DJ Tony Blackburn, the first voice on Radio 1
We thought you’d choose an old Temptations record, but you’re waxing lyrical about the iPhone.
Keeping up to date has kept me going. Years ago, I had one of the first satellite dishes in the country; it was 1.9 metres across and it revolved in the garden. My neighbours reported me to the authorities as a spy. Now some DJs want a return to the days of vinyl! I like the hard drive and downloading – I haven’t been in a record shop for years. The iPhone allows me to listen to my favourite New York radio station when I’m in the car. I really wish I hadn’t just turned 69 because I want to know what’s going to happen in 30 years’ time.
Do you ever reflect fondly on your pre-technology days?
Back in the 1960s before satnav, I was forever travelling around doing discos at night, getting lost in the middle of nowhere because I was reading a map. You must never close your mind to anything. My dad got one of the first domestic radios and rang his father to say that he was listening to signals through the air. My grandfather apparently said: “Don’t be so stupid”, and hung up.
Do you still feel excited about new music?
Of course. A lot of people say “Oh, they don’t write songs like they used to.” Too right. A lot of them are so much better. There was great music around in the 1960s but there was also an enormous amount of rubbish you don’t hear anymore.
What invention are you waiting for next?
The self-drive electric car. I’d also like to fly into Radio 2 with a jetpack, particularly with the Olympics on the horizon. I’m dreading that – the traffic will be horrible.
Please reassure us that your jokes are safely stored and backed-up somewhere for the nation.
When I was on the pirate ships, I used to write them down in exercise books. I still have them, but I can’t tell you where they are for security reasons. Actually, I don’t tell many gags on air anymore. I’ve changed the humour a bit but no-one seems to notice.
Tony Blackburn presents BBC Radio 2’s Pick of the Pops (Saturdays, 1-3pm).