The archived Happenings index is here...

Site Updates

(New March 30th) The story of the Club Song 'Knees' by Kenny and Cash, from its writer, David Cummings

The Knees Club's 40th Annkneeversarknee 2006/2007

The final edition of Knees Monthly appeared in April 1997, so it's entirely appropriate that we mark the end of the year-long 40th Birthday celebrations with a new feature about the Knees Club Song.
Were you a KC member? If so, send us a photo– from then, now, or both – but preferably with your knees in it!
(Updated May 31st) The Swop Shop has a new entry
(Updated April 28th) on Page 9 of the Caroline Scrapbook, Tony Blackburn explains in a letter to a disgruntled fan why he plans to jump ship to Big L
(Updated May 5th) on Page 10 of the Caroline Scrapbook, a letter from Allan Crawford to Ronan O'Rahilly, dated 11/05/67.
(New March 30th) The arrival of
(New March 22nd) How Wijnand Brak acquired a wonderful collection of artefacts from the Galaxy
(Updated May 5th) now a second page has been added, with memos revealing problems concerning a commercial.
(New May 5th) Full feature on how Radio London got the musical exclusive of the 20th century – Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band!
(Updated April 28th) Our new glamour model in our Radio London T-shirt gallery is Jorin Brak from the Netherands.
(Updated (May 17th) A new John Peel Column from International Times (courtesy of Hans Knot), takes the number of Peel clippings pages to five.
(New May 25th) The latest page of mini-memories Page Nine has two items from forty years ago. There's speculation regarding a Big L deal with Radio Andorra and an interview with a 'slim and slightly dreamy-looking' DJ.

And now, the news....

Brad Pitt to Play Tony Blackburn?
On May 27th, the Observer newspaper reported that writer Richard Curtis, whose TV credits include 'Blackadder' and 'The Vicar of Dibley' and whose big-screen successes include 'Notting Hill', has completed a script for a comedy film about offshore radio. Curtis is also directing 'The Boat That Rocked', which is to be made by Working Title. "Rumours Brad (Pitt) will play Tony Blackburn on the pirate radio ship are just silly," says the Observer.
Thanks to Jon at The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame.
Sgt Pepper's 40th
To celebrate and commemorate the 40th anniversary of the release of the Sgt Pepper album www.thebeatles.com has launched a new site featuring video, photographs and music from the album.

JW tells it like it is

Johnnie Walker's autobiography is published May 31st. The Amazon review reads:

Johnnie Walker is an inspiration. One of the best-known and most beloved broadcasters in Britain, the charismatic BBC Radio 2 "Drivetime" DJ has achieved legendary status with a hugely loyal following thanks to his tireless pioneering of new music, his warm and passionate personality and his soothing voice. Having thrown away the rule book as a teenager, Johnnie has always made decisions from the heart. As a result, he has had a brilliantly colourful life, with more ups and downs than a rollercoaster ride. In this memoir, he reveals all about his time with Radio Caroline, his drug addiction, his fight against cancer and his spiritual awakening. Honest, passionate and humorous, his autobiography will provide inspiring and entertaining listening to his millions of fans.

The autobiography is also available as a CD audiobook, read by Johnnie himself.

An extract has been published in the Mail On Sunday online.

Reprieve for Groningen Graffiti

Hans Knot reports on the Radio London graffiti that has graced a wall in his hometown of Groningen since 1966.

The street where the '266 shed' is, has been 50% renovated and part of that long street has been broken away. Luckily, the remaining section of the street is in the ownership of a cooperation that didn't want to participate in the rebuilding project. So the shed is still going strong at the Gorechtkade!

After 40 years, the Big L graffiti has become a part of history and deserves to survive!

Thank You All
We have recently received a great deal of new material for the website and Chris and Mary wish to sincerely thank everyone who has contributed. As we now have a huge backlog of material, it may take some time for everything to appear in our Radio London archives, but rest assured, it will eventually.

The site also receives a large amount of email and unfortunately, it is not always possible for us to answer everyone. May we also take the opportunity to remind visitors that our A to Z index is very comprehensive and should assist you to find what you seek amongst our 1000-odd pages!

