My Philadelphia Story: Pierre Robert

WMMR’s Pierre Robert on his 25 years in Philadelphia radio, the bearable lightness of being, and what’s going to happen to Harry Potter. Plus: online-only bonus clips.

WHEN I FIRST moved here in ’81 from San Francisco, the city was dirty, struggling. I’d like to see someone like Rendell come in again. I see Philadelphia with great potential for what Reagan called the Shining City on the Hill.

When the Beatles arrived in 1964, I watched it on Ed Sullivan like a million other little kids. I got a Beatles wig made of some horrible polymer fabric.

Every week, my father would get these miserable black clippers out and shave my head. I hated the experience.

The founder of est spoke of a world that works for everyone, with no one and nothing left out. It sounds grandiose, but what if? What if everything actually worked?

When I worked at KSAN in San Francisco, you could play Beethoven, African chanting, the Beatles. Whatever. There were no lists. And after KSAN went country — I changed my name to Will Robertson for the short time I stayed there; it sounded more country — some friends were moving to Philly and asked me to come. I said, What the fuck. And I took my two ferns — one of which is still alive today — and left.

I worked at Essene, the health-food place near South Street. After three or four months of loading 50-pound sacks of brown rice, I started questioning my investment in coming to Philadelphia.

I still like albums. It’s something physical about them. We used to go slow. We used to sit down on the couch, play the record, look at the artwork, read the words. You learn a lot from record covers.

You’ll find me in the mosh pit at Green Day and Rancid shows.

There was a time in the ’80s when I thought Philly was going to become what Seattle wound up becoming in the ’90s. We had the A’s, Tommy Conwell, the Hooters, Robert Hazard.

To me, politics is what football is for most guys. Election night for me, I want to run home and get a beer and popcorn and bounce between MSNBC and CNN.

No iPod. I have a computer at home, but I never turn it on. It has this big book, and I can’t read any owner’s manual.

I get so much e-mail. I am perhaps 3,000 e-mails behind.

I walked into the Old Guard House once and these white, Aryan, blue-haired ladies just looked at me.

A lacto-ovo vegetarian, I think, is what they call me. I’ve been a vegetarian longer than I haven’t, but I’m not 1,000 percent perfect with it. I’m wearing leather shoes, my car seats are leather.

I recently saw a sign that said, "Coming soon to Chester: the New Harrah’s." Are you crazy? They’re bad enough in Atlantic City, and putting them on Columbus Boulevard and in the Northeast and Chester, of all places — it’s obscene. It’s as wrong with a capital ‘W’ as it gets.

I’m just as annoyed at the Democrats as I have been at the Republicans. Al Gore and John Kerry ran the lamest campaigns I’ve ever seen in national politics.

My mind is like a blue sky with a heavy cloud concentration and a slight breeze blowing on a lazy afternoon, so that there’s all these clouds passing by and I’ve got to keep control of them. And yet, I don’t always. It’s sort of like ADD.

I’m a recovering Catholic. Spiritual, not religious. I like Buddhas. I have Buddhas around my house in Gladwyne. I do TM.

They’re ripping down these cool little ’50s houses to build these fake Main Line mansions. ‘Let’s make The Philadelphia Story — well, not really, but sort of.’ ‘Let’s have a slate roof — well, let’s put fake slate on.’ I really find that a dismaying reality.

She won’t kill Harry Potter.

I can’t even smoke pot anymore. I have such a thin grasp on reality as it is. A martini will suffice. Blue Sapphire up and dirty. With as many olives as you can get in the glass.

Dating? I’ve given up. It’s just a mess.

It would be kinda cool to cut my hair and shave my beard off. I’m not quite ready, though.

I’m not terribly fond of the Tweeter. I love the Mann. I wish more shows would go there.

I saw Sinatra seven times. He was the rock star before rock stars. He had that swagger. He could swing. And he drank. And he smoked. And he chased ‘broads.’

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