April 2002 (last month's is here...)

Camp Icons

Although it was not disclosed how the placings were compiled, Kenny Everett came 6th in Channel Four's Top Ten Camp Icons.

It was a pleasant surprise to find that the programme-makers were sufficiently knowledgeable to go back to Kenny's comic roots aboard the Galaxy. Not only did they include footage of the ship, but they conducted interviews with Big L jocks Dave Cash and Tommy Vance. (Only Dave was on the Galaxy at the same time as Cuddly Ken, but both Dave and Tommy worked with him in the Seventies on London's Capital Radio.) Unfortunately, when Dave spoke of the popularity of the Kenny and Cash Show, the name of the show was edited out, so many viewers would not have appreciated that Dave was Kenny's co-presenter.

A rose by any other name

John Newstead (aka 'The Paperboy') has kindly sent this photo of the former Yeoman Rose, home to Radio London during the 30th Anniversary RSL, Big L '97.

Those who scrambled up the ladder to stand on her rusty deck when she was at sea off Walton pier, and had 'Radio London 266' painted on her side in white, will scarcely recognise the old girl, sitting low in the canal.

Now known as the Gina D, she is pictured on the Manchester Ship Canal, heading for Liverpool. Her job is now hauling grain between Liverpool and Trafford Park.

She's now very much a part of radio history.

Air Checks available from MacRae radio school

Our Down-Under Correspondant, John Preston, submitted the following item from the AMT radio news website:

Since its inception last year, The Ian MacRae Radio School has been receiving numerous approaches from people already actively on air who don't need the training the school gives beginners, but are anxious for some professional guidance at their current level. So, to solve the problem, the school has decided to launch "The Air-check Doctor."

Every week for six weeks clients submit an air-check and will receive a written critique of performance plus suggestions on how to improve. At the end of the six weeks you have a one-on-one discussion with your personal trainer about your progress. The four personal trainers have a combined active radio experience of over 120 years. The cost of The Air-check Doctor service has been initially pitched at a low level so that even badly-paid presenters at small stations can afford it.

The service comes with a guarantee that if your presentation and performance doesn't improve over the six weeks your money will be refunded in full. More information at www.radioschool.org

Not Responsible – don't believe all you read on the WWW!

A good piece of nonsense that was unearthed via the WWW this week cites Jonathan King as the man at Decca records responsible for rejecting the Beatles! JK may have been Decca's manager circa 1966/7, but the Beatles had been rejected by A and R man, Dick Rowe, in 1962, when JK would have been aged around seventeen!

Lil's Final Hour

Gary has been in touch to tell us:

This afternoon I uploaded what I believe is a copy of the studio master tape for the last hour of Radio London. As web space is no problem more tapes will be added as I acquire them.
Thanks for a nice site, keep up the good work, Gary.
Gary is especially interested in The Perfumed Garden and is looking for recordings which he intends to add to the site.

Barry Took, OBE, 1928 - 2002

The man who kept us in stitches with his brilliant comedy scripts passed away on March 31st, 2002. This is Mary's personal tribute.

My first recollections of Barry's work are of the 1950s TV sitcom, 'The Army Game', which he co-wrote with Marty Feldman. The show introduced a number of catchphrases to our primary school playground, especially "He's a nutcase", as frequently uttered by the character Popeye, (Bernard Bresslaw) I recall being reprimanded for daring to use the term 'a nutcase' in a school essay. Teacher underlined the offending word in red ink and wrote "SLANG!" beside it – which I'm sure would have amused Barry very much!

Slang, or more precisely, gay, theatrical slang (palare) featured very heavily in my favourite Took/Feldman creation, 'Round The Horne'. The show brightened many a dull, British Sunday lunchtime in the Sixties. The question has often been asked, "How could Auntie BBC have allowed them to get away with all those double-entendre jokes?" The answer (and I believe I have heard Barry say this himself) is that the Beeb 'Powers That Be' simply failed to understand the humour! Fans of the show are eternally grateful for their ignorance!

Barry also became a writer for one of my broadcasting heroes, Kenny Everett, and was a contributor to the Channel 4 tribute 'Heroes Of Comedy: Kenny Everett.'

