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International Team Effort for Oldies Project tracks
Our friend Marc Denis in Montreal is a huge fan of the wide selection of music played by Oldies Project and is enjoying discovering bands and singers that are new to him. He recently wrote:

Just as a curiosity, Mary, I'm wondering if you ever heard of a one-hit wonder group from Montreal called ''Mashmakhan'' (the name comes from a ''dubious'' plant in Bermuda that the locals call ''match-me-if-you-can'', as no two leaves on this ''dubious'' plant are the same. Say it fast and you get the name of the band). They had one international hit in the summer of 1970, a fairly big tune called ''As The Years Go By''. Their drummer Jerry Mercer eventually moved on to another famous Montréal 70s group called April Wine. Although Mashmakhan broke up in 1974 never to be heard from again, April Wine is still at it as we speak, touring mostly around Canada and the States. They did venture over the pond into Sweden to play a Swedish Metal Festival last year and plan to play England and Germany in the near future. They recorded their ''Nature Of The Beast'' album in Britain back in the early 80s. Jerry and Wine lead guitarist Brian Greenway are long-time buds of mine, although we see each other far too rarely.

To refresh your memory, let me point you to my CKGM Super 70s History section. Scroll on down until you see the ''Mashmakhan'' and ''April Wine'' pegs in the left-hand column. Click on them and the pop-ups will give you band photos, lineups and mini-clips of the group signature tunes, ''As The Years Go By'' and ''Roller''.

It turned out that a decent copy of Mashmakhan's ''As The Years Go By'' was on the Oldies Project 'wanted' list, so Marc was able to oblige. He continues:.

I forwarded a clean copy of Mashmakhan's ''As The Years Go By''. I also threw in April Wine's ''Just Between You And Me'' and Michel Pagliaro's ''Loving You Ain't Easy'' and ''J'entends frapper''. Pag is a rock 'n roll legend from Montréal, the first Canadian to score Gold Records in both English and French in Canada, pre-Roch Voisine and Celine Dion, the latter two achieving success far beyond strictly the boundaries of Canada. (Pag also is featured in the History column of my CKGM Pages, if you ever want to take a peek).

Apparently the OP team is familiar with all three acts and will be adding them all to the playlists shortly. Glad I could contribute and help improve representation from my neck of the woods on The Project. Un petit monde cet internet, n'est-ce-pas? What a team, eh!

Yes, as a collaboration between an English-American (Mary) a French-Canadian (Marc) and the Oldies Project team, consisting of a variety of nationalities, including Dutch, it truly was an international effort! But then, a shared love of music is the main object of the Oldies Project.
Searching for CRIM's People – not Crem's!
Jenny Jones was hoping to contact member's of her husband Alan's West London band, Crem's People. In addition to Alan, who played lead guitar, the band comprised Bobby Wald, Mick Ninds, Tony Taplin and Martin Fitzgibbon. Their manager was Andy Russell of Southern Music, who Jenny says arranged some sort of deal with Radio Caroline, circa 1965. Caroline's Alan Crawford had been involved with Southern Music see Offshore Echoes' obituary, so this may be a connection (thanks to Chris Edwards).

The band's drummer, Martin Fitzgibbon, has now been in touch. Martin says:
I understand Jenny Jones is looking for the former members of her husband Alan's band. I was the drummer and still play professionally, which makes me very old indeed. The band name was actually Crim's People not Crem's, not that it makes much difference as it's a rubbish name either way! Crim and Crimmie were slang words and somebody had the bright idea one day of using that as a name.

I remember gigs being trailed on Caroline and being called 'Crimes People' as well! Musically, that was about right I think. We weren't very good, but had an excellent lead singer Bobby Ward, who I've tried to search for on Google etc., so far without success. He was the subject of quite a lot of record interest at the time. I can't remember the labels involved except Pye, but I do recall making demos for a few others as well and working a lot down at Regent Sounds and Southern Music in Denmark Street with Barry Kingston.

