Jan/Feb/March 2009
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Oct/Nov/Dec 2008 is here
The archived Happenings index is here...


Site Updates
All recent updates to Jempi Laevaert's Radio Caroline Charts are on the Stonewashed Index. 27/2/09 New Sure Shots added from Monty's Diary. Apologies to anyone incorrectly credited for their contribution, but contributors' names are not always clear from Jempi's notes. Please e-mail Mary if your name has been missed.
(New Feb 28) 'Rusty Rides Again' – Andy Milne remembers Vince 'Rusty Allen' of Radio 270

And now, the news....

Now I'm 64
Tom Edwards enjoyed a terrific birthday party:
"It was great to see Keith Skues. He travelled from Wales to Norwich, then to Lincolnshire for my party. That's a true friend! My guests numbered about fifty in all and the press were there taking pics of KS and myself. John Forman was so excited about meeting Skues and I and knew more about us two guys than we did.Sean Dunderdale from Lincs FM popped in. He's done a  spoof interview with me about 'kiss in the car' and pirate radio, to be transmitted sometime soon. Also Melvyn Prior from BBC Radio Lincolnshire – a joy to work with as we have done many shows together and a nice genuine guy. All great pirate fans!

Security was done by Lincolnshire Police! They call Heckington 'Copland' as so many officers live here. They also are good mates and really enjoyed the evening.

A great day and thank you for your lovely greeting. I gave you and your site a plug during my birthday speech!"

(Photo: John Forman)

Twiggy and Cashman on BBC Southeast
Roger Day and Dave Cash took some of their offshore memorabilia in to the BBC South East Today studios. Dave showed a photo of himself in a fencing dual with Tom Jones while Roger's pirate treasure was his Caroline Sure Shot marked 'going the Day way to the top.

BBC South East Today: Click on 'Watch Now' (top left of page). The interview is circa 18 minutes in. (Thanks to Jon Myer and Brian Thompson)

Now it's Pirate BBC Scotland
During the morning MacAulay & Co programme, 1005 to 1130 on BBC Scotland, Thursday 19th March, pirate radio once again took over the BBC. Pirate BBC Scotland took to the waves, both watery and medium, in tribute to the original Radio Scotland, 242. In the Sixties, 242 broadcast from the ex-lightship Comet.

Wouldn't you just know that our old friend Tony Currie would be involved? He never can resist an opportunity to strap on a peg leg and slap on an eye patch. The fun recreation is
well worth a listen and we loved the 242 song! Listen here. Story here - but it doesn't say much! Right - Roger Day, Tony Currie and Bud Ballou in Harwich 2007

(Thanks to Jon Myer)

Offshore and film-related Stories

(27/03) Guardian: All bands on deck

(27/03) Times: Kevin Mahler hated the film: Clichés, actually. A fake view of England served up for foreigners.

(27/03) Times Archive Blog on 60s offshore radio/Radio One
Mike Barraclough: "Some good quotes in here, especially from Edward Short on the government's proposed new music service and an American's view of Radio One."

(27/03) Whitby Gazette: Blockbuster film brings back memories of coast's radio ship
The paper remembers 270 and invites readers to send in photos.The Floating Breakfast Show comes to Whitby on Tuesday, March 31st (see story above.)

(27/03) Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Harwich: Vessel's film debut
Article on Pirate BBC Essex, with details of Boat that Rocked charity premiere and other showings at the Electric Palace.

(26/03)Telegraph: Richard Curtis talks about his new film - The Boat That Rocked "As (Richard) points out, The Boat That Rocked isn't exactly realistic drama. There's no reference to payola, which was rife. And no one even gets seasick, which was an occupational hazard."

(26/03) This is Lincolnshire: Retired pirates re-live the days when they ruled the airwaves Tom Edwards and Keith Skues pop up again.

(26/03) 3 News, New Zealand Pirate radio back on the high seas in new film Refers to the country's own Radio Hauraki, and the film role of Rhys Darby, from comedy trio 'Flight of the Conchords'. Sadly, they think Caroline was on its own off the coast of Suffolk.

(26/03) Examiner.com Beatle news briefs: Paul McCartney remembers pirate radio.

(24/03) Radio Times for March 28th to April 3rd, carries a four-page advertisement feature. It's a mock-up of a newspaper called Radio Rock, promoting both enjoyengland.com and The Boat That Rocked, featuring a competition where the winner gets to present their own programme on Radio Caroline.

