One of the longest-serving and best-known
s in British history, Alan "Fluff
" Freeman was born
. He initially worked as an announcer
when he went on holiday
and bizarrely liked
it here so much that he decided to stay.
He managed to get a job as a disc jockey on the infamous pirate radio station
Radio Luxembourg, broadcasting from a ship moored 20 miles off the British
coast in the North Sea. Shortly after the BBC caved in to national pressure and
set up its own national pop music radio station Alan, along with most of the
ex-Luxembourg presenters, got a job on Radio 1. At some point over the next
decade he gained the nickname "Fluff" (apparently for his penchant for
wearing lurid fluffy sweaters -- cf Noel Edmonds)
and became a national institution,
introducing the only Top 30 show broadcast in the UK and spilling out an amazing
number of gratuitous cheesy catchphrases including "Alright? Not 'Alf" and
"Pop Pickers", all spoken with the ever-present almost audible Fluff grin.
After leaving the Beeb in the late 70s (allegedly in a row over pay) Fluff very soon
reappeared on Capital Radio in London, successfully managing to pull over a large
proportion of his audience. After a brief return to the BBC in the early 1990s he
now works for Virgin Radio, still playing a mixture of golden oldies and
non-challenging contemporary pop.
For his services to radio broadcasting Fluff has received several awards:
the Music Industries Trust award for "lifetime service", a Sony award conferred by
the Radio Academy and he's been commemorated with an entire "Fluff Day" on
Along with other luminaries of British radio broadcasting such as
Tony Blackburn, Steve Wright, Jim Saville and Peter Powell, Fluff has been
satirically immortalised as one of the crap grinning DJs "Smashie and Nicey" by
Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse.
However despite his somewhat untrendy nature, such is the fickle nature of
the cutting edge of fashion and the strong influence of retro nostalgia and
post-modernist irony that he never quite becomes the mockery of himself that
he always ought to be.
At the age of 73, Fluff is still going strong and still DJ-ing -- and that's probably
as much as anyone could ask for. Not alf, pop-pickers!