I remember playing Wimbledon Palais. In fact we went back a few times after that and some other venue in town somewhere, for London or Caroline - Ed Stewart was one of the DJs that night.

Not in the exhibition: Chris Payne's shot of an early Fab Four TV appearance
Non-PC Penny Lane?
A proposal by a Liverpool City Councillor to change the names of streets related to the city's slave trade, has been rejected. Penny Lane was one of many streets that would have been renamed in a political correctness exercise. Director of the Beatles Story exhibition, Jerry Goldman, has suggested to the council that it would be more appropriate if they introduced storyboards describing the streets' historic background.

Fans of the Fab Four will love a new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London, running from 5th July to 22nd October 2006. The Beatles Story website says:

'The Beatles on the Balcony' is dedicated to Angus McBean (1904-1990), the acclaimed British photographer responsible for many of The Beatles' images at the beginning and end of their career. Highlights include the Please Please Me album and cover image for the Red and Blue albums, originally taken for the proposed Get Back album.

The collection also includes a number of Linda McCartney images, kindly donated by Paul McCartney, and works from Astrid Kirchherr and Paul's brother, Mike McCartney."

For more information, visit the National Portrait Gallery website.

Syd Barrett 1946 - 2006

Born Roger Keith, but always known as 'Syd', a nickname he acquired at school, Pink Floyd's reclusive guitarist, vocalist and songwriter has died at the age of sixty.

The band formed in 1965 as Pink Floyd Sound (Syd's choice of name) and made their first significant appearance at the Roundhouse late in 1966. Their increasing success in 1967 left Syd coping badly with the pressures of fronting a major band. He quit to record solo albums, eventually vanishing from the public eye so successfully that his whereabouts remained unknown for twenty years.

Floyd's first release 'Arnold Layne' was, as far as can be ascertained, the only one ever banned by Radio London because of its lyrical content. Radio Luxembourg seemed unoffended by the transvestite tale and amazingly, for those pre-Radio One days, so did the BBC Light Programme! 'Arnold Layne' enhanced the Caroline Countdown Of Sound and climbed to the number twenty slot in the UK Nationals.

John Peel quickly spotted the Floyd's innovative talents and the follow-up single 'See Emily Play' was unsurprisingly picked as his climber for May 28th. It claimed the Fab 40 number three slot on June 25th and made number six in the Nationals.

Syd compiled eight of the eleven tracks on the Floyd's first album, 'Piper at the Gates of Dawn', and became the last long-player to be designated Big L 'Album of the Week' before the station close-down. John Peel included two of the Barrett tracks, 'Matilda Mother ' and 'Astronomy Domine' on his final 'Perfumed Garden' - August 13th/14th 1967.

Notes: The final Fab Forty with comments regarding 'Piper at the Gates of Dawn' is here. Jempi Laevaert's Caroline Countdown Of Sound for 29th April 1967 is on the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame
Jenni Baynton
Our dear friend Jenni, who passed away on July 15th 2000, is remembered especially this week, but of course will never be forgotten. (Jenni's memorial pages are here)

DJs 'hob-nob' at Osterley UBN Reunion

When Chris was working at BFBS a few years back, the subject of UBN came up. The youngsters working there would not believe that a radio station called United Biscuits Network had genuinely existed and they were convinced that Chris was winding them up. He had to take in a magazine article about the station to convince them!

UBN was of course, the United Biscuit company's in-house radio station. A unique scheme to boost staff morale, it achieved its aim by providing networked entertainment to 10,000 workers throughout the company's factories between 1970 and 1979. UBN either launched, or enhanced the careers of many well-known DJs. The programme controller was Neil Spence, aka Radio London's Dave Dennis.

"UBN was probably the nearest thing to the (original) pirates on land, in terms of presentation style and general camaraderie," says Peter Young, who attended a UBN reunion on June 11th, organised by Andrew Lloyd. It was held at The Brewers House, in the picturesque setting of the grounds of Osterley House. The UBN studios were based at the Osterley factory.

