Peer to thrash out the meaning of modern music: Rhys Williams meets the improbable figure who will attempt to narrow the musical generation gap

MEET the seventh Earl of Onslow: hereditary Tory peer, Old Etonian, 56-year-old father of three, passionate about pony- trap riding and the Classics. Just the man then to become the biggest youth cult figure since Jim Bowen.

From a week on Monday, Lord Onslow will present Supertunes, a five-part guide on Radio 3 to rap, ambient house, acid jazz, jungle and thrash metal. Each day he will provide 'an extra-generational explanation to narrow the eternal musical gap between the old and the young. Just as the first waltzes were regarded as the height of immorality so my grandfather disapproved of Cole Porter. Could today's parents be making the same mistake?'

His media career began last year with 'Superhints' on the Big Breakfast, in which he explained how to open a bottle of wine with a piece of knotted string. The producers, Planet 24, were impressed enough to invite him back to do Supertunes. Word has meanwhile filtered through to youth media. The music magazine Select signed him up to review singles. Planet 24 is working on a television pilot of Supertunes. G-Spot, another style bible, has asked him to DJ alongside D:Ream's Al McKenzie at a party next month.

Michael William Coplestone Dillon Onslow was educated at Eton and the Sorbonne, before serving with the Life Guards on the Arabian peninsula in the 1950s. When his father, the sixth earl, died in 1971 he took over the family estate at Clandon Park, Surrey. Hardly the person to unravel acid jazz and hip-hop.

'I'm immensely surprised by the whole thing. I'm by nature a curious human being - I'm curious about things and one could say I'm slightly odd.' His standard greeting is to hand you a lump of stone and ask you to guess what it is. 'It's a marble testicle pinched from the Roman Forum in 1887,' he explains. 'You can feel the veins.'

A PR adviser now arranges his life. 'She's a complete fascist. I haven't been organised like this since I left the nursery in 1943 and the nanny was sacked.'

More time in the studio means less with his many animals. His father once owned two hamsters, Habukkuk and Hadji- Ali-Dit, and Probyn, a Himalayan mountain bear named after his wife's stepmother's grandfather, who won a VC in India. Lord Onslow is building a house for his pet Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, Kosher. It will have a Burgundy-style tiled roof and an onion-domed clock tower (a replica of St Basil's, Moscow).

A whiff of life behind the mike and Lord Onslow is desperate to get back on-air. He wants to condense Edward Gibbon's 12-volume historical epic Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire into five-minute gobbets.

Gibbon's ability to destroy a character in one sentence would make the project a winner, he believes. He quotes a passage on the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus: 'He clearly didn't like this man at all - 'However he might occasionally bind himself to oaths and treaties, his conscience, obsequious to his interest, always released him from the inconvenient obligation' - what a majestic way of saying 'he's a lying shit'.'

(Photograph omitted)

News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
news

As anti-Semitic attacks rise, Grant Feller re-evaluates his identity

News
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
News
people
News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Life and Style
fashionThe Secret Angels all take home huge sums - but who earns the most?
Sport
football

Striker ignored Brendan Rodger's request to applaud audience

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Secondary teachers required in King's Lynn

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Secondary teachers re...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Room Leader PositionI am currently ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery NurseI am currently...

Nursery Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Breakfast and after school club wor...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?