April/May/June 2009
Page 2 here

Two pages for
Jan/Feb/March are here
The archived Happenings index is here...


Site Updates
(New 04/04) Photo report from Roger Day's 45th Anniversary Reunion
A collection of lovely 10th birthday greetings
Eight page photo gallery telling the story of Pirate BBC Essex 2009. New links added to other galleries.

And now, the news....

Pictured above, is the new device that Chris has had to construct especially so that Mary can monitor the radio, internet, TV and all other media simultaneously for offshore radio references.

Hi-Tech Headgear

So much has been happening recently with the run-up to the general release of 'The Boat That Rocked', the Pirate BBC Essex broadcast (we're still recovering from that) and of course the site's tenth birthday, that news has been coming in constantly. It's impossible to keep up with it all, but we're doing our best.

Only one month in at the end of April, we had to split What's Happening for April/May/June into two pages. To avoid missing any updates, readers should scroll right down the page to the bottom and watch out for new updates.

Media news up to Easter (mostly concerning the film) is now on Page 2, with the latest stories at the top. Earlier stories have been moved to What's Happening for January/February/March.

News from 'The YTS Pirate'
Paul Freeman, nicknamed 'the YTS Pirate' by Dave Cash, writes:

Thank you so much for your emails over the past few weeks, I do so enjoy keeping in touch with what is going on.

I have had a few emails from listeners to my show on Pirate BBC Essex. One says that it was her dad who took me out to Radio Essex in November 1965!

I'm praying hard that we will all be back in Harwich again one day. Those four days were some of the very best in my life... I loved every single moment!

Love to you both, Paul

Photo: John Sales

Hoods up, chart fans!
Alan Hardy reports that should anyone want to refer to back editions of Billboard magazine, a vast number are now available online. This news arrived after I had received the following from Alan Milewczyk:

I've been a studier of charts for many years now and no more so than during the offshore radio era.

From 64-68, Caroline played the American chart countdown on Sundays, actively using the Cashbox charts. For some reason I always thought that they used Billboard's Charts as they were often announced as the Hot 100. From the late 50s onwards the Billboard chart was known as the Hot 100, whereas the Cashbox chart was simply the Cashbox Top 100. It wasn't until I was recently asked to date a chart clip that I realised that it was indeed Cashbox that was used by Caroline - so the term "Hot 100" was used erroneously in that context.

The Billboard charts are available in various volumes through Joel Whitburn's excellent volumes - I have 1955-59, the Sixties and the Seventies. Each of these has the week by week rundown of the chart, photocopied from the original and they make for fascinating reading for music anoraks like me! I also have the Top R&B Singles 1942-2004. They're all pretty hefty volumes that were sent by sea mail when I bought them a few years ago. They are in the process of being transferred to PDF format on DVD-ROM on this site.

The Cashbox Singles charts have been assembled at cashboxmagazine.com/archives.htm. If you click on, say the 60s banner and then pick a year, you will be presented with a page listing, week by week, of the number one record in the States that particular week. If you click on the date, that week's Cashbox Top 100 loads up. Although there were many similarities between the Billboard and Cashbox charts there were also subtle differences, in much the same way as we had in the UK with the charts from Melody Maker, NME, Record Mirror, and Disc and Music Echo at one stage. Nevertheless for someone interested in American charts, it's a fascinating site.

Dutch Charts are also available online - the Radio Veronica charts for 1965-1989 in summary form, and the Dutch RNI Charts weekly from 1971 to 1974. The site also contains the Smashplays/Powerplays of both stations.

I have most of the charts for the 1970 incarnation of RNI and plan to put them online shortly. Obviously I don't want to duplicate effort if it is already online, so perhaps your readers can advise me.

I would also be interested in hearing about Continental charts online, especially for France, Italy and Germany - my interest is up to 1980, but not beyond that date. Also I am aware that Caroline in the post-1974 era had various Top 500 charts, etc. For completeness, I would be interested either in that information or being pointed to the appropriate links.