Galaxy sinks
We were very sorry to hear that the beautiful model Galaxy painstakingly built by John Platt, has sunk. John tells us the ship was being towed by his model submarine when a windsurfer got too close and capsized the Galaxy. He is working on a replacement, but it isn't the sort of job that can be rushed.

Look what we started with the Big L Fab Forties!
Steve Kohler from Wellington, New Zealand has created a great website featuring (amongst other things) NZ music charts starting from 1960.
Steve explains:

NZ had no 'official' music charts until 1975, so I have used other charts to fill the gap to give viewers a sense of what was getting airplay here. The whole inspiration for this project came from the great enjoyment I got searching through your Fab 40 charts from the 60s. It's you guys who motivated me to ever get started on this long and trying project.

Congratulations to Steve on the hard work he has put into this mega-project. It's fascinating to discover what records people were enjoying in 'the land of the long white cloud'.

'Diving into the Mire'
On Bob le Roi's website, One Subject One Link has "Diving into the Mire – a radio station in Frinton hits an all-time low with the aftermath of Channel 4's TV programme 'Get Your Act Together with Harvey Goldsmith'".

Happy Birthday Ken

Congratulations to Ken Evans, a pioneer of Radio Atlanta and later Caroline, who celebrated his 80th birthday on April 12th, in his native Sydney. See the tribute by his friend Colin Nicol here.

"HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, and thanks for all that you’ve done to keep the memories alive" – Steve Young, Radio Caroline

It's a busy time of year for anniversaries and birthdays and we celebrated ours with prezzies for our visitors in the form of a mega-update!

Besides the eighth birthday of the Radio London website (March 29th), we also had Radio Caroline's 43rd (28th). We should also mention our own Knees Club Official Pauline Miller, celebrates on March 27th, Roger Twiggy Day (29th) and Johnnie Walker (30th). Many happy returns to everyone!

Sadly, there is also a poignant anniversary – that of the death of Kenny Everett, April 4th, 1995.

Radio Caroline Charts come to Radio London!

Jempi Laevaert has put a huge amount of time and effort into creating a unique collection of Caroline charts, but has now found he can no longer continue to host and update his website, The Stonewashed Collection. As we already have a Caroline section on the website, he asked us if Radio London would be prepared to take over the collection. In honour of Caroline's 43rd birthday, we are proud to announce that Jempi Laevaert's Stonewashed Collection is now part of the Radio London website. The charts collection will continue to be completed from existing information and will be updated as other data becomes available.

Forty-year-old 390 mystery solved
Chris Edwards tells us that Offshore Echoes' Offshore Radio themes pages have now been updated. More themes and info have been added and the mystery of the Radio 390 theme has been solved after nearly 40 years.

The latest Offshore Echoes magazine is also now out, and includes more on the story of the 390 theme, Kitty Black tribute and interview, Government files on Radio Caroline, LA band Mick Gallagher interview, Mi Amigo story and more.

Despite initial reservations, Alan got into the spirit of the 242 reunion by wearing a skull-and-crossbones bandanna.

Alan Black 1943 - 2007

Alan Black, who broadcast for Radio Scotland, Radio England and Britain Radio has died after a long illness. Alan, who was aboard the Comet in the Firth of Forth at the launch of Radio Scotland on New Year's Eve 1965, went on to join Radio England in '66 and stayed when the station evolved into Britain Radio. He also became a key member of the Radio One team and was a talented cartoonist and artist, and worked on the animation team for the Beatles animated feature 'Yellow Submarine'.

Alan attended a Radio Scotland mini-reunion held in London on Friday July 22nd 2005. He had felt unsure about the idea of a reunion with ex-242 shipmates, as he was afraid that after all those years, they would have nothing in common and the conversation might dry up after the first five minutes. Alan admitted that it was his wife Mariepierre, (known as Pierre), who had persuaded him to come. However, he need not have worried. Alan had such an enjoyable time with Comet pals Ben Healy, Richard Park, Bryan Vaughan and other friends, that he arranged to meet up again with Ben, Kenny Tosh and Chris and me, the following Sunday, and this time, brought Pierre with him. We shared a very enjoyable day, with Ben and Alan having their photos taken outside the former 242 offices in Dean Street.

