Dec 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…….

10 Responses to “Toothpaste”

  1. Dave Roberts Says:

    Yep! The Annual was a big treat when I was a lad ( 50 years ago )and an essential part of Christmas and presents in general. I have been buying annuals for my two lads and choose one classic one ie “Beano” and one contemporary title ie “Ben 10” but it is not so common to see any of their friends reading them! I blame the parents.Sad really!

    I am glad you have discovered Radio Eric’s website. Some great recordings. “Clockwork Wireless” with the “Birdman” skits always made me smile and “Raiders FM” are but two gems that convey the fun of land based pirates in the 70’s and 80’s.

    Check out two hours of “Raiders FM” with Howard Peters. Fun and insults. Great wide range of music from the new fangled CD’s as well as crusty old vinyl. Distorted and worn out tracks BUT lots of energy and FUN FUN FUN! When did radio become so very serious minded?

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    Podcasts about pirate radio? Now that sounds like a good idea…. over to you “Magic Robot”! Maybe it could be called “Magic Radio”?

  2. Says:

    Teeth whitener? Safe as milk?

    Well … someone had to make a comment on the passing of the great Captain.
    Kinda spoiled Christmas, a bit.

  3. Yeah I guess his art will now shoot up in value…not that I’ve got any… I bought Trout Mask Replica when it came out due to the reviews…I don’t think I was old enough then to “get” it. Didn’t buy any more of his stuff till Ice Cream for Crow after I saw him gesticulating madly in the desert on an early 80s Whistle test.

    They’ve been dropping like flies this year. Tuli Kupferberg, Gerry Rafferty ( I liked early Stealers Wheel) and today I read that Anne Francis had passed away.

  4. Says:

    So, tree down, celebration stuff over. Back to the grindstone …

    I’m somewhat humbly thankful that not only did I see the Captain 5 times but also managed a wonderful evening over a meal in between soundcheck and set – the soundcheck was a bit fraught and it was suggested we decamp to a nearby winebar for snacks and stuff, which I bravely offered to sort as nobody else want’d to risk it.

    He was possibly the most polite person I ever met outside of Stephane Grappelli, and treated my girlfriend as a princess. Gave me a curved insight to the man I’d not quite clicked on – he was normal and ordinary, but with an incredible use of playful language – surreal yet linkable if you concentrated, and playfully punnish or rhymeable. I guess his music was always thus, but to see it in action was a revelation. Only people I’ve ever seen using language in the same way in real life are Marc Bolan and Linton Kwesi Johnson.

    ‘Strictly Personal’ was the first import lp I bought, and I still play it regularly – my wife was scared to death by my playing both ‘Safe as Milk’ and ‘Strictly Personal’ in the car very loudly as a tribute on the day he died. She kinda got the blues angle, as a blues enthusiast, but can’t handle the weird side.

    Gerry Rafferty produced great work – his Humblebums material and,as you say, early Wheel are sadly underestimated. It’s a great shame the drink took another one much too early – he could have done so much more.

    On the subject of Mr Kupferberg – I have pledged to play The Fugs’Crystal Liaision’ at least once a day through 2011, as I once used to. Not representative of The Fugs, I know, but quite simply one of the greatest rock songs ever ever recorded. Astoundingly abtuse lyrics, astonishing recording quality – the horns are just exquisite, and the volume and quality at which it was cut was a stupendous piece of technology for the day. And that enormous swirling uplifting pace and pulse. It’s a joyous celebration of music from both the artists and the label. I bought it as a single on the day it was released, It will be played at my funeral.

    As for the Grim Reaper stuff, I fear we are in for a bad year this year. Sign of our age.
    Be prepared to eulogise profusely.


  5. Always great when you’ve seen your “heroes” live and in person. I think I’ve seen most of mine now. I never saw Elvis (although I shook Albert Hand’s hand after he returned from shaking the King’s hand if you see what I mean…….)but I got to see John Cale, Lou and Nico solo whenever they were within a 100 mile radius of here.

    Popular music from the last 50 years seems to be moving into two distinct camps. Music that is becoming timeless and is ageing remarkably well (rather like myself) and music that was of its time and is now to me virtually unlistenable.

    I’ve just been listening to Dion’s Abraham Martin and John and Chicory Tip’s Son of my father. Can you guess which catagories I place those in ??

  6. Says:

    Well, it’s a bit late – work and family and stuff.
    Especially making the lad’s new whizzy laptop actually work in a meaningful way, what with multiple pre-installed, rubbish, anti-virus – what’s with it now, you spend a week actually making a laptop work properly when you buy it, what with umpty Windows updates and uninstalling this and disarming that …
    but the questions’ been on my mind and I HAVEN’T A CLUE!!!

    Dion’s Abraham is superb – whatever version you care to listen to. Not often I’d advise listening to a cover version of something that is simply definitive in the original, but he makes it different not just once but at least 3 times. Chicory Tip however, I’d place in a bucket of water and lob the hairdryer in …

    put me out of my misery, even if nobody else cares. Pretty please!

  7. Says:

    oh yeah, and I’ll always regret not seeing Muddy Waters live above all

  8. Yeah, and I regret not attending Woodstock !!!

    I also regret not going to the Isle of Wight festival in 1970. I was reluctantly entertaining a German exchange student that summer. We pored over the map to see where the Isle of Wight actually was. I had told him I thought it was somewhere near Wales which is where the family would be that August bank holiday !! Instead we ended up seeing Mungo Jerry live locally…

    Yes I got a Chicory Tip greatest hits CD for Xmas and I’ve even listened to it. Not the worst stuff in the world. And I see they’re still gigging.

    A xmas set of DVDs of “Beat Club” have gone down quite well also.

    PS: Of couse there are only two catagories of music. Music that I’ve heard and music that I haven’t heard yet !!

  9. Says:

    I was lucky enough to be at the IOW ’70.
    Still have particularly strong memories of Chicago, Ten Years After, Terry Reid, the great Tiny Tim and Lighthouse (a highly under-rated band, their side-long version of ‘1849’ on the live double album is still a much-played favourite). Sadly my only memory of Jimi Hendrix’ set is that the clouds were very pink and very warm and smiley and wanted to cuddle me – ahhh, Strawberry Fields forever.

    Funnily enough, I discovered a while back that I’d somehow downloaded Chicroy Tip’s Greatest Hits. Not as grimace-worthy as I expected – I’ve not deleted it.

  10. If you can remember the 1960s you weren’t there. If you can remember the 1970s you wish you could forget them. A dire Reading Festival in the early 1970s springs to mind.

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