From Radio to Riviera Royalty: Peter's Story

Updated: Jan 11

Peter Mackley - From Radio to Riviera Royalty

Published in DJ Mag April 2013

"How did you end up on the French Riviera?"

That's the question I get asked most frequently. The short answer is that I came over for summer work 20 years ago, and I'm still here. The longer answer involves a number of rather strange decisions and some huge slices of luck.

It's a story that wouldn't have been the same if it wasn't for a summer job on a camp site, a karaoke bar in New Orleans, Shirley Valentine .... and a scratched  vinyl single of La Bamba!

Would any of this have happened if it wasn't for Steve Wright! "That's who I want to be" said a 12 year old me! In those days he was an up-and-coming jock on late-night radio Luxembourg, and I was growing up in Belgium with no access to English TV.  My best friend was a little transistor radio and the presenters on Fab 208!

Of course, Steve Wright went on to become a celebrity DJ and a household name. My path took me to the French Riviera, and a career as a radio presenter, "special events" DJ, Master of Ceremonies and now as event manager with Riviera Organisation! It's a career that has been exciting, challenging and rewarding, but, at the same time, it's amazing it ever happened at all!

La Bamba was my first lucky break. I have never heard of this game since and perhaps it was unique to our school! Everytime La Bamba was played at a school disco, a circle was formed around the dance floor with one person in the middle. That person could choose to kiss anyone in the circle, who would in turn move into the middle and so on and so on. Of course, it degenerated into everyone kissing anyone sometimes more enthusiastically than others, and so teenage relationships were formed. How did that launch my DJ career? Well I was the only person in my school year that owned a copy of La Bamba. I found it in a second hand store and it was quickly the jewel in my growing record collection of almost one hundred singles. A friend of mine, Victor, had all the DJ gear ... but I had the music, and I had La Bamba !!! For that reason alone I became the DJ for all our school parties from the age of 13!

Coming to the French Riviera was such a spontaneous off-the-cuff decision that it almost seems like destiny.

At the end of the University school year, I had a regular summer job waiting for me at the University refectory but I decided to do something different! I borrowed £100 from a friend of mine and booked a train to Antibes - the next day. My plan was to get a job on a campsite and only chose Antibes because it was first in alphabetical order and it seemed like a good place to start! I arrived in Antibes early one morning in May 1988 and started knocking on doors trying to find work. I had enough refusals to start questioning the wisdom