Barry James

Barry James

 Interview by Roland Beaney.

 Barry presents the popular 60s and 70s show sponsored by PC Estates on Tuesday night at 9pm alternately with Clive Garrard.

Where and when were you born?- I was born in Beeston, Norfolk in 1952.

Where do you live now?- I live in Lakenheath, Suffolk, near the airbase.

What is your favourite part of the Country?- There are still lots of places I would like to visit but I do like the South coast from Kent along to Sussex.

How did you get involved in Radio?- I have always been interested in music. I started doing a Rock Disco when I was 17 and I was also a singer in a band. I put an advert on Caroline for my disco and got a phone call to do the Caroline Roadshow. I then went on board the ship and eventually did some broadcasts.

When did you first join Caroline?- In 1977 I started going out to the ship with Albert and Georgina Hood. I got heavily involved with supplies especially merchandise, machinery and food.

Have you got any special memories?- I remember doing the supply trips out from Brightlingsea in very rough seas. We set off from right next to the customs post. They knew what was happening and they used to wish us a good trip.

What did you enjoy most about working on a Radio ship?- Everything about it was fantastic and I feel very privileged to have been there.

Who was your favourite shipmate?- There were so many. I worked with Sietse Brower, Albert, Johnny Lewis, Tom Anderson, Mark Matthews, Grant Benson and Paul McKenna.

How did you get involved with the Caroline Roadshow?- I was doing my Rock Roadshow when I had a call to from Radio Caroline to book me for their Roadshow because I had a very loud sound system with very big speakers!

I remember Harvey the Rabbit, Robbie Day and Rob Eden from the Roadshow days, do you still keep in touch with them? -  I have no idea where they are now. Harvey the Rabbit got his name because he liked chasing the girls. Robbie Day was an eccentric and always causing chaos. I believe Rob Eden is in Gloucestershire somewhere. Tom Anderson was also involved.

What other Radio stations have you been involved with?- I worked on XLFM, in Ely, Cambridgeshire for 2 years. and left them about 3 years ago when it was sold and turned into an awful disco type station. I am still involved with Tulip Radio in Spalding and Hastings Rock. I was also involved with the Caroline shortwave broadcasts from Thetford Forest in Norfolk.

What are your earliest memories of Caroline?- I was listening to the first week of broadcasts in Easter 1964. I missed the first day. I've followed all the stations ever since but Caroline has always been my favourite.

What is your favourite station other than Caroline?- I liked Radio Veronica and Radio Mi Amigo. Today when I can't listen to Caroline I tune in to BBC Radio 2 and I also listen to Arrow Classic Rock in the car.

What is the best and worst thing about radio today?- The worst thing is that there is no freedom of choice with too many stations all sounding the same. There is too much playlisting. The best thing is to still have Caroline broadcasting.

How do music styles on your discos compare to what Caroline plays and how much freedom do you have on Caroline?- I have semi retired and I don't do many disco's now but I played 60s and 70s or Rock music on my disco's. On Caroline We have quite a lot of freedom and I play about 50 per cent from the playlist including new material and the rest includes my choice and a lot of listeners requests. I do think it is important to play tunes requested by listeners.

Do you have any embarrassing or funny moments to share with us?- We once had a Roadshow in a Town Hall and we borrowed their pantomime horse called Nigel. Robbie Day used to get in it and lark around. It was hilarious. We did return it, eventually.

What do you do for your day job and relaxation?- For relaxation, I mainly watch TV or listen to music. I also have two classic cars, a Vauxhall Velox and a Ford Zodiac. I buy and sell cars for my full time job. My wife and daughter run a riding stables.

What is your favourite food?- Fish and Chips

What do you dislike doing the most?- Gardening, I hate it!

What are your favourite bands or groups?- Magnum, Chris De Burg, Bob Catley, Pink Floyd and the Moody Blues are a few of them plus anything of quality.

What are your top 5 favourite tunes?- ELO - Summer Dream and Big Wheels, Thin Lizzy - Whisky in the Jar, Deep Purple - Child in Time, Moody Blues - Driftwood, and Casuals - Toy. I could go on as I have many more favourites.

When did you last go on board the Ross Revenge?- Last summer (2006), I think it was in June. Like many others I would love to see a permanent mooring found for the Ross.

What plans have you for the future?- To continue to do what I am doing now. stay healthy and see Caroline expand. I once played in a band and made a record. Dell Richardson has found a studio and is now in the process of having it remixed and put onto a CD.

Thank you Barry and the best of luck with your CD.

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