Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pirate Radio—Rocks 'N Rolls!

Last night I didn't post a blog because I spent almost all of my day playing catchup with my paperwork, e-mail and phone calls and was "computered-out," so to speak. I stopped working around seven o'clock and decided to treat myself to a movie that Dylan had highly recommended to me, when we saw him and Sage over at the Lodge on New Year's Day.

I watched "Pirate Radio" on HBO and it was so fantastic and it is now one of my favorite movies! It takes place in England in 1966 and I believe it is a true story. It is about a pirate ship full of disc jockeys, that broadcasts rock 'n roll offshore to the people of England, because the British government would not allow its citizens to listen to The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, etc. and I highly recommend it. I loved the story and the music was the best, and brought back so many happy memories.

In 1966, I was fifteen years old and I didn't know about the English government banning rock 'n roll over there. I had been listening to the The Beatles, Stones, etc. since the 1963 "British Invasion." Anyway, I think people, especially around my age—will absolutely love it. I am glad that I recorded it and I cannot wait to buy it, so I can add it to my collection of favorite movies. (Tony didn't watch it with me, because he only likes country music.)

Today has been good. I spent my morning doing more paperwork and then Buttermilk took Tony and me to Kerrville to run a few errands. Our last stop was at Wolfmueller's Books to visit with Sandy and Jon, but unfortunately, Sandy was in San Antonio buying books, so we had a fun visit with Jon.

Before heading home I purchased another copy of the well-done documentary on Kinky, that our friend Simone de Vries, from Amsterdam, made many years ago, because I had loaned my copy of "Kinky Friedman: Proud To Be An A**Hole From El Paso" to a friend and never got it back.

When we got home I returned a few phone calls and then I sat down and watched it, with Toto sitting in my lap and we totally enjoyed seeing it again, because Toto is it, along with Hank, Little Girl, Mr. Magoo, Brownie and Chumley—not to mention Sandy Wolfmueller, Dylan Ferrero, Little Jewford, Max Swafford, Ted Mann, Chinga, New York Ratso, Washington Ratso, Cleve Hattersley, Bill Clinton, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Tom Friendman, Marcie, The Old Timer in Medina, our trailer Nellybelle, and me and many other friends of Kinky's. 

After it ended I called Kinky to tell him about buying a new copy and watching it and I am going to loan it to him tomorrow, because it has been a long time since he has seen it, too. If you are a Kinky fan and have not seen it—you can buy a copy at Wolfmueller's Books.

Tonight I designed and made a personal 2011 calendar in iPhoto, using T.'s and my favorite pictures like I did last year, and then I went online to Apple, uploaded it, and placed my order, because we don't have a 2011 calendar in the trailer. It usually takes 3-4 days to get it and I figure if we have gone five days doing without a calendar—we can go a few more days, besides it is only time. I am real proud of it and cannot wait to see it! When it arrives I promise to post it on my blog.

Well, I am fixin' to go to bed now, because I have to get up real early tomorrow morning, so I can do my chores before doing "The Harley Show" at 7:45. 

Y'all have a great evening!


Mary Payne, Radio London Webmaster said...

Hi Nancy,

Although 'Pirate Radio' aka 'The Boat That Rocked' is fiction, it is (very loosely) based on the story of the UK offshore broadcasters of the Sixties, when a number of stations (not just one!) entertained millions of Brits, continentals and Scandinavians via powerful transmitters. The ships were anchored in the North Sea and the Irish Sea and some stations were based on ex-WWII forts in the Thames estuary.

Those of us who love the offshore stations were very disappointed with 'Pirate Radio', as were most of the former DJs, who don't appreciate being labelled sex-maniac drug-takers! There was plenty of that type of action going on in the trendy clubs when they went ashore and very little happening on the ships, where girls were seldom allowed aboard.

The real story is yet to be told and it's much more interesting.

Teens loved the pirates from the outset. They were new and exciting, outside of the law and playing music all day. As much as listening to the music, we wanted to know what was happening on the ships. (And what was happening on the ships was nothing like the film script!)

The film's theme is 'rock' and overcoming the 'banning of rock music by the BBC and/or government' - which never happened. Sixties Top Forty format offshore stations were all about pop, not rock. The word 'rock' tended in those days to refer to rock 'n' roll of the Bill Haley, Jerry Lee Lewis era.

Although there was no banning of pop music on the radio, the Musicians' Union felt threatened. It restricted the number of hours of recorded music permitted to be aired, arguing that spinning records took work from its members. Much of the permitted BBC 'needle time' was devoted to the weekly 'Pick of the Pops' chart run-down.

What we did not have before the pirates arrived was any 24-hour music stations.

The pirates didn't save the world, but they made big changes to the music industry and the world of broadcasting and caused the government to have a major rethink about what the public wanted as entertainment. (The pirates were forced off the air in August 1967. The national pop station Radio 1 opened at the end of September. Commercial radio eventually arrived here in 1973.)

The national pop station BBC Radio 1 arrived at the end of September 1967. Commercial radio eventually arrived in 1973.

If you are interested in hearing the sounds that were played on the offshore stations (particularly the less-well-known tracks) listen to

Best wishes,


Mary Payne said...

My last post got a 'too big' reply, so I don't know whether or not you got it!


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