for doing the disco on Saturday night.
I’ve lost count of the number of people who have stopped me around the village to say how much they enjoyed the mix of music that you played. In Derek’s words “You got it spot on!”

Thanks again!

Lisa

60th Birthday Party – Francesca Engelmann

Dear Tom,

Thank you so much for the fantastic music on Saturday. Everyone has said what a terrific job you did. One guest said it was far and away the best music at a party/wedding he had ever heard. With such varied ages, you pitched it just right and got everyone going. We also liked the way you did it all so unobtrusively, some DJ’s feel they have to be part of the act, chatting away, but you did all that was necessary in that department and let the music speak for itself. I also really appreciated you offering to stay later and was mortified that you were left alone to pack up and switch out the lights. I do so hope you didn’t mind. Thank you so much for a wonderful evening.

Francesca Engelmann