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The Ross is no Replica!
Cardboard Shoes shared some home movies taken aboard Radio Caroline in the Sixties, on the BBC TV local news programme Inside Out on Monday 16th January, accompanied by Tony Blackburn. Contrary to the website (which is written in a very strange form of English), Keith did not "take a trip to a replica of the original Radio Caroline ship moored at Tilbury docks in Essex". He was filmed aboard the Ross Revenge.

Carl Thomson guests on BBC Essex on 40th Anniversary
Ex-Caroline engineer Carl Thomson chatted to another ex-Caroliner, Ray Clark, on Thursday Jan 19th, the 40th anniversary of the southern ship Mi Amigo running aground (also see stories below). . BBC Essex

Absolutely Fabulous Competition Winner Announced
" What a great Radio London Xmas week I have had. It was outrageous! This summer I asked you if it was possible to spend a few hours on the new releases of the forthcoming month. Last week I got 48 hours of the music of my most beloved year – 1965. What music! Thank you very much."

All the best for 2006, Wim van Genderen

To mark their own birthday and another special one – December 23rd, 1964, the day Radio London came on the air – Oldies Project ran a five-day Christmas Special. Over one thousand songs released in Britain during Big L's first year on the air were played non-stop during 'The London Sound – the First Year'.

On December 25th, the climax of the Christmas Special was the Fab 40 from Christmas 1965, presented by former Radio London DJ, Cardboard Shoes – Keith Skues. Keith even managed to squeeze in an interview with the Walker Brothers and a couple of comments from Tony Blackburn. Following Keith, Absolutely Fabulous, a one-hour special, by Chris and Mary Payne featured music and stories associated with Radio London, offshore DJs, and bands from the Fab 40.

In a competition to win a Radio London teeshirt, we played a track called 'Step Back'. The artist who recorded it went on to release another single that has become a Big L anthem and we wanted the name of that single and the artist. It was, of course, 'Craise Finton Kirk' (aka Craise FRINTON Kirk) by Johnnie Young. Congratulations to Eddy van der Veken from Belgium who chose a Fab at 40 shirt. Eddy's name was drawn from amongst a number of correct entries – nobody got the answer wrong!

'The London Sound – the First Year' was rounded off with six hours of Big L memories compiled by Gert van der Winden, featuring the music (including album tracks, Christmas songs, etc) which were played by Big L around Christmas 1965.

The five-day spectacular proved immensely popular, with extra Oldies Project servers being pressed into action to meet listener demand. Around 2000 people have already downloaded the Christmas Special playlist! (Download the complete playlist here. Download the Absolutely Fabulous playlist here.)

Cardboard Shoes enjoyed presenting the Fab 40 so much that he repeated it on his Boxing Day 'Pirate Radio Skues' programme from BBC Norwich.

Congratulations to the hard-working Oldies Project team on the culmination of an amazingly successful first year!

'Your Station on the Stairs'
A programme devoted to the English service of Radio Luxembourg was netcast on RMNradio on Sunday, January 15th from 1900 to 2100 GMT (2000 to 2200 CET). Special guests were former DJs Benny Brown and Dave Christian. Herbert Pjede had hoped to be able to contact Bob Stewart about the programme, but we have had no direct contact with Bob for over a year now. Any messages we receive for him are passed on to him via mail by his friend in Vancouver, Mick Luvzit. Herbert says:
For your information, Radio Luxembourg will be back on air latest beginning of 2007, hopefully some months earlier. And Benny and Dave will be on there too.

The Perils of North Sea Storms
January 2006 sees the 40th anniversary of the Caroline ship Mi Amigo running aground in a blizzard. In the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame Caroline engineer George Saunders, recalls that eventful night and how close the shipmates came to tragedy. Although the Galaxy fared better, Radio London was also hit by the storm and the news story, which caused Kenny Everett to resing the 'station with a happy difference' jingle as, 'the station with the very loose anchor', is in the Fab 40 for 9th January 1966.

Caroline was not a 'pirate', says Carl
Another Caroline engineer, Carl Thomson, also told the story of the Mi Amigo running aground, when he gave a lecture to the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society. We are indebted to John Sales for the following report:

On January 3rd, I attended the Carl Thomson "Life on Board Radio Caroline" lecture at the Marconi Sports and Social Club in Chelmsford. It was arranged by "CARS", the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society, of which Carl is a member.

