December 31, 2010
ITEM: Looking for some cheap reading matter just before Xmas I foolishly bought a stack of 20 Annuals from a charity shop. Seemed a reasonable deal at £1 each. I’d seen them in the window the previous week and was surprised that they were still there. Evidentally the kids of today are only attracted to stuff they look at on screens and have lost the ability to turn pages in books. So I stumbled out with my haul and across the road into my next port of call, the bank. As usual the queue was massive and as usual only two girls were serving. I dumped the stack of books on the wet salt and grit strewn mess that had once been a carpet. After five un-moving minutes I sat down upon 19 books and started to read the 1982 Victor Annual !! I repeatedly dropped most of the books in the snow slipping and sliding back to the bank car park. Actually for perhaps the last 30 years my brother has given me an “ironic” Dandy or Beano Annual each Xmas (and I would retaliate with a Football Annual of some description). Annuals and Selection boxes represent Xmas just as strongly as Xmas trees and decorations.
ITEM: Looking for free listening material isn’t hard these days. Although many people automatically relate “pirate” radio to pop music broadcast from boats there have been other types of unauthorised broadcasting. Today I’ve discovered the Radio Eric Website which has some fascinating stuff from land-based pirate stations like Radio Jackie etc who were still copying the 1960s offshore stations in sound and format in the 1970s and 1908s. Land-based pirates in the UK are still found in cities like London or Liverpool often specialising in urban music or reggae. There are less since downloading music from the Internet became such a straight forward way for anyone to track down their specific interests. I’ve lost interest in the radio but I do enjoy a number of Podcasts that feature music from the 1960s on. I wonder if there are there any podcasts that deal with the subject of Pirate Radio ? If not, why not ? Sometimes mp3 copies of whole vintage radio shows are just too long/hard going/time consuming.
Radio Eric has numerous historical soundchecks here.
Here is a short piece of audio from 1982 about the “fun” to be had as a land-based pirate evading the law.
The USA had its share of land-based pirate radio stations and for a while even tried a ship-based station in the late 1980s called Radio NewYork International. The oddest American pirate Radio station must have been Radio First Termer which broadcast rock and other four letter words to the US armed forces from a brothel in Vietnam for three weeks in 1971 !!
ITEM: To put things into perspective at this time of year I often recall what a friend once said. He had money trouble and a broken relationship. He despised his job teaching in an inner city school. His Xmas present to himself had been a Sunday newspaper. On the first day of the new term he surveyed the black cloud of gloom above his head and tried to find something in his otherwise bleak future that he could look forward to. All he could come up with was the new brand of toothpaste he had purchased the previous day and had yet to sample !!!
PS: Isn’t the Internet/eMail spam getting out of control ? A mere 4 hours after posting the above I had already received 18 spam comments for teeth whitening…….