Julie Hamill: Big Apple encounter, Regent Street

Julie Hamill: Big Apple encounter, Regent Street

I plug in my iPhone to charge but no zig zag appears in the box. The settings indicate that the battery needs replacing as it’s almost four years old and lead me to the Apple Genius Bar. I get a same-day appointment for 10.50am at the Regent Street Apple HQClever. History has taught me these appointments are always longer than ten minutes, so I take my laptop with me so I can work while I wait.


I’m seen by a guy named Steve. He is quite familiar to me but I’m not sure why. 


As he is running all the diagnostic tests I pull out my laptop and open it to a flyer on Canva, which Steve spots.


“Oh, you’re a DJ?” he says.


“No, I’m a writer, but occasionally I guest DJ at The Dublin Castle.”


“Oh, I know that place,” he says. “I’m a DJ.”


“I thought you looked familiar!” I say.


“I doubt you’d know me, I DJ’d in New York.”  


Well, my ears spring right up, as I lived in New York from 2000 until 2005 and while there DJ’d a couple of times at Shag, a bar in the West Village. Words start spilling out of my mouth faster than my brain can deliver, and we search to connect our Empire State adventures.


Steve DJ’d (and founded) a famous club night, NyLon, which wasn’t far from where I lived in Manhattan. I am of course, familiar with it as the streets and avenues used to be covered in NyLon (New York-London) flyers. 


He was there from the Nineties through the two thousands, so while my malfunctioning phone is getting checked in the back we track all the familiar places we frequented, from clubs, shops and subways to dive bars, diners and drug stores (that weirdly sold bread).


By day, Steve managed the Paul Smith shop, by night he was Steve McMahon, the NyLon house DJ. By day, I worked at Ogilvy in Midtown. We dive directly to the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon to find a ton of advertising people in common. Much like London, New York is a big city of possibility that also has a connective smallness where you can be anonymous AND bump into everybody you know.


After diagnostic tests on the phone, the DJ-turned-genius tells me the charging prongs are also damaged. I can either charge wirelessly with a new battery or get a replacement phone.


I swallow the cost of the phone (gasp), everything gets transferred and we say cheerio and good luck. You just never know who you’re going to meet in the big Apple.


Julie Hamill is a novelist, a radio presenter and more. Follow her on X/Twitter. Support OnLondon.co.uk and its writers for just £5 a month or £50 a year and get things for your money too. Details HERE. Photo: Apple Regent Street.

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