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In 1990, at the height of the acid house scene, he founded the club culture magazine Herb Garden and a band with Enzo Annecchini. His electronic music outfit, Glamorous Hooligan, was picked up by Warner Bros. offshoot Arthrob, and in 1996, they released a critically acclaimed album Naked City Soundtrax. Glamorous Hooligan's first album Wasted Youth Club Classics was released by indie label Mass of Black in 1994 Cavanagh has stated that his proudest moment was getting Robert Anton Wilson to guest on one of the tracks. As a musician, he featured on John Peel's Sounds of the Suburbs TV show, in the late 1990s.
As a clubland promoter, he ran popular underground house music, and techno, clubs in Bradford, called Tolerance, before moving on to Leeds, where he promoted the successful Soundclash club bringing in respected DJs such as Andrew Weatherall, Alex Patterson, Adrian Sherwood and J. Saul Kane.
His first short story "Mile High Meltdown" was included in the best-selling Disco Biscuits anthology, published by Sceptre, and brought rave reviews, but it was music that first introduced him to the public domain. Music journalism was where he began his career. As a journalist he contributed to The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times, The Telegraph, New Musical Express, Melody Maker, Positive Energy of Madness, The Face, as well as the Herb Garden, and i-D. He has also worked in copywriting, penning many commercials and working alongside directors John McFarlane and Tarsem Singh before progressing to writing TV, theater plays and film.
Cavanagh wrote a late night cult sitcom called Honky Sausages that McFarlane directed for UK Play TV and gave a start to the actress Leila Morse, EastEnders. Cavanagh developed many projects with Terry Gilliam's producer Ray Cooper for John Kamen's company Radical Media.
Cavanagh works regularly with Irvine Welsh of Trainspotting fame. Their play Babylon Heights has been performed to critical acclaim in Dublin, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New Zealand. In 2004, Cavanagh and Irvine were BAFTA nominated for their BBC Three short film Dose starring Jonathon Lewis Owen, Kate Jarman and Julia Davis and directed by Philip John. Irvine Welsh and Dean Cavanagh have a number of projects in development with companies such as Channel 4, HBO and BBC. Wedding Belles is a feature film written by Irvine Welsh and Dean Cavanagh that was transmitted to critical acclaim by C4 in March 2007. It stars Shirley Henderson (A Cock and Bull Story, 24 Hour Party People, Marie Antoinette) Michelle Gomez (Green Wing, The Acid House), Michael Fassbender, Shauna McDonald (The Descent), Kathleen McDermott (Morvern Callar) It is produced by Jemma Rodgers (The League of Gentlemen) and directed by Philip John. Cavanagh and Welsh co-executive produced Wedding Belles. It was nominated for a best writing BAFTA.
Cavanagh has done a number of script doctoring assignments for companies such as Endemol, Warner Bros., Sony, Canal Plus and Lionsgate, Miramax both in the UK and the US. Fearful of being pigeonholed, he has said that he doesn't really have a niche, but does tend to veer towards projects that challenge the viewers' assumptions.
Cavanagh and Irvine Welsh have an ambitious 3-season, six-part TV series called The Food Chain that was developed for HBO. They now plan to make it for British TV. Cavanagh and Welsh are also developing a musical based around the British Music Scene of the 1990s for Howard Panter of Ambassador Theater Group.
Cavanagh created the cult Internet series "Svengali!" starring Roger Evans, Sally Phillips, Martin Freeman The Hobbit, Matt Berry and Boy George Svengali is produced on a shoestring budget and is a labour of love for all involved. iTunes distributes the series worldwide for free. The film version is released in early 2014 but Cavanagh has walked away from the project.
Cavanagh and Irvine Welsh are currently developing a number of feature-length screenplays together and independently of each other. Cavanagh is represented by literary agent Jon Elek at A.P. Watt and CAA in Los Angeles. His artworks are represented by Opus Art in the UK. As of August 2013 his original screenplay "Trade" has been optioned by Rebekkah Wray Rogers of Warp Films, This Is England, Dead Man's Shoes.
Recently, Cavanagh has completed writing and directing his first movie, "Kubricks" with his son Josh. "I've been following Kubrick researchers like Rob Ager and Jay Weidner for the last few years and I really wanted to dramatize a story based around Kubrick as an inspirational enigma. There is a wealth of material about the esoteric side of Kubrick on the net and Ager and Weidner are great places to start the journey from."  Cavanagh and producer, Alan McGee are thinking of putting the footage from their shoot up on their website, "so people can download and edit the film anyway they want, and put their own scores on it if they like. There's so many relatively cheap editing software programs about that I reckon we could see some very interesting takes on the film. I like the idea that there would be all these subjective interpretations of Kubricks in the ether. We'll have to try and work out the bandwidth logistics as the files are huge.
As of March 2014 Cavanagh and Irvine Welsh are writing an original screenplay called "Keep The Faith" for Jemma Rodgers Junction Films. Cavanagh is also developing a number of other projects with producer Craig Lawson. Cavanagh still makes music under the name Culture Is No Friend Of Mine. He regularly exhibits in his art works both nationally and internationally.