It was a full house, with the organisers producing extra chairs for those who were still turning up. Dave Foster, Martin Fisher and Rob Ashard from Radio Caroline were in the audience. It was a thoroughly interesting and enjoyable evening, Carl could have spoken about Radio Caroline all night as far as we were concerned!

Carl brought along with him two scrap-books full of largely unpublished photographs and press cuttings from the '65 to '67 period. One book was Caroline North and the other Caroline South, but there was more info on RCS because he had spent much more time on the Mi Amigo.

I thanked Carl at the end of the evening for all his efforts in providing what everyone thought was a very interesting lecture and I shall also be writing to thank the CARS Committee. As their chairman told the meeting at the end of the lecture, "Carl wasn't just reading about Radio Caroline from the back of a cigarette packet, he was actually out there making radio history!" The point was also made, again by the club chairman who, of course, is a licensed Radio Amateur rather than an Offshore Radio enthusiast, that he had always assumed that the people who operated the "Pirate" stations were tin pot operators who cut corners in technical matters and were essentially "cowboys". However, after Carl's lecture, he had realised that this was certainly not the case, well, certainly not on the larger of the stations, anyway. Carl did, quite rightly, correct the Chairman about saying "pirate radio". He said it was "Offshore Radio" because, at the time, they were doing nothing illegal and pirate radio stations were those that operated from the roofs of tower blocks!

The CARS website has a picture report of the evening.

Offshore Echoes' Radio Caroline Story

Radio Caroline is probably the most famous of all the offshore 'pirate' radio stations, and over the years has become something of a broadcasting legend. However, all good legends are a mix of fact and fiction, none more so than Caroline, and the story has many myths associated with it.

This new site from Offshore Echoes includes numerous photos, audio and video clips, as well as some previously unpublished items.

The first part of the story looks at the start of Caroline, and the short-lived Radio Atlanta, up to the time the two stations merged. More will be added in the coming months.

Click here to start the Radio Caroline story.

"Johnny is John"

Mary was lucky enough to win tickets from The Beat magazine for the show we have been promoting for some weeks, 'Come Together Right Now'. She and her friend and Knees Club Official, Jenny Royal, travelled to Liverpool on December 11th to see the show at the Empire Theatre, which took us both back to our teens.

It was an exceptionally good show with great musicians recreating the music and times of John Lennon. Altogether, we had a wonderful evening, rounded off by a party at the Cavern Club. Full details of 'Come Together Right Now' with a link to the website, are below and Jenny and I cannot recommend it too highly. Watch out for the announcement of 2006 tour dates.

We would like to thank the editor of The Beat, David Parker, and Ian Watts, who plays Paul McCartney, for enabling us to enjoy a wonderful night out.

Come Together Right Now (Johnny is John) is a theatre concert spectacular designed to win the hearts and minds of both John Lennon and Beatles fans. The show was conceived and produced by three musical friends, one from the UK and two from Germany. It was developed in an attempt to promote the prolific works of John Lennon and The Beatles in the 25th year after Lennon's untimely death.

The world-renowned Lennon look- and sound-a-like, Johnny Silver, performs the lead part of John Lennon. Johnny is well known to be one of the best Lennon impersonators around, and has stunned audiences across the world with his vocals, stage presence, attitude and cool but eerie Lennon looks. The illusion is completed with the high-class talents of Ian Watts as Paul McCartney, Michael Doering as George Harrison and Steve Heappey as Ringo Starr.

Festive Gathering (photos courtesy of Duncan Johnson)
Another round for Jon Myer, Mary, Fab Alan Field, Chris, Clive Smith, Happy, and not forgetting Cousin Moosie, who had a Christmas gathering in London on Dec 22nd
Duncan with his ladyfriend Happy. Happy and her sister intend wearing Big L teeshirts to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Tom's Surprise Guest
When Tom Edwards went home to BBC Radio Norfolk to present a two-hour Sixties Special on January 2nd, he received a surprise visit from Andy Archer. The two ex-Caroline buddies who had not met for decades, shared a few on-air reminiscences, and no doubt many more after the show.

New Book on Radio Scotland
The Times on-line reports that a book on 242, Radio Scotland, is on its way.,,2090-1963153,00.html

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