The man with the lion-head cane: Norman Jay with Stephen Ferris

February 1st 2016

  • Stephen Ferris :: Norman Jay interview on Mornings


Norman Jay is more than a DJ. Obviously, he is also a man… but the point is that he, complimented by his knack for good headwear, carries with him an air reminiscent of earlier years in London’s music scene, where pirate radio stations ploughed through stagnant waters to allow a vibrant and experimental flowering of culture and the lifestyle to follow.

Norman came in for a morning chat with Stephen Ferris, in the middle of a run of shows in Sydney including Electric Gardens to a sundowner set at Manly Wharf. How good!

He’s very fond of scooters, Norman, and so expressed his pleasure at being in Sydney, where the Vespa and its zippy counterparts provide the smoothest way to see the hidden backstreets of the city.

That smoothness seems to follow him to his shows, where he easily understands the atmosphere and lets his music move through it with surprises along the way.

“I’m a reader of crowds… just as easily as I can play the most obscure thing, on the next track I’m more likely to play a number one. I don’t have those prejudices.”

After working with BBC Radio for many years, Norman left on good terms. He recognised that his best work was done in real time, at live shows where he could cater exactly to the mood and people there: whether it be Obama and a group of world leading economists or a bunch of rugrats at a pub in Notting Hill.

“I only really love playing music to audiences.”

For Norman, music is all about freedom – “It appeals to my oddball, left field sensibilities” – and who can’t appreciate that!?


Apart from cracking stories, Norman offers up a selection of his favourite songs:

Eska – Shades of Blue
St Germain – Pink Panther theme
Dusty Springfield – Every Ounce of Strength-Mono
The Real Thing – Love Takes Tears