(24/03) TV News Reports ((Thanks to Mike Barraclough)
Rocking the Pirate Airwaves History of Offshore Radio, interviews with Johnnie Walker and Tony Benn, 4 minutes 40 seconds.

Those who rocked the boat Interesting interview with Kenneth Branagh, who listened to pirate stations in the early 70s, 8 minutes, also 6 minutes on with Richard Curtis.

(24/03) Daily Mail: Dishevelled Gemma Arterton looks worse for wear after The Boat That Rocked after-party

Snappy headline to the paper's report on the premiere. We're delighted to see a photo of JW and Tiggy wearing proper Sixties gear(24/03) Sky News: The Boat That Rocked Stars Attend Premiere
(24/03) Adam Bowie blog The Boat That Rocked(24/03) MSN: The Doors shut out Curtis(24/03) Jon Snow blog: The Boat That Rocked gave me my break
Several people have already written to correct newsman Jon Snow's statement that Caroline 'closed down'.(23/03) BBC TV's Breakfast Programme Oh dear. Richard Curtis wasn't paying attention at the Radio Academy! Although he does reiterate that his film isn't about Caroline, he thinks Caroline stole the Radio London jingles during their test transmission and implies that 208 was a pirate station. (Radio England was the station with the stolen jingles.) Richard is also interviewed on Channel 4 News.(23/03) Brit Hits
Brian Goolding reports: "You may not be aware but there is a satellite tv station on SKY called Brit Hits (channel 385). This Friday 27th March they are broadcasting some programmes on pirate radio from 6.00pm until 9.00pm. I happened to catch some of their pirate radio programmes last Saturday, which made me look up their schedule on the SKY programme planner.

(23/03) The Independent: Battle stations: The fight for pirate radio Focuses on land-based operations, mentioning Sixties offshore radio in passing, repeating the myth that the film is inspired by the story of Caroline and naming the station as 'the most successful of them all'. Which Caroline would that be then? North or South?

"Due to a loophole in the legal system, stations were able to broadcast from international waters – in this case, ships in the North Sea." Ah. So they don't even know about Caroline North, which of course was in the Irish Sea. And some of the stations weren't on ships at all.

(23/03) Glasgow's Sunday Mail: Stars Of Pirate Radio Movie Reveal The Songs That Float Their Boat There's a nod to Sixties offshore radio, but WHERE'S 242?

(23/03) Mike Barraclough spotted a four-page article in the new edition of Uncut magazine, pages 60-63, about Radio London by David Cavanagh (nothing on their website, but it may appear later): "It mentions Caroline, and that they continued after the MOA, but main focus is on Radio London. Well researched, there are interviews with Keith Skues, Tony Blackburn, Johnnie Walker, Tony Benn, Dave Cash and Gary Leeds of the Walker Brothers. It mentions the surreal knees-obsessed Kenny and Cash show. There are some photographs not seen in the other articles so far, additional photos credited to Hans Knot and Soundscapes. The only mistake I have spotted is a photograph of Duncan Johnson, with a Radio London 266 banner behind him, at an awards ceremony with Mick and Keith of the Rolling Stones, where he is named as 'Duncan Jordan'.

Mike continues, "Theo Bakker on the Radio Caroline Yahoo group spotted a long article on the BBC Radio Kent site, with a rather odd photograph of 'Radio Caroline' – 'Being a Pirate' by Jo Pattison. Radio legend Dave Cash talks about life on a pirate radio ship, working with Kenny Everett and being mobbed by hundreds of screaming girls."

BBC Kent also has a gallery of photos and newsclips, including Picture 6, a shot of the Galaxy sunk in Keil Harbour, captioned, 'Things sometimes got a bit rocky'! Maybe this was intended to be a joke? By that time, things had got way beyond 'rocky' for the poor old Galaxy!(22/03) Chris O'Dowd, who plays Simon in the film, was interviewed on the Jonathan Ross Show 21/03 (right at the end, if you want to Listen Again). He spoke mainly about his role in TV comedy series the IT Crowd, but the interview ended with talk of the film, where – OH NO! – he said Kenny Everett was on Caroline!

