Everyone has heard of Einstein and Carl Cox, but who are Mileva Marić and Maxine Bradshaw? Well, Mileva Marić was the brilliant scientist who was the first wife of Einstein, and who is argued to have contributed to the theory of relativity (Pauline Gagnon, Scientific American). Maxine Bradshaw was long-term partner and manager of Carl Cox . Drawing these comparisons, I am not suggesting that Maxine stood behind Carl on the decks, hands thrust under his armpits and helping to mix, (although who knows what goes on behind closed doors). Both of these ladies, however, were integral aides to their partner’s respective huge successes. Both remain relatively obscure.
In the wake of the new documentary starring Carl Cox and Martin Garrix called ‘What We Started’, I caught up with Maxine Bradshaw to talk about the early days. The thing that struck me from the few minutes that she appeared in the Channel 4 and Resident Advisor documentary, ‘Space is the Place’ was her description of people’s reactions to a ‘girl managing a DJ’. Back in the day, it must have been pretty unusual. Now in her 50s, and still slight and girlish with long brunette hair, she told me how she came to manage one of the world’s most famous DJs.
“It was the soul and funk scene then so I was going out. I suppose I was networking without even knowing I was networking. I knew a lot of people. I was sort of the party person who knew where to go what to do. And it wasn’t in Brighton really it was in London or wherever. And when I met Carl we decided to bring what we knew everywhere to Brighton and that’s how that kind of started. So we were putting parties on in places which weren’t clubs. So we would find venues and we would get people from outside of Brighton to come to our parties”
She was already getting a name for herself with promoters for being an excellent ticket seller. This gave her bartering power. If she was going to sell their tickets, they would have to book her Dj, and that was Carl Cox who went out and delivered. This is how his career really started to take off.
“The role of the manager just came from nowhere, I don’t even know how it started. It would just be like; ‘I’m gonna take control of this. I’m gonna start booking you’. ‘Cause I was just able to sell him. It’s not easy to sell yourself, it’s easier for someone to sell you. So that’s what happened with that.”
She went on to explain what it was that made Carl stand out with both his music and his dancing abilities:
“I think Carl, because he was doing the three decks as well, I think that was something really really special. But he got that inspiration from a DJ called Froggy and Froggy was the mixer. He was the DJ that could mix and Carl and I both knew about him. So when Carl introduced that, everyone was following ‘cause people weren’t mixing then, they were just bringing records in and out. So to be able to mix a record was something unreal, and this Froggy, he could do that and it always sounded amazing. I think what Carl had as well, the fact that we both had that music knowledge. We were both into our dancing as well. Carl was a good little dancer as well so that was something that we both enjoyed. ‘Cause we knew what people wanted to dance to and how they used to dance. I used to love my dancing, well I still do (laughs)”
Maxine explained the importance of watching live music;
“Some people would sell themselves by sending you tapes, but how do you know it’s them or not? And it was all vinyl then as well so you had to see it to believe it.”
Finally, she described some dealings she had with the notorious Nick Van Hoogstraten whilst organising the parties around Brighton;
“There was a guy called Nick Van Hoogstraten and his thing was to get people out of places and he would buy a property and he wouldn’t be able to evict people so his way of getting them out was for you to cause a disturbance, so he was quite happy for us to put parties on and it didn’t matter what happened because in the end that poor person wouldn’t be able to cope anymore, and they would have to move out. Oh my god, no I really struggle with that and how awful that would be to an older person.”
Maxine is still an integral part of the Brighton community. As a property guardian for Dot Dot Dot Property, she volunteers her time to pick up litter in and around her local area. In her role as community social worker, she attends to the needs of vulnerable people in their homes, some of whom remember her as the girl who put on the parties that they used to go to.