In 1962 I stood outside our house in Southgate, north London on Guy Fawkes night (November 5th) and with my Phillips (of course!) cassette recorder in my hand, I interviewed people passing by asking for their views on fireworks, and whether it was a good idea aiming rockets out of milk bottles at people’s bedroom windows (having had some personal experience with misguided missiles, and even at such a tender age I was rather deft with my aim).
When I was in, what the Colonials call, High School I went on a field trip to the smallest village I’ve ever visited, in Buckinghamshire. With the same tape recorder in hand, I shoved it up to an old ladies face, and asked her what it felt like living in a place where they’d never know if you died (she didn’t answer so I assumed, quite naturally, that she was dead and stuffed a daisy in her mouth).
As the years dragged on, I began making “Phillip Tapes” for a friend at Oxford University, who eagerly awaited my stories and music selections each month. They were, obviously, the highlight of her time at Oxford.
All I ever wanted was to have a radio show where I could have great guests, play my kind of music, and present an enjoyable few hours of relief to an audience subjected to the stresses of life and dreadful headlines in the newspaper each week.
And now, some 50 years later, that dream has been fulfilled. And I believe that the result is even better than my wildest dreams could have conjured up (I make no apologies for my modesty). Here I am in Philadelphia, the City Of Brotherly Love (and a statue of “Rockie”) with movie stars lusting after my microphone, and little old ladies with blue hair stalking me all over town. Being an almost-A List celebrity gives one a feeling of love, of being one with your audience, of acceptance. Well, that’s what I’m told. I wouldn’t know! I’m a legend in my own mind.