(22/03) Daily Mail: Sex, drugs and sea sickness tablets... Richard Curtis's new film tells the story aboard Radio Caroline The headline might give the false impression that the film tells the story of Caroline, but the feature does at least acknowledge some of the other stations. However, "Johnnie Walker, the BBC Radio 2 DJ who began his career as a pilot?" Er... unless there's a chapter JW omitted from his autobiography, they must mean 'pirate'. And were the good fol of Frinton really terrified by the notion of ships that were over three miles out to sea, as Tony Blackburn suggests? They could barely see them! Or was that meant to be a Blackburn joke?

Stephen Chesney quotes the following from the Mail's Weekend magazine: "Kenny Everett. The hyperactive broadcaster served on both Radio London – where he was sacked for mocking one of the station's sponsors – and later Radio Caroline."

(22/03) The Daily Record: The Boat that Rocked star Nick Frost on his incredible journey from Spaced to superstardom The Scots paper interviews Nick about his 'Boat That Rocked' role as Dave. It talks of 'illegal' pirate radio, but does at least – briefly – acknowledge the existence of 242.

(23/03) Scotland on Sunday: Richard Curtis interview: Captain comedy 242 is ignored by Scotland on Sunday and carries the gaffe "...1968, the year after Radio 1 hit the airwaves with some of the shipwrecked pirate jocks from Radio Caroline one of the stations scuppered by the hastily drafted Marine Offences Act."You might notice that the photo of Richard Curtis bears close resemblance to the one on the left of Steve Young, taken aboard the Mi Amigo!

(21/03) Financial Times: Rulers of the airwaves. This is superior to most features so far and does acknowledge Radio London and Radio England. But it fails by ignoring fort-based stations, giving the impression that the Mi Amigo was the only Caroline vessel and that all the radio ships were sited in the North Sea and that the Beeb set up Radio 1 to 'challenge' the pirates.

The Hamilton Advertiser Reviews the film with the only mention of the original stations being a claim that Radio Rock is based on 'controversial pirate radio stations in the 1960s, in particular Radio Caroline'. Which of the two Carolines would that be, then? Hang on a minute - Hamilton is in Scotland. Where are the references to 242? No room, I suppose, as the paper had save space for top story 'Gay Penguins Wed In China Zoo'.

(19/03) The Independent: The swashbuckling rock rebels of Radio Caroline
Sadly, we have yet again had to write to the paper to correct the caption on that ubiquitous photo of the Big L DJs coming ashore. This feature contains extensive quotes from DLT, who (from having watched the trailers) is clearly not enamoured of the sex and drugs lifestyle that the film depicts aboard Richard Curtis's fictional 'Radio Rock'.

The Independent also has a competition to win a day aboard the Ross Revenge. What they don't tell you is that the winners won't be allowed ashore again until they've repainted her from stem to stern.Talking of the Ross, the red ship has her own website, where the story of her involvement in 'The Boat That Rocked' is told in full.

Midhurst and Petworth Observer: Time is ripe for another cultural revolution
The feature seems promising because it at least acknowledges that there were numerous offshore stations besides you-know-who, then ruins the whole thing by suggesting that Radio London was 'a clone of Caroline'. US Top Forty-format radio a clone of Caroline? Come off it! We will give them credit, though, for knowing that Kenny Everett and John Peel were Radio London jocks.

Glasgow Evening Times: Radio pair taking hip van Winkle route to 60s
This must be the strangest of the latest bunch of features, because this is a Glasgow paper, yet there's not one mention of Scotland's own 242! DOH!
(updated 17/03) Originally from Norwich, busy Tom Edwards popped up again in the March 9th edition of the Norwich Evening News 24 and guested on Peter Levy's BBC Radio Humberside lunchtime show on Friday, March 13th.

Tom also talked to the Lincolnshire Echo, which went on sale 17th March. An edited version of the story appears here. Unfortunately, the paper thinks the film 'tells the story of Radio Caroline'. Still, at least Tom succeeded in getting in a plug for the Radio London site. This appears only in the longer, printed edition, which we have not seen, but Tom promises to bring the feature with him to Harwich.
(17/03) Radio Times 21st-27th March, contains a feature called 'The Day the Music Died', where Johnnie Walker and Richard Curtis are interviewed about pirate broadcasters, real and fictional. Sadly, it gives the impression that there was only one significant offshore station - yes, it's Caroline South again - although Caroline North and Radio London are mentioned in passing. Sorry, all the rest of you Wets! Worst of all, though, author Martyn Palmer names Kenny Everett as a Caroline DJ and also repeats the well-worn fallacy that most of the jocks at the launch of Radio One were from Caroline. (Sigh.) The fact is that half of the twenty-two DJs pictured on the steps of Broadcasting House in the famous pre-launch publicity photo of September 1967, had come ashore from Radio London, namely: Tony Blackburn, Pete Brady, Dave Cash, Chris Denning, Pete Drummond, Kenny Everett, Duncan Johnson, Mike Lennox, John Peel, Keith Skues and Ed Stewart.

