Hard house’s Tony De Vit is getting the blue plaque treatment

We’re big fans of honouring and celebrating dance music history here at Ears To The House. Despite the fact the genre has existed for almost four decades now, huge chunks of what happened in the past has barely been documented – it’s this type of information vacuum which allowed the likes of the Belleville Three to claim sole credit over techno’s origins for so long.

When house music reached the UK, the days of it all being considered just being one genre were surprisingly short. This isn’t unique to Britain – but within just a few years, clear sub-genres were starting to appear. And one of those was called hard house – which developed mostly out of European techno and early trance.

One of its main proponents was Tony De Vit – probably the DJ who did most to take the genre out of London and Birmingham and turn it into something more mainstream. However, like some in dance music history, his life was tragically to be a short one – he died on 2nd July 1998 after collapsing on a holiday in Miami and being diagnosed with HIV-related bronchial failure. He was only 40 years old.

For quite some years after his death, most of his original productions were unavailable anywhere due to legal issues. This meant those who did have the original vinyl releases were sometimes sitting on little goldmines. These were eventually resolved – but amidst quarrels over rights, memories have started to fade.

Well, the city of Birmingham, where he was from, wants to put that right. They’re putting a blue plaque up outside The Custard Factory on Gibb Street – so called because this literally was the place where instant custard was first created. Incidentally, a blue plaque is a distinctly British phenomenon of a permanent sign installed to “commemorate a link between that location and a famous person, event, or former building on the site, serving as a historical marker”.

It’s due to be unveiled on Saturday 24th September at the notably early time of 10.30am – and what better way to celebrate the event than a party afterwards? That’s exactly what’s an offer with the nine hour “Are You All Ready?” party – fittingly named after one of De Vit’s releases – taking place nearby from midday.

As we understand it, he’s the first DJ to have a blue plaque in his honour. Let’s hope it’s a long time before any more are issued – most blue plaque issuing societies typically insist they have to have been dead for several years first…

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