In his introduction to Round the Horne, (Woburn Press, 1974) Barry wrote:

Historically, 'Round The Horne' was created at a time, 1964, when most people thought that radio was dead.

Barry had not bargained for the advent of Radio Caroline! He continues:

Because radio is a thing of the imagination, the characters linger in the mind long after television characters are forgotten.

If I had to sum up the success of 'Round The Horne', I would say that it was a natural link , indeed almost the only link between the golden age of radio comedy (ITMA, Goons) and the new wave (Monty Python et al)"

In 2001, Barry embarked on a stand up tour of the country, called The First Farewell Tour. He said, "We don't retire in this business – the phone just stops ringing!"

The only surviving member of the entire 'Round The Horne' team is Bill Pertwee.

Other personal tributes to Barry can be read on the BBC website.

Photo: Decca Records
Dudley Moore 1935 - 2002

Whether we remember him as a glamorous film star, a gifted musician or a pint-sized comedian wearing a cloth cap and long raincoat, Dudley Moore will never be forgotten. Peter Young, who regularly played Dudley's jazz recordings on his shows long after others had forgotten how good they were, writes:

Peter Cook and Dudley Moore were both funny in their own right, but somehow with the chemistry they had together, the humour was increased tenfold. Their 1967 film 'Bedazzled' has actually improved with age and was definitely under-appreciated at the time.

For me, the greatest and funniest Dudley Moore performances were with Peter Cook, when he used to break up during some of the 'Pete and Dud' sketches. The one where he practically chokes on his sandwich being particularly memorable!

I was so glad when some of Dudley's music was re-issued on CD recently, as I don't have a record deck at the moment. Amazingly, the three reissues have already been withdrawn due to some legal wrangle as to who owns the rights. So 'Bedazzled', '30 Is A Dangerous Age Cynthia' and 'Authentic Dud' are already collector's items.

Chris Payne writes:

Dudley Moore's piano playing always gave me goose-bumps, and still does. His music helped me through my teens, and my love of jazz owes an awful lot to dear Dud. He was always so blazé about his playing, and I remember an interview he did many years ago, where he said he found it so easy that it was no longer a challenge. This wasn't to boast you understand, it was simply that he thought he couldn't take it any further.

I will always treasure his records in my collection, and when I get a moment soon, I'll put on 'Genuine Dud' and have a small lemonade. Thanks Dud.

Dudley's friend and fellow-musician, Brian Auger, has added a personal tribute:

I was very sorry about Dudley. He was a friend of mine from back in the 60s when he and I would swop shifts with our jazz piano trios at his club 'The Establishment' in London. Many times we would sit upstairs between sets with Dud and Peter Cook while they would engage in the most lunatic and hilarious conversations. He and Peter certainly brought us all much laughter and good times. God bless them wherever they are

Colin Owns his own Name!

The March 2002 issue of 'Photograph', the Colin Blunstone fanzine produced by Andy Barnes, reveals that Colin now owns the following website names colinblunstone.co.uk, colinblunstone.net, and colinblunstone.org, and that all of those URLs lead to Colin's new website.

During the rest of April, Colin is with Rod Argent on their Out of the Shadows 2002 tour, appearing in Holland and Belgium on the 25th, 26th and 27th. From April 30th to early July, Colin appears solo as part of the Manfreds' Maximum R & B Tour 02. Tour dates can be found on the website.

Happy Birthday to the Hall of Fame

Another site celebrating a birthday is The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame, which is now two years old! Congratulations to Jonathan on another twelve months of hard work. The site has many treats in store. Thanks to Duncan Johnson, Big L fans will be able to view the original plans of the Density, from 1944.

Of course, it's also Caroline's 38th birthday, and the Hall of Fame includes two new pages of Caroline photos and memorabilia, courtesy of Tom Lodge plus a page of Britain Radio pics from Dutch DJ Look Boden.

Tom Lodge has also written his own story of Caroline, part one of which we look forward to seeing in the May HoF update. It should be a fascinating read!

Update From the USA on the CARP Internet Broadcasting Situation

John Schneider (already featured in our March Happenings) has sent an updated report on the disturbing prospect of enormous fees being charged to Internet radio broadcasters. As it is quite long, it has been given a page of its own.

Back to 'Kneesflashes'