Photo from 'Radio Month' December 1979

Guests included UBN Founder Roger Sinclair, DJs Graham Dene, Nicky Horne, Richard James, Chris Grant, Dave Gregory, Giles Squire, Pete Reeves, Allan King, and engineer Nigel Hunt. Dale Winton and Roger Day were unable to attend, but sent messages to be read out. Roger and Allan brought numerous cuttings and photos.

A CD of The Best Of UBN', had been compiled, comprising tracks chosen by former DJs. Says PY: "My inclusion is 'Can The Can' by Suzi Quatro, which was my first-ever 'record of the week'. She was an unknown artist at that time, and the record went to No. 1. Roger Sinclair, gave us all a DVD ROM of the first and last hours, three jingles packages from the master tapes and numerous airchecks and commercials and I believe the Dave Cash 'demo' for UBN - hours and hours of material. My contribution was to supply a reel of my own commercials for UBN, some of which still sound OK and some that are now embarrassing!"

A UBN website currently under construction, will eventually include reunion photos and audio clips.

Sealand Blaze
Thanks to everyone who forwarded information about the generator blaze on June 23rd, which caused extensive damage to Roughs Tower fort, better known as the Principality of Sealand.

Rescue crews from Thames and Felixstowe Coastguards, Suffolk firefghters from the National Maritime Incident Group were all in attendance. The Felixstowe Port firefighter tug doused the platform with water, while the Harwich lifeboat also stood by. At around 1.00pm, a man named only as Chris was winched to safety by the Wattisham Airfield's Sea King rescue helicopter and taken to Ipswich Hospital, where he was treated for smoke inhalation.Sealand's royal family does not intend to give up its principality, although Prince Roy and Princess Joan currently reside in Spain. Their son Michael has told the press that the family intends to repair the damage and continue to run Roughs Tower. Sealand was in the news a few years ago when it was to become a major offshore internet "data warehouse' centre, with the equipment housed in the fort's concrete legs.

Pirate Radio in the House
"Of course, Radio Caroline was not illegal; it was just not regulated because it broadcast from offshore." James Brokenshire, Conservative MP for Hornchurch.

Pirate Radio was the subject of a parliamentary debate. The discussion mainly concerned the proliferation of current illegal stations tied to the drugs trade. It seems the MPs enjoyed indulging in a nostalgiafest on the subject of radios Caroline and London – but that they were unaware of Caroline's presence as a licensed satellite station.

The story has struck a chord with many 'ex-Wets'.

Colin Nichol: "Fascinating to see how the Members are now fans and supporters of the 60's pirates and how they now reveal the true situation at that time. Coming clean on Caroline!"

Mark Roman: "Seems now as if we have been exonerated. Had it been done properly, none of these problems would have arisen."

Steve Young: (who resented the decription of Caroline jocks as 'cheesy') "I wouldn't disagree with the thrust of the parliamentary debate however, the motives of today's pirate stations are altogether different from those of the original pirates."

Rick Randell: "I am pleased to learn that there is apparently some form of official nostalgia for the offshore invasion of the 60's, and that it is 'now a part of history', as the record suggests. That seems to somehow give formal recognition to the phenomenon as we knew it then, something I don't think any of us considered as a possibility at the time."

(thanks to Mike Terry)

Duncan's still looking for Pancake John

The photo on the left depicts the Galaxy's steward Mich, with chef Pancake John, bearing something a little more imaginative than pancakes! (You can just about make out a '266' decoration in the middle of the platter.) The picture comes courtesy of Brian Long's book 'The London Sound' in which Brian says that the chef allegedly got his nickname during a water shortage on board, which left him unable to make anything but pancakes.

Duncan Johnson has for some time been searching for information about Pancake John, whom he believes ran a van selling pancakes in the Netherlands after the demise of Radio London.

If anyone has any information, please get in touch.

Farewell to REM Island
The artificial platform in the North Sea known as REM Island, from where the Netherlands' first commercial TV service began in 1964, is to be demolished.

Mike Terry drew our attention to a photo-feature by Willemien Groot from the Radio Netherlands website, which includes a contribution from our friend Rob Olthof.

