Back in Issue Seven we gathered the women of BBC 6Music to talk about first records, signature dishes and life on other planets for Celebrity Squares. Six months later and we were back at Broadcasting House last week to talk to the men of the station for a forthcoming feature in Issue Eleven.

As regular Celebrity Squares readers will know, pithy one-liners are all we have room for. But sometimes there’s more to say and a certain Marc Riley had a lot to say! All of which was far too good to leave on the cutting room floor so here, in advance of Issue Eleven, is our full unexpurgated chat with The Presenter Formerly Known As Lard.

It’s our round, what are you having?

I’m currently enjoying American pale ales. Anchor Steam beer from San Francisco is delicious. I’m prone to the odd Belgian knock-out drops known as Duvel. Its lethal stuff…


What was the first track you ever played on the radio?

Well I can tell you the first track I played on 6 Music was Eddie and The Hotrods – Do Anything You Wanna Do… which is one of those exhilarating pub rock /punk crossover records.

Who has been your most memorable interviewee?

I interviewed Sky Saxon of The Seeds once. He told me he ran for President of the USA against Richard Nixon (he didn’t win). That was entertaining. Bo Diddley was brilliant. I still have his home phone number…not that he’s in a position to answer. Sadly. He finished the interview abruptly with the line “I gotta go Bro! I’m gonna buy a boat”. The best sign off I’ve ever had I reckon.


…and which is the one you’d rather forget?

I interviewed Lou Reed twice. First time I got away with it. The 2nd time… I didn’t. Ha! It wasn’t much ‘fun’ for either of us. I fully expected my 2nd bout with Lou  to be a genial affair as after the first interview I arranged to  give an award presented to him (for the ‘Berlin’ album) in 1973 back to him. I’d bought it off eBay and offered to give it him back. So, a few weeks after interview No 1 I dropped the award off at the stage door of the Apollo where he was performing (the Berlin album coincidentally). I didn’t go into meet Lou… and went to the show that night. Which was fabulous. Two weeks later my mobile phone rings…its Lou Reed’s tour manager. ”Marc – I’ve got someone here who’d like to talk to you..”. I was gobsmacked…but yes it was Lou Reed. We had a 10 minute conversation in which he thanked me for my generosity…asked me if I’d  let him pay me back  what I paid for it (£80.. I said no)… he told me he opened the package on stage with all the musicians (some of whom played on the original album) who burst into  applause. I felt very proud of myself.  A good deed done. Me and Lou Reed bezzie mates…  then 4 months later.. the debacle that was Interview Number 2  ‘happened’ (or didn’t). It’s a funny  old world. Sorry.. it’s a bit long that  story…but you  did ask.

If you could have had any job other than DJ, what would it be?

I’d run a whale watching business with Richard Hawley and Jarvis Cocker. I went to Ireland with them both to watch whales for a Radio 4 programme. We had a great time. Only fleetingly saw a juvenile whale mind… but we sailed the boat… we saw dolphins galore.. had a laff. Rich hinted at a future career change. I’m in!!!


What was the first record you ever bought?

It was Lou Reed’s Transformer funnily enough. We didn’t have a record player till I was 13 so I used to get my Bowie/ T Rex /Mott the Hoople/ Cockney Rebel/ Lou Reed fix from the radio. Walk On The Wild Side was a hit and I loved it and knew Bowie produced it.  For my 13th Birthday my dad took me to a local  record shop and he bought me Transformer. 

What was the most recent record you bought?

The new Oh Sees album Drop … on vinyl. It’s a killer record. A fantastic band. Listen to The Kings Nose… wow.


What’s your signature dish?

A vegetarian fry-up…with vegetarian black-pudding if I can get my hands on any. It’s not very adventurous (because I can’t cook)…and I don’t have it very often (coz  it makes you fat).

Your house is hypothetically burning down… what one possession would you save?

My laptop has all my photos (nearly) and much of my music… the music can be replaced…but the photos can’t. If I had time I get my signed Johnny Cash and Bowie prints too. I have my 1973 David Bowie fan club membership  card signed by David… it’s signed ‘Dave Bowie’ coz that’s what we called him when  we we’re on Radio  1. My mate Blam works for him and he reckons it’s the only time he’s ever signed anything as ‘Dave’ – coz he hates it!!! Ha! I am presuming my wife, kids and dogs all got out by themselves yeah?!

Who should play you in a film of your life?

Maxine Peake. I know she’s a lovely lady…but she’s defiantly northern… she’s got a great sense of humour…and she loves Bo Ningen… they’re the main criteria I reckon.

Is there life on other planets?

I don’t know. I’ve never been.