Tag Archives: Pirate Radio

Radio Ramble

From Wikipedia RNI campaign bus

As a youngster I was a big fan of the pirate radio stations, Radio Caroline and Radio Northsea. I was just a naughty kid listening to the radio late at night when I should have been sleeping, I didn’t know that Radio Caroline helped get the Conservatives elected in 1970. Nor at that early age did I care about the other suggested events reported on that particular Wikipedia page. Now we have huge television screens, 3D/HD, on demand, 24 hour a day television, if you want it. I enjoy television but there is something about radio. Radio 4 plays are always enjoyable, challenging and brave enough to showcase new talent.

Absolute Classic Rock My getting ready music; doing the housework music; singing and dancing, when I’m in the house alone, music. I adore Absolute Radio but it was stations like Radio Luxembourg (Fab 208) the precursor of the pirate radio stations Caroline and Northsea that made me a lifelong radio fan.

Originally I just used to listen on my little transistor, frequently warming up batteries on the radiator to extend their life. Then for my 12th birthday Mum bought me my beautiful bright orange Dansette Record Player and Radio and I could listen to my favourite radio stations whilst doing my homework or reading. But still saved my little transistor for late at night whiling away the wee small hours with Santana, Led Zeppelin and the sweet talking DJs,

Radio Northsea used to close with Move Over Darling by Doris Day. An evocative song sung by a beautiful lady who also starred in the film of the same name. The Calamity Jane star’s romantic role and a song that still makes me feel that it’s time to go to sleep.

From Pirate Radio Hall of Fame : Tony Allan, broadcasting on Radio Caroline during the seventies. Photo by Martin Stevens, reprinted from ‘Offshore Radio’ published by Iceni Enterprises.

Tony Allan was one of the great stars of pirate radio. Sadly he died in 2004 but if you’d like to read and hear more about the life and work of this wonderful man I would suggest you visit the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame .

Special effects in film and television are very clever and there are many great stories and breathtaking visuals for us all to enjoy but there is something about radio that stimulates my imagination; makes my heart sing and makes me feel like a teenager again.


Posted by on October 10, 2011 in 21st century, History


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1969 – Pivot Point

In the previous post of this retrospective, I talked about my own sense of loss at the end of the 60s. To me it was a ‘golden decade’.

As the 60s was coming to a close – I felt scared of going to the High School and scared of the sense that my magical childhood days were slipping away. Like Black Beauty, I was no longer free to gallop amongst the trees, fields and grass but I now had to become a ‘work horse’.

Looking back I do realise that I had an incredibly protected and privileged childhood. My creativity was encouraged by my lovely Mum, even when I painted my bedroom ceiling dark blue with silver and yellow stars. I was trying to recreate the constellations, with an emphasis on Orion. This was my “Patrick Moore” phase.


The 1st Moon landing had stirred up much interest in the stars, as did The Sky at Night with Patrick Moore. Patrick Moore wrote some wonderful books including the annual astronomy year books.


In September 1969 I started at the Girl’s High School. It was uncomfortable. A shy 11 year old, who blushed every time anyone spoke to her (teachers or pupils). I was used to the atmosphere of a cosy junior school, with one class teacher who taught you all subjects. Basically a kindly “Auntie” type figure. Safe and reassuring. Now there was a form teacher, who also taught French and Latin and specialist teachers for all of the other subjects. The lessons and homework were not a problem but I always felt like an outsider. During break times I would normally have my nose in a book. There was a long bus journey home, again I would read my way home. On arriving home, I would have tea, do my homework, watch some telly, bath and then more reading until bedtime.


I’m sure I’m not the only kid who felt disconcerted about the transition from junior school to high school but there were many great books, music bands, films, pirate radio stations and television programmes that helped me get through this phase.

from Wikipedia

Patrick Troughton was no longer the Doctor, an event that was also a source of much sadness for me and we had to wait until 1970 for Jon Pertwee to introduce his dandy version of the Doctor in full colour. Randall and Hopkirk (deceased) and Monty Python’s Flying Circus were first aired, both of which I was not supposed to watch, but I sneaked down to watch them anyway.


The Beatles had already split up, their final live performance at Apple Corps building at 3 Savile Row, London, on 30 January 1969. Many bands and artists were getting ready to fill the void left not least Jethro Tull with Ian Anderson’s resonant flute playing and the most commercially successful and influential rock bands of all time, Pink Floyd


Book-wise, the library at the High School held some delights I hadn’t found before. My interest in astronomy and the constellations named after characters from Graeco-Roman myths led me to reading as many books as possible about Greek and Roman mythology and the works of Homer. Heroic deeds, strong women, magic powers, shape changers, it’s all there. If you’re a writer and you’re looking for inspiration. I would highly recommend looking back at the Greek and Roman classics.


Image from Wikipedia :: Ummagumma  by Pink Floyd released in 1969

For me 1969 will always be a creative pivot point. A time when I truly started to immerse myself in as many books, bands, films and television programmes as possible. By the end of 1969 my sense of loss had changed to a sense of adventure, alongside discovering the total joy that was pirate radio.


…to be continued…

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Posted by on October 2, 2011 in History


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