Family and friends bid their final fare-wells to David Hiscock in Melbourne recently in a salute to one of the Melbourne scene’s old guards.
Around 200 mourners turned out to the funeral at Xavier College Chapel to celebrate the life of the much-loved disc jockey who will be remembered fondly for his great love and knowledge of music.
A wry smile crossed people’s lips, among the tears as Hiscock’s casket was carried out to Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive, cited as one of his favourite songs.
A true disco diva, Hiscock spun the sparkly, dance fever sounds the punters wanted to hear, to lust and dance the night away.
Hiscock, 58, died suddenly of a heart attack on April 25 after a music career spanning more than 37 years.
Kevin Attwood of the Xchange Hotel remembers meeting the friendly DJ who introduced him to Donna Summer and was never too busy to chat.
Attwood said -˜Hilda’, as he was affectionately known, was his mentor in the late ’70s. Attwood would hang around after the spectacular shows at Pokeys nightclub in St Kilda to listen to Hiscock’s set.
-œHe was always playing the latest and greatest, he said.
Moving away from vinyl, Hiscock was on to the cassette technology of the time, able to mix two tapes playing at once, as he listened with headphones.
Attwood said he remembered a night Hiscock got hold of a new song, waving it with glee as he headed for the DJ booth.
-œHilda was running through the crowd. It was like a wave -” Moses parting the Red Sea, Attwood said with a laugh.
And the song in question? A hot-off-the-presses Village People track from the movie Can’t Stop The Music.
Although well-known in Sydney, it was in Melbourne Hiscock started his career beginning as a DJ at Carlton’s Dover Hotel in 1971.
He is most remembered, however, for his stints at the Union Hotel in Carlton, where he worked with Doug Lucas, and Pokeys nightclub in St Kilda up until the late ’70s.
The last venue he played before heading north was Dix on Sunday nights at St Kilda’s Esplanade Hotel.
At the funeral, David’s aunt, Mary Hiscock, paid tribute to her nephew, saying he was musical from an early age, performing in Gilbert and Sullivan productions while at school.
-œHis first performance in The Mikado -” he was unforgettable, she said.
Mary Hiscock spoke of David’s strong family ties and his -œzany and wacky humour.
Friend of over 12 years, Clinton Smith, flanked by around 20 of David’s close friends from Sydney, told mourners of the outpouring of emotion from the community upon news of his death.
Earlier in Sydney, Hiscock’s home since 1981, friends and followers met at the Midnight Shift club on Oxford St to light candles and speak of the man who made them laugh and dance for nearly 40 years.
Hiscock took a job at Disco City Records, one of the first stores in the country to stock the latest dance music and a place he once referred to as -œthe most important record store open in Sydney at the time.
It was there he started to develop his notoriously extensive knowledge of music. Always well ahead of any emerging trends, he came to be a taste-maker on the Sydney scene, sharing his latest and greatest disco and pop finds with devoted fans of his regular sets at the Newtown Hotel and the Midnight Shift -” and then his annual performances at the Mardi Gras party.
Those performances earned him two awards, including a DIVA in 1995 and a Caps Award in 1989.
-œHe’s been in the gay community forever, so he’s going to leave a big void, said Midnight Shift owner Tim Berry.
For Sydney drag identity, Cindy Pastel (Ritchie Finger) David’s ability to recall -˜your song’ was one of the most delightful parts of his personality and indicative of his kindness.
-œHe was a real gentleman to me and gave out this incredible amount of appreciation towards you and was really grateful to know you -” you don’t find that much any more, it’s rare, he said.
-œHe had respect for you without it mattering who or what you were. He never said a bad thing about anyone and I never heard him bitch about anyone either.
New Mardi Gras chairman David Imrie recalled Hiscock as a -œconsummate professional.
-œHis uplifting retro and disco repertoire brought energy, camp and a true sense of fun to the thousands who boogied to his tunes.
Midnight Shift co-worker and close friend Damon Hartley reiterated that it would be hard to find someone to take Hiscock’s place above the dancefloor.
-œDavid has been a member of the community for 30-plus years and has always been very generous and giving of time and technical capabilities, he said.
-œHe was always there for charity, was always there to help the girls with their shows -” especially the young drags.
-œHe was generous to a fault and always very loving and kind in words, always positive and that makes a big difference to people when times aren’t necessarily great.