Two other former pirates in the line-up (alongside Beeb stalwarts such as Pete Murray and Jimmy Young) were Mike Ahern and Mike Raven. Three more Big L jocks, Mark Roman, Tony Brandon and Tommy Vance, were subsequently recruited to the Beeb's 'pirate replacement' station where they were joined by numerous other watery wireless favourites, including Alan Black and Stuart Henry from Radio Scotland. Few were surprised, however, that it proved impossible to recreate the atmosphere of offshore radio.
The Radio Times had a competition to win tickets for the March 23rd film premiere at Leicester Square (you have to wear Sixties gear) plus hotel accommodation. We sincerely hope that someone who actually knows something about watery wireless has won them.

(updated 14/03) The Sun, March 14th, has a feature 'When Britain Ruled the Radio Waves'. Mike Terry points out, "The caption on the main picture (which claims to be Caroline going down in 1966) is wrong as the picture was taken in 1991 when the MV Ross Revenge grounded on The Goodwin Sands!" The feature carries the same photo of the Big L DJs coming ashore on August 14th, as last week's Guardian feature, mentioned above, but the Sun has not even attempted to hazard a guess as to which DJs they were and when they were coming ashore! The page links to a related story 'Nude Girls Will Rock Your Boat' containing yet another film clip.

(updated 16/03) At last – Radio Scotland gets a feature thanks to Tony Currie – unfortunately minus photos! Doug Carmichael, Jack McLaughlin, Cathy Spence and Paul Young remind readers of the Daily Record that offshore radio wasn't just about Caroline South and by revealing the important role that 242 played in the offshore story. Paul Young is often seen in 'Still Game', the hilarious sitcom about old men behaving badly, which usually airs on BBC 2. Mary had hoped to interview Paul for her Saga feature, but unfortunately, he was out of the country at the time.
(updated 16/03) The Times online, has two features which are the most accurate we have seen so far: Pirate Radio is star of Richard Curtis film The Boat that Rocked and Johnnie Walker remembers Radio Caroline.

The Sheffield Star (March 9th) carries an interview with Cardboard Shoes.The Mail on Sunday's Radio Review by Simon Garfield (also not on line) focuses on Pirate Radio Skues and ends with the line, "Until this week, Skues feared that the BBC, having effectively evicted him from the Radio London ship in 1967, would do so again by ending his show at Easter. But the efforts of Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh and the rest of Richard Curtis’s crew have made pirate radio so popular that Skues will not walk the plank after all." The Guardian has a lengthy Johnnie Walker interview, which carries a photo of the Big L jocks coming ashore on August 14th. (The caption and date of the event has now been corrected.) This is in the on-line edition; the printed version has different photos, althought the DJ's names are misspelled.

(Thanks to Mike Barraclough, Tom Edwards, Alan Hardy, Jon Myer, Mark Roman, Keith Skues, Mike Terry, PY, and others)

No surprise that Global Radio supports the pirates!
Radio Today reports that  Global Radio has announced a six-figure deal with Universal Pictures and Cineworld to promote 'The Boat That Rocked', described by Universal Pictures UK's Media Promotions Manager Jo Taylor,  as "the biggest blockbuster of the year".

For the next two weeks, promotions will run on all Global Radio stations including; 95.8 Capital FM and The Hit Network, The Heart Network, The Galaxy Network, LBC, Gold and Xfm, but not Classic FM. (No doubt Nick Bailey is disappointed about that!)

It's no surprise that Global would promote a film about offshore radio, seeing as their Big Boss Man is Richard Park, an ex-pirate whose career started on 242 Radio Scotland.

Cardboard Congratulations
Many congratulations to Keith Skues, who celebrated his 70th birthday on March 4th. Keith is also commemorating an incredible fifty years in radio by bringing out an updated edition of his offshore radio history, 'Pop Went the Pirates'. We understand it will be 'available in your local stores' (to quote TW) very soon. (See the Sheffield Star interview with Keith here.)

