'I KILLED ARNOLD'
- Steve Jones marks his mark at Radio One
We put the record ['Meanwhile Back In The Forest'] out as Hunt, Lunt & Cunningham and it got one play on Radio 1 on a new release show with Mike Lennox, and he just slagged off the name.
So I went to see Tony Hall and said I thought I should go to Radio 1 to plug the record, but I was on the dole and I was skint. So he gave me a fiver and said, 'Go to the BBC and get some plays.' So I went to the BBC and the only guy I could get to speak to was Ron Belshay, who was then the producer of the Dave Lee Travis mid-morning show, and he said, 'I'm not playing it.' But we went round to the Yorkshire Grey or somewhere, and I spent the fiver and he spent a fiver as well, and we got completely pissed. And he still said he wasn't going to play the record. But he said, 'You seem to have a fairly encyclopedic knowledge of the music that we're playing at the moment and the stuff that's gone before and I like your voice; have you ever thought of being a disc jockey?'
So I went in the next day, I learnt basically how to operate the panel, we got a BBC engineer and I made this tape. And they played it to the powers-that-be and they said, 'Okay, do you want to do one of our new DJ spots?'
So for two weeks I sat in and watched Travis work, and he taught me all the stuff. And about a fortnight later, I was on the wireless and I thought, 'Wow, I'm on Radio 1.' I had jingles and everything.
It was good doing Radio 1 in those days. When I started, it'd only been going for five years - it'd found its feet, I suppose, but it still had a feeling of the pirates about it, because so many of the pirate jocks were still around.
I stood in for Blackburn on quite a few occasions, and Kenny Everett and people like that, and then I'd get a run of Radio 1 Clubs for six or seven weeks, maybe twelve sometimes. We used to take the show out as an outside broadcast - it ran between five and seven - and I used to do youth clubs and that sort of thing, so I'd end up in some bloody awful youth club in the middle of Yorkshire somewhere. Actually it was alright: you had girls screaming at you and tearing your clothes off, all that business, which was quite fun.
It was a great time - we got to travel a lot of the country, and the other thing was, if you were lucky, you could get hold of a local promoter, and when you finished your show, you could go to the local disco or club, whatever there was in the area, do a gig for an hour in the evening and pick up some readies to stick in the back pocket.
When Tony Blackburn was away on holiday, I killed Arnold. I sat in for him and on the first show I said, 'Tony's abroad on holiday and obviously he couldn't take Arnold with him because of quarantine laws, so he's left me to look after him; the only trouble is I've got this terribly vicious cat called Fritz.' I'd made all these tapes up of a vicious cat and after about three days, the cat tore into Arnold and bit him to death. So for the next two days and all the following week, Arnold didn't appear because to all intents and purposes he was brown bread. Of course I didn't tell Tony this, and he was furious when he came back, and Arnold actually rose from the dead the following Monday.
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