When talking to somebody whose DJ career has been celebrated by the Queen in spite of its illegal beginnings, you know you’re in for an interesting conversation.

Norman Jay MBE started out in London’s underground raves and pirate radio stations and then, in 2002, found himself within the walls of Buckingham Palace.

Norman became the first black British male to be appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II herself, for ‘Services to DJ-ing and Dance Music’.

Despite an efficacious career, his first foray into the DJ booth, aged as young as eight or nine, did not come willingly. He explains: “I think it was a cousin’s birthday party. In those days I drew the short straw, it was ‘get Norman to do it because he’s got loads of records’.

“The last thing anybody wanted to be doing was playing records because it meant you couldn’t talk to girls or get a drink or dance.”

Norman grew up in Notting Hill, West London with his parents who had emigrated from the West Indies and music was always a feature in his life.

“My parents weren’t musicians but had an appreciation for music as most Caribbean families would have done.

“They couldn’t afford musical instruments or lessons but we had a radiogram (a radio and record player), in the house and my dad bought records of all sorts of music: jazz, reggae, calypso, anything that was good.”

His father’s interest clearly rubbed off on him as Norman is known for bringing an eclectic mix of music to his DJ sets.

He describes his music as “inspiration, enjoyable and never predictable” adding: “I’m a DJ maverick. I’ve always taken risks but I’m also a natural crowd pleaser, I always play what they love.

“It is music without prejudice: not mainstream and not poppy, but I’m not opposed to playing great chart records.”

Unlike his music, Norman had to overcome a lot of prejudice when trying to get into the music scene, he explains: “In those days, the early ‘80s, aspiring young DJs like myself weren’t given the opportunity to play, especially if you weren’t white; a lot of people wouldn’t hire black DJs.”

After creating a name for himself through illustrious and illegal warehouse parties, Norman took his skills into pirate radio because he felt the void between the music scene in Britain and black British people was ever-present on the airwaves.

“We were disillusioned with mainstream radio, we weren’t being represented. What we did was ground-breaking and a lot of great people came out of it: Soul II Soul, Judge Jools, Tim Westwood… It was a training ground.”

This very radio station later became Kiss FM and, in the same way, Norman’s career became a little more straight and narrow.

He is went on to DJ across the country as well as all over the world at festivals, carnivals and clubs and is currently taking his legendary Good Times party to venues across the UK, including Clayton’s Marlow.

When I asked how he thinks he paved the way for other ethnic minority DJs today he replies: “I’m not the person who can really answer that question.”

I suppose his MBE speaks for itself.

Clayton’s Marlow, 16 Oxford Road, Marlow, Saturday, March 19, 8pm.