Keith attended a special 'multi-media' preview of 'The Boat That Rocked', as did pirates Gillett, Scruton and Wyatt from BBC Essex. They were obliged to sign the 'Official Secrets' act and cannot talk about the film until its official release on April 1st. Keith enjoyed the film but, "The only thing I can say is that 'unfortunately, there is nothing I can say'." However he did reveal that he enjoyed it, that Richard Curtis received a warm welcome when he introduced the preview personally and that the audience applauded at the end. So it can't have been too bad!

Keith (far left) proudly displays his documentation proclaiming him to be a 'Certified Anorak'. He tells us he spent the day drinking champagne in bed with his lovely girlfriend, LV18 glamour model and pin-up girl Daphne (left).

Interesting Offerings from the Beeb

1) In four-part series 'The Single Story',  Tuesdays from March 10th, 2330 – midnight, Radio 2, David Quantick explores the impact of the 45rpm single, with input from singers, songwriters and DJs. Part One told how the first vinyl releases in the States were pressed in different colours to represent different types of music. The first single released was a country song and the country music colour was green. The colour-coding system was short-lived, probably because the record companies soon discovered that certain songs defy categorisation.

2) Beginning Saturday March 14th, 1900 – 2000 on Radio 2,  is a four-part series 'From Edison to iTunes: a history of the record label'. Paul Morley, with input from the 'industry giants' running famous labels, looks at, "How technology has influenced the making of music and how things have evolved over 130 years to where we are today."

3) 'Archive on Four: Beat Mining with the Vinyl Hoover', Radio 4 Saturday March 28th 2000 – 2100, shortened repeat Monday 1500 – 1545, will be of interest to the avid vinyl hounds known as 'beat miners' and 'crate diggers' - referring to their obsession with ploughing through obscure-single-loaded beer crates at record fairs to unearth that elusive gem. Toby Amies investigates their motives and the value of vinyl collections.

4) On Monday 15th, Radio 2, a new three-parter started, presented by Stephen Fry. 'Third Reich Rock and Roll', 2330 – midnight, reveals an unexpected link between Hitler and electric guitars! The Nazis, it transpires, were responsible for developing magnetic recording tape.

Sad news from Offshore Echoes Webmaster Chris Edwards writes:
It was with great sadness that we recently learnt of the death of Liz West, more so as it was discovered that she had passed away in 2002.
A tribute and an interview from Liz's Laser 558 days are now online.

The Future's in Norwich
Offshore fan Steve Burnham had some positive feedback to his first programme for Norwich's community station Future Radio.

Steve says: "I was invited back to Future Radio's studios to help a presenter with his 60s programme. We clicked, so we shared the programme, and I played several tracks. I picked 'Caroline' by the Fortunes, and was given permission to promote the Pirate BBC Essex Harwich weekend and of course the film. As a result, some text messages came in, showing interest in the Harwich broadcast and the station is now interested in the film, so that's great,

The main station boss met me and asked if I enjoyed helping with the programme. He seemed happy with the way things went and wants me back next week, so that's terrific. It's a great 60s programme, and another presenter who was in the studios has now gained an interest in offshore radio too and has invited me on his programme to interview me about that and will be playing offshore jingles. I have been asked to invite a certain DJ at Harwich to the Future Radio studios to talk about his offshore experiences."

In Norwich, Future Radio is on 96.9FM and can also be heard via the net.

The Radio Caroline Story continues
Chris Edwards of Offshore Echoes writes:

Dateline: 19th March 1980...
...the crew of the MV Mi Amigo were taken off the sinking radioship by lifeboat.

Dateline: 19th March 2009...

...the Radio Caroline story from Offshore Echoes concludes the story of the 1970s with the Mi Amigo sinking, with photos, press cuttings and audio clips. The 1960s and 1970s are now online and there is also a listing of Caroline 70s and Radio Seagull deejays.

Lyrics deemed offensive... after 33 years of airplay
Ian MacRae's latest edition of his newsletter, The Radio Wave includes the following stories: Station gives 'Only The Good News' * Radio show broadcasts in stereotype
* Drama at Sunny 102 * Gosh, golly...Eagles lyrics censored.

Every issue of The Radio Wave, from the first one in April 2002, is archived at Ian's website All About Radio

Ian says: As a Radio Wave subscriber you may be interested in my new blog. It's not necessarily about radio – it's about what's hot. I hope to update it daily. (Yikes!)

News continues on Page 2....

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