DON your leg-warmers, pixie boots and oversized blazer, perm your hair and grab your Filofax, because this weekend we are all going back to the ‘80s.

The decade where ‘greed was good’ is remembered for solid Tory rule, civil strife and industrial decline... all of which sounds curiously familiar.

But for DJs Rich Craven, ‘Deadly’ David Crabtree and Graham Rice, the decade was also one of big hits and feelgood anthems, which they plan to play for a nostalgia-fuelled 24 hour epic eighties extravaganza.

The session, which will be broadcast on Zoom online from noon on Saturday to the same time on Sunday, will raise money for mental health charity Oxfordshire Mind.

The DJs call themselves Newlands Soundsystem, after the Eynsham pub of the same name in which, under normal circumstance, they can usually be found.

The musical marathon is the brainchild of ‘Deadly’ – a former member of iconic Oxford band The Rock of Travolta and the long-suffering roadie for cult musician John Otway. A dedicated Oxford United fan and celebrated footballer himself, his nickname is a reference to his goal-scoring prowess.

“The pandemic has been an extremely tough time for charities who have lost out on many of their usual fundraising activities, with many events that charities rely on to find their services cancelled,” he says.

“Much of the focus has been, and rightly so, on the physical health of the nation and lots of money has been raised for NHS charities. Mental health is equally important and the people at Oxfordshire Mind do a fantastic job in giving advice and helping people who are struggling. We wanted to help raise some money to help them keep their services going.”

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An indie music fan, the 80s are a change of pace for Deadly, dub and reggae enthusiast Rich, and North Leigh artist Graham.

Deadly goes on: “We figured that a lot of people have very fond memories of the 80s and, in particular, the music that came out of that decade. It’s also the perfect music to dance around in your living room to.

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“We shall be DJing in one hour slots from our own homes so that we all have to stay up for the full duration.”

And we can look forward to everything from the gloriously tacky to the seriously cool.

“Expect to hear every genre from full on pop cheese from Bananarama, Bucks Fizz and Kylie, classic tunes from artists such as Bowie, Madonna, Depeche Mode and Yazoo, and cult classics such as The Chameleons, Violent Femmes and Psychedelic Furs.”

So where did the idea come from? “You’ll be unsurprised to hear that idea came from the same place that every other silly idea that we have ever come up with,” he says.

“I used to be a music promoter and one of the events I helped to run was the January all-dayer Equitruck – the idea for which came from after a few pints with friends Andy Hill and Simon Stocker down at The Bear, in Oxford.

“Rich and I had a socially distant get together via Zoom, and a few cans of Guinness later, after discussing many issues of the day, we come up with the idea of hosting an epic 80’s extravaganza to raise some money for charity.”

The DJ collective usually features Holly Fulbrook, but with the turntablist unable to get involved, Graham stepped in.

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Deadly says: “Putting it all together has been fairly straightforward. Both Rich and I have been doing a few online discos and we have also been hosting our monthly quiz we used to run at the Newlands Inn, Eynsham online.

“The three of us have also been involved with a weekly music quiz known as The Musiquarium which has kept us in contact with everyone while trying to maintain the special community we have at the pub. Lockdown certainly hasn’t been easy, but it has shown the generosity and spirit of the community.

“Neighbours have all pulled together and the local support networks that have grown out of this shows how we can all rally round when the chips are down.

“Graham, as a local artist, has been doing portraits of some of our local NHS heroes which was a wonderful gesture.”

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All three are eager for life to return to normal – and particularly to see their beloved Newlands Inn open its doors – but hope the session will bring some fun to music lovers denied their usual fix of bar life.

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“I must admit that the biggest difficulty has been staying in one place for so long,” says Deadly.

“I’m used to spending most weeks travelling up and down the country with Otway. It will be quite some time before we’ll be able to do that again, but I do look forward to going to the Newlands and seeing everyone in person and being able to go and see Oxford United hopefully beating the likes of Reading in the Championship next season!”


  • The 24 hour epic 80s extravaganza starts at noon on Saturday, online on Zoom
  • To join, enter the following details. Meeting ID: 859 9208 1938 Password: EIGHTIES
  • Join here
  • Donate to Oxfordshire Mind