Knowing how much Alan enjoyed that weekend, I am very glad that Pierre persuaded him to come and I am also grateful that Chris and I had the opportunity to meet such a very likeable person. I wish we had met again, but sadly, by the time of Grey Pierson's Radio England reunion in May 2006, Alan was too ill to attend. Our deepest sympathy to Pierre and their son.

Mary Payne

Svenn Martinsen: "This was very sad to hear. Please bring my condolences if possible to Mariepierre. I heard Alan many times on Radio Scotland (from January 1966), England, Britain and R1 and have fond memories of him."

Kenny Tosh: "It's very sad news about Alan, remembering the great weekend we had in London and the meal that Alan bought for us, hard to believe that was the final time we would meet up."

Independent online obituary by Spencer Leigh; 242 Reunion photos

Remembering the Mi Amigo
The poignant anniversary of the sinking of the Mi Amigo, March 20th 1980, brought back memories of life aboard the ship for Steve Young.

A sad day today! I have so many fond memories of life aboard the MV Mi Amigo, now they’re all somewhere on the bottom of the ocean, or in a scrap yard somewhere... too bad, so sad!

Radio Caroline was only one part of the equation, there was also the “rusting hulk” that was the ship itself. The creaking and clanging of chains, the slapping of waves against the hull, the music pouring out of the studio, the smell of diesel oil mixed with cigarette smoke and coffee. We had fun too, putting on shows for the Anoraks who came out on sightseeing vessels, chasing each other around the ship for no particular reason, fishing off the side on a sunny day, swimming in the ocean when the tides weren’t running or, simply leaning on the railing staring at the sunrise, or sunset (depending on what shift you were working).

Of course there were harder times too, when the storms blew in and we battened down the hatches and held on tight to the bulwarks, seasickness quickly became a thing of the past after the first bout. I still miss those days, and the sight of the Mi Amigo’s stern rising out of the morning mist when we arrived on the tender still conjures up strong feelings for me.

Thanks for keeping the memories alive Mary!

Oldies Project wants your opinion
The Oldies Project team would like the opinion of our site visitors about what should be broadcast in the Big L Fab Forty slot (Sundays 1100 to approximately 1400 and Wednesdays evenings, 1800 to approximately 2100) when the charts come to an end in August.
Following many requests, Oldies Project plans to re-run the Fab Forties from January 2008. One suggestion is that the gap between August and January might be filled by a weekly show featuring a selection of UK releases from between 1965 to 1967 which didn't make the Fab 40. But what would you like to hear? Send your views to Oldies Project.

New Page for Studio Six
Chris Almond is developing a fascinating new page devoted to Glasgow band Studio Six (including audio clips) in conjunction with their drummer Ron Milne. It appears that Chris having spotted our own feature about the band may lead to the members who have lost touch being reunited.

The Tony James Goldmine Radio Show

My name is Tony James and I enjoy your site and Oldies Project – boy, there is some rare stuff on that!

As well as my BBC Radio Show, I run a 'Retro Radio Show/Site' The Tony James Goldmine Radio Show, on the net. We're Talking The 60s,70s and 80s.
We have a regular 'Sounds from The Seas' feature and have featured Radio London on the show. I'm a big fan of the real Big L and have had many discussions with Tony Brandon about the station.

Carl's new music blog
Our friend Carl Dixon who probably knows more about Motown and its music than anyone in the universe and has created some wonderful sounds of his own, now has his own blog. He says:

The time has come to update my web presence with the creation of a ‘Blog’. A few weeks ago I did not have a clue about the concept of what one was never mind creating one! However, with my wife’s assistance and advice I have made a start, so please feel free to take a look at my journal.

I have made an effort to promote ‘The Soulful Tale of Two Cities’ project with some links to their site. Apparently ‘Blogs’ are the ‘in thing’ these days, lapsing some other forms of communication on the net. It has a definitive number of topic posters, but everybody can reply or comment, which makes this quite a nice tool for a controlled forum. Anyway, enjoy.

Radio London Reminds You
When you buy an item from the Radio London Store, PayPal have changed their regulations so that it is no longer necessary for you to already have one of their accounts in order to complete your transaction. You may pay by debit or credit card, and remain protected by the same secure PayPal system.

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