His playlists have been the soundtrack to thousands of Southampton lives and a legendary city DJ is now enjoying a new lease of life in his semi-retirement.

David Hamilton - or DJ Hammy as he is known to anyone who came of age in and around the city since the 80s - has now played 360 shows to an appreciative online audience from across the globe.

There are now thousands of members of Hammy's 'Mixcloud Massive', a collective of fans who came together during the pandemic desperate to enjoy a night 'out' filled with great music from the last seven decades - in their front room. 

Daily Echo: Some of the Mixcloud Massive in sunglasses

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The 63-year-old, who has lived in Swaythling all his life, was forced to retire from the mobile DJ side of his business in the early days of Covid due to ill health

Determined to keep their favourite DJ behind the decks once lockdown struck, fans suggested he take his show online via the evolving Mixcloud platform.

Daily Echo: One of Hammy's shows being beamed into front rooms via Mixcloud

Hammy told the Daily Echo: "For me, the pandemic was terrible in many ways and wonderful in many ways. This has given me a new lease of life. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. 

"It opened up the whole world really. There were people logging in who I knew from 20 or 30 years ago and there were new people there enjoying themselves as well. 

"So many turned their kitchens and living rooms into discos during lockdown and to this day. The advent of large TVs and screens plus my having four webcams and galleries on the feed all helped make it as near to being in the room with me as possible. The chat feed also helped bond us all.

"But I still never expected it to become what it has, it's just unreal. It really has been incredible. I love it. The shows will always continue and have changed my life in such an amazing way.

"I know the shows also helped a lot of people get through lockdown, especially those living alone not allowed visitors or friends round."

Daily Echo: A Mixcloud Massive meet up

Hammy receives hundreds of requests each week - 200 a week from just one listener - and he takes days to prepare for each show, lovingly weaving each request into his sets.

It started with a Friday night session, which has been known to go on for eight or nine hours to allow for revellers tuning in late from the States. 

"I didn't have to get up and nobody had anywhere to be so we just all came together for hours and hours to enjoy ourselves," Hammy laughs. 

"We got to know each other so much better than we would have done in a nightclub. We really bonded, it was a wonderful thing and it still is.

"I've learnt more about new music in the last four years than in the ten years previously, I didn't realise there was so much great new music out there.

"I've been discovering new bands and even getting into old music that I never knew about.

"The success was a massive team effort from the start with various viewers taking on roles from admin to selling merchandise and designing posters. It was amazing."

Daily Echo: Mixcloud Massive members and their mugs

A more chilled and family-friendly show on a Sunday morning soon followed as well as the launch of Facebook group Half Man Half Hammy, a take on Mixcloud Massive favourite band Half Man Half Biscuit, which brings people across the world together to this day. 

Just this week, the audience have included party-goers from Valencia, Cincinnati, San Jose, Norway, Florida, rural France and Canada.

Meeting up once Covid restrictions were lifted seemed the natural thing to do and plans are afoot for a special celebration of the Mixcloud Massive's fourth anniversary on May 1.

Previous landmark shows have included video messages from the likes of Toyah and Goldie Lookin Chain.

Daily Echo: Advertising Hammy's latest show

There have been a number of picnics on The Common and the now defunct Mercantile Flea in Bitterne became the group's regular home for a while. Hammy is now looking for new venues for get-togethers. 

While Hammy didn't ever do the Mixcloud shows for money, PayPal donations from the Mixcloud Massive kept him going through lockdown and admirers often send gifts for him, his wife Emma and their Jack Russell Blink.

Unlike the early days when Hammy took his DJ gear with him on a holiday to North Wales and got behind the decks in a cupboard under the stairs of a holiday cottage, he now has countless amazing DJs involved who all run shows of their own and can take over if he decides to take a very occasional day off. 

Daily Echo: DJ Hammy's equipment ready for another session

All dayers, featuring a number of DJs on bank holidays, are always popular, and one New Year's Eve show attracted as many as 2,000 simultaneous viewers from across the globe. Most either grew up in Southampton or came to university here.

A DJ at various Southampton clubs for decades, Saints fan Hammy first got behind the decks in 1980, immediately becoming a crucial part of the city's alternative music scene. 

With three older brothers, he grew up to the sound of a record player blasting out the likes of The Beatles, The Stones and Roy Orbison.

Daily Echo: One of the Mixcloud Massive sporting a DJ Hammy t-shirt

He discovered punk in the 70s and became a regular at The Magnum, a gay club in St Mary's and the first local nightclub to admit punks. Hammy befriended their DJ and soon got his own gig at The Rio Grande.

Over the years, he played Thursdays, Manhattans, The Rhino, The Dorchester, The Riverside, Barbarellas, The Joiners Arms, The Network Club, The West Park Tavern and The Academy, to name just a few,  playing everything from ska to rockabilly and 60s psychadelia to soul.

When the Manchester Baggy sound was dominating the airwaves in 1989, when grunge bands like Nirvana captured the imagination of teenagers across the world two years later, and when the Britpop scene exploded in the mid-90s, Hammy was playing the records that mattered.

Daily Echo: DJ Hammy merchandise

He has been evolving ever since, now a 21st Century viral sensation.