REM island has more recently been used as a meteorological station but the government no longer requires it.

"Dutch law doesn't permit structures at sea within a 12-mile limit from the coast that don't serve any useful purpose," says Rolf de Boer from the Department of Public Works, "So we have to remove it."

Hail to the Roman Emperor!

Congratulations to Mark Roman, now living in Spain, who celebrates his 65th birthday on June 16th.

The question is, is he still wearing leopardskin togas? They're a bit warm for Spanish summers, but the Knees Club sincerely hopes that Mark will continue to display his patellae, whatever the weather!

'Jack' format coming to UK?
Absolute Radio is applying for a new licence in Oxford and South Oxfordshire using the Jack FM format which has become widespread in north America. At the end of 2005, New Yorkers rejected 'Jack', when the controversial 'we play what we like' format was brought in to replace their beloved oldies on WCBS-FM. Absolute has signed a deal with the US Jack format-owner SparkNet Communications and says the proposed station will target a 60% male 35-49 age group. (Thanks to Alan Hardy)

A Piece of History vanishes from Greenore

Kenny Tosh reports from Belfast:

I'm still getting used to my job in management. Yes, I'm a 'suit' now! Head of Music for the Q network, but I do the odd fill-in shift, just to keep the hand in! But Carrickfergus FM is back till June 23rd, as is my revival show for the duration!

I had a visit from Bryan Vaughan and his wife Jean from Sydney. After the trip to Ballywalter, the spot where the Radio Scotland tender operated from, we headed to Greenore.What shock horror we found when we arrived! The new company that bought the port has decided to demolish the hotel, so another bit of history has gone forever. The end of an era!

Robin Adcroft's story
Laurence Findlay spotted an interesting item on the BBC Actionnetwork website. In My Story: how I spared a fort for restoration, Robin Adcroft talks about the progress of Project Redsand.

Pirate Radio – it's a game!
Radio London received an enquiry from Chris Dannatt about the existence of a pirate radio board game. We had previously been asked about this by Dave West and although Dave's query had been on the site since 2000, we were unable to resolve this conundrum until we asked Hans Knot if one of his thousands of newsletter readers could shed light on the mystery. Hans immediately received a number of responses, including one from Mike Baron, who devised the Pop Pirate Game with Nik Oakley for Music Radio Promotions. It was launched in 1977 at the Flashback '67 convention and had sold out by Christmas of that year.

The players' aim is, "To buy components from the bank and run a successful station. Before putting to sea, a player must have: 1 Radio Ship, 1 Aerial Mast, 1 Transmitter, 1 Anchor, 1 Captain, 1 Crew, 3 Disc Jockeys. (These are the minimum requirements for a radio ship to be at sea, in case of emergency, radio ships may also carry 1 Spare Anchor, 1 Spare Transmitter, 1 Standby disc jockey)."
"Radio is a very specialised skill and very few people have it"
"...If you look back thirty years ago in the '60s and '70s, if a station lost a talent, even if it was a powerful talent, they still had a lot of other elements that were attractive to listeners, so the station didn't collapse." – Lee Abrams XM Satellite Radio SVP & Chief Creative Officer

Howie Castle sent us a link to a great interview on the FMQB website and writes:

I know I've mentioned Lee to you before and probably sent you another interview with him some time back. I consider him to be one of the great programmers of all time and have enormous respect for him. His company, Burkhart-Abrams, was my consultant in Syracuse (WSYR-FM), Pittsburgh (WDVE), and Memphis (WEGR). While I normally dealt with his associates at two of the stations, Lee was my consultant personally in Pittsburgh

A couple of explanations in the interview: O&A refers to Opie & Anthony, a talented, but controversial on-air duo that was fired in New York for a promotional stunt that got out of hand. The David Lee Roth experiment (former Van Halen member) was a failed attempt to use Dave as Howard Stern's replacement as breakfast show host on some of the CBS-owned FM stations. (Lee had nothing to do with that)

I particularly like Lee's response to question #13 about "mistakes made through the years in radio programming"!

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