You Don't Need a Dick to DJ


Lee Brackstone, publisher, acquired world rights in all languages directly from the author, who is a world famous DJ and record producer. It will publish 23rd May 2024.

“Before she became Smokin Jo – the most famous and visible of the first generation of ‘superstar DJs’ – Joanne Joseph was a young girl growing up in a children’s home with her sister”, the publisher said. “Until her mother returned and whisked the siblings away just before secondary school to a flat on the Portobello Road, her life was devoid of music: the home didn’t allow it, apart from hymns and carols at Christmas.

“As she entered the turbulent years of adolescence, Jo found herself pulled towards Soho and the burgeoning underground acid house scene, instantly finding herself at home among other artists, musicians and misfits who breathed and survived on dance music and ecstasy. Within a couple of years, in a lightning-fast ascent, Jo claimed her permanent place as one of England’s most exciting and revered DJs of the British rave scene. In 1992, Jo was awarded DJ of the Year in DJ Mag’s list of Top 100 DJs. To this day she is still the only woman to achieve this accolade.”

Smokin Jo said: “It has been cathartic writing this book. Through my story, I wanted to inspire others to chase their dreams, no matter the circumstances or barriers that may exist.”

She described the book as “a very ‘warts ’n’ all’ story with the highs and lows of life, growing up in care in the 1970s from hitting the road as a successful international DJ to my descent into drink and drugs”.

“I’ve tried to be as honest an open as possible, so it’s quite daunting that my soul is bared. My hope is that it removes the veil so people can see it’s not all glamour,” she added.

Brackstone said: “Over the past few years several books have started to emerge from the club world, but there has been a notable and glaring absence: stories told by the women at the heart of the scene. Smokin Jo was one of perhaps only four female DJs at the moment when acid house started to bleed into the rave scene and she went on to become one of the most celebrated superstar DJs of the 1990s, a regular at Ministry of Sound in London, Space in Ibiza and pretty much every other great club institution across Britain and the continent.

“I read this book in 24 hours. It will come as no surprise that working as a Black female DJ in a world that was dominated by straight men has been a challenge. These challenges and the stark reality of dealing with them, are laid bare in You Don’t Need a Dick to DJ, a book that celebrates dance music culture, but also documents its perils, prejudices and pitfalls. Righteous stuff.”