The friendship between Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim and Inspired Support goes back to around 2014. It is a legendary story given how a relatively new company, could gain recognition and friendship from a global superstar such as Norman Cook. The story has been around the Inspired journey for years now and people often refused to believe the tale.
Another superstar DJ who is also a friend or Inspired Support, Rory Hoy, knew all about our friendship with Norman Cook and when he decided to chronicle the story of The Big Beat scene, Rory got in touch with Director David Winship to ask his permission to include the story in his upcoming book The Big Beat Book - stories spun from the decks.
Here is the story as documented in The Little Big Beat Book:
Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim is still an inspiration to millions everywhere. In fact he helped a fellow fan find his dreams of becoming a DJ himself. Dave Winship, who runs an organisation for vulnerable people called Inspired Support, based in Newcastle, has a roster of DJ tribute acts, special volunteers taking on the roles of famous DJs. One of them Fatboy Slima (real name Joe), who's a tribute to Fatboy Slim, and when the man himself heard about what Inspired Support do, Norman endorsed what this amazing organisation does as explained by Dave himself:
"When we set up Inspired Support we had a man called Joe who came to us and asked for support to change his life. Joe had been going to traditional institutionalised day services, and therefore had been isolated from the joys of real life. Joe had a love of music, but had not been exposed to the joys of dance music. We introduced Joe to DJing and he did a project about Fatboy Slim. Through the research Joe absolutely loved the music and imagery of Fatboy Slim and decided that, as part of the project, we would recreate the sights and sounds of a Fatboy show.
After a long enjoyable process, we had Joe DJing in the style of Fatboy and we were recreating visuals and stage sets to match the fun and ethos of the original man himself. The concept of Fatboy Slima was born and a chance booking enabled Joe and the Inspired team to take the show to a live audience. Mighty Dub Fest was the first time out for Fatboy Slima, and we did not know how it would go down. We built the stage set on a budget, using a lighting setup that we had cobbled together, but that created amazing visuals utilising lasers and smoke, and projectors that we had borrowed to stream the visuals. The stage was adorned with smileys, we had dancers with smiley masks and an MC to raise the crowd. Was the concept going to work???
At 10pm Fatboy Slima took to the stage in front of a small gathering of festival goers. By 10.30pm the crowd had swelled to close to a thousand. The crowd watching the main stage headline act had heard rumours of what was happening on our outdoor stage. The main marquee emptied and Fatboy Slima had stolen the show. What can only be described as a landmark moment has been created - the likes of which are reserved for, well, yes, the likes of Norman Cook. The crowd bounced, sang and came together as one to the sounds of Fatboy Slim courtesy of Fatboy Slima.
In 2014 Stuart Mair, who was a commissioning manager in West Sussex Council, contacted us to find out information about Fatboy Slima and Inspired Support. When he realised what amazing work we were doing, enabling people with autism and learning disabilities, to develop their lives and experiences, he asked if we minded him telling Norman about our work. It turned out that Stuart was one of Norman's very good friends, and he thought that Norman would love our work and the Fatboy Slima concept. Stuart contacted Norman and relayed a message to us that Norman had seen our videos and that he would be in touch on his return to the UK.
Months went by and a parcel arrived at Inspired Support. On opening the parcel, I was blown away to see a load of signed merchandise and a personally written letter from Norman to Joe. Norman had put a lot of his own time and effort in to sending the parcel of goodies, but it showed what a top man he is, and it created the beginning of a bond between our small social care organisation and one of the best DJs in the world. Norman gave his best wishes to Inspired Support and Joe and the work we do and basically gave his backing and love to the Fatboy Slima concept, finishing the letter saying "hopefully one day we can DJ together" - now there is a true legend.
The following year Norman was DJing at Majorca Rocks when I was due on a family holiday in Majorca. Joe and the rest of the guys at Inspired insisted that I met up with Norman and gave him some of Inspired's merchandise as a thank you for his gift to us. It just so happened that we had hoodies, that were emblazoned with smileys and the strap line 'Eat Sleep Inspire Repeat'. Norman invited me and my girlfriend to the show for a meet and greet. Norm made us VIP and it was an absolute pleasure to meet the man himself - they say never meet your heroes, but this man is an absolute top man. Norm put the hoodie straight on and took great interest in the work we do at Inspired. Norm went on to blow Majorca Rocks away in true Fatboy style.
In 2016 Fatboy Slim announced a big outdoor show in Newcastle and this proved to be the ideal opportunity for the guys, and more specifically Joe, to meet Norman. Norm organised for the guys to be VIP at the show and a meet and greet was all lined up, Fatboy Slim was going to meet Fatboy Slima for the first time. The meet and greet was amazing, with Norm making the guys very welcome and chilling with them back stage. Once again the friendship and bond was further sealed between us all. Fatboy Slim went on to play and amazing set with the Inspired team raving in the VIP lounge.
"What can we say about Norm, he is a top man, a DJ icon, a UK superstar and an Inspired legend.
Inspired Support are proud to introduce you to one of the North Easts most prolific new artists who is on a journey to making it big in the art world. Gary Wales is a loveable quirky character who displays all the characteristics of a creative genius. Gary’s artwork is of a very high standard and has started selling at around £60 a painting. Gary has honed his very own style and it is not uncommon for him to produce at least one work of art per day. Moody, deep, meaningful are just a few of the words used to describe his work. Check out his facebook page https://www.facebook.com/GARY-WALES-ART-1436459623332613/ .
What makes this even more formidable is the fact that just over 12 months ago Gary was struggling to cope with his Autism Spectrum Condition and was completely socially isolated in a very dark place. Fortunately his social worker knew about Inspired Support and our innovative ways that enable people to change their lives for the better.
As Inspired Support do best, we searched for a mentor who could take Gary on this journey. Within the creative hub that Inspired Support work within in Newcastle, there were many professional artists, but we needed a good match and someone who could support Gary on his journey. The answer came in the amazing professional artist that is Jaisen Yates (https://www.facebook.com/events/994763573896441/).
Jaisen is a big name in the art world and agreed to get involved as one of the team. Jaisen mentored Gary and supported him to develop his own unique style that is evident in the work we see today. Jaisen continues to support Gary today and the next phase of Garys progress is imminent. Gary is currently having his own art studio built amongst other creative artists in Breeze Creatives’ ‘Bamburgh House’. Watch this space for Gary’s own art exhibition which is also in the planning stages.
Inspired Support are proud that Gary chose to work with us and help him on his journey to becoming an artist in his own right. A true creative genius in the making and a great, quirky guy to boot.
Inspired Support are leading specialists in the world of Autism Spectrum Conditions and Learning Disabilities.
Inspired Support Ltd
Working for you in the communities of the North East
Richard Lamb 07825958024
David Winship 07881958054
The Inspired Support team are all great professional mentors and are all DBS checked.
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