DJ paulette: how perimeno knocked her sideways at 39 (39!)

My guest today is a true trailblazer. If you’ve ever been a clubber, DJ Paulette will need zero introduction. If you haven’t, well, all you really need to know is she has been breaking barriers since day one. One of the Hacienda’s first female DJs, she became a stalwart of the Manchester music scene in the 90s, before being catapulted to stardom playing crowds of tens of thousands all over the world. All this in a world that’s a notorious boys club; where women famously have to do it backwards in high heels. And as a black queer woman she’s had to do triple back flips as well, just to get a fraction of the recognition.

In November 2022 she became the first female of colour to win DJ Magazine’s lifetime achievement award, amongst an all-male roll-call. (Surprise!)

Now she’s reliving those years in her first book. Welcome to The Club - the life and lessons of a black woman DJ, discusses the highs and lows, the sexism, racism and ageism, she’s navigated throughout her 30 year career.

Paulette joined me from Manchester to talk about how perimenopause knocked her sideways at 39. 39! Being told no-one would book her bc she was too old at 41. The career-kids conundrum. Back fat, underarm vaginas & a kangaroo pouch. Being older at 24 than 54. And why she will never stop sticking her neck out.

If you loved this episode, you might also like my conversations with Annie Macmanus and Karen Arthur.

* You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at The Shift bookshop on, including Welcome to the Club by DJ Paulette and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me.

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The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Juliette Nicholls @ Pineapple Audio Production. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.

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