After reading the above, Michel Bands wrote from France:

Thank you very, VERY, VERY, MUCH for the link to Billboard Magazine! Much more than the charts, the whole mag – invaluable reading.

Michel has kindly added several new chart links to our collection

This is a link to all sorts of charts, radio and magazines, from the Sixties onwards. Click on 'Hitlijsten' to list them all.

This is also a website dedicated to all sorts of charts. Click on 'Classifiche' for the Top Annual, Monthly and other charts. For weekly charts choose: 'Top Settimanali Single' (from 1959 onwards)

Bi-weekly Charts until 1977

As far as I'm concerned, the only list I'm still missing are the Melody Maker 60s LP charts.

Friars is Fab at Forty
Story moved to Sixties folder

Skues Uncovered
'Skues Uncovered: The Story of Cardboard Shoes – Keith Skues', is a 1-hour documentary looking at Skuesy's fifty-year radio career, made for BBC Norfolk.

The station website has a long article by David Clayton about Keith, which among other things talks about the 2006 'Inside Out' broadcast in which Cardboard and Bessie Blackburn visited the Ross Revenge. You can listen to the documentary, plus see an eight-minute video of Keith at Skues Towers talking about his record collection as well as why he got sacked from BFBS and the start of his time on Radio Caroline.

BBC Norfolk also has 10 minutes of audio featuring Andy Archer, Keith Skues and Tom Edwards talking about their lives on Radio Caroline, Radio One and Pirate BBC Essex to BBC Radio Norfolk's Nick Conrad. (Thanks to Mike Barraclough)

Tom's a star in the Heckington Co-op!
Tom Edwards writes:

I still have flashbacks about Easter!* Have you recovered? I thought it was the best of the broadcasts and being moored on Ha'Penny Pier gave it more clout. You and all those faithful folk who came to meet us, or sent messages... well, I'm still humbled by it all. Lotsa folk here in the village saw your piece in Saga Mag, Mary. Folk over that certain age stop me in Heckington Co Op, or the street, saying 'Hello Mother!' Fame at last eh?

I went home to Norwich for a fast 24 hours this week. David Clayton, the Radio Norfolk boss, is a good friend of many, many years and a great pirate radio fan too. If you recall, he went out to the LV18 during the first Pirate BBC Essex in 2004.

David's a lovely, smashing guy and a good broadcaster too. He invited me to do an 'in depth' chat with him, on the lines of the programme he did with Keith Skues, so we recorded hours of stuff last Tuesday afternoon which he has to whittle down to an hour or so. When I left him he was still pondering what to do with it all.

Also I did a stint on Norfolk's morning show with Graham Barnard (another good friend) and Karen Buchanan. We 'clicked' immediately and it was fun, fun, fun!

Both the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News paid me a visit at The Forum in Norwich. As I'm a local lad, they wanted to chat and take pics.

Photo: John Sales. Norwich Evening News feature: Why I'm Glad to be Alive

* So do we! – Mary and Chris

Radio Nord Reunion (updated 18/05)
"On May 8th a number of former staff members of Swedish offshore station Radio Nord joined a number of well-known Swedish performers like Lill-Babs, Ann-Louise Hansson, Little Gerhard and others on stage in the De Geer Concert Hall in Norrköping for an evening of radio nostalgia." Full story here

Mike Barraclough discovered: "A 3.50" Swedish TV report about the Radio Nord reunion, including some archive footage."

'The Boat That Rocked' international round-up

Oz Box Office Figures
We asked some of our ex-pirate friends living Down Under how the film had fared there. John Kerr replied, "Three weeks after its release in Australia it had taken $4.6 million [£2.8million] and was ranked No 6 at the box office. Not a terrific result, but better than 'Duplicity' with Julia Roberts, for instance."

Meanwhile Graham Webb discovered a site called Boxoffice Mojo that compares box office receipts from around the world.

Graham kindly sent a clip of himself and Norm St John discussing the film, which aired on several stations including his own Sunshine FM.

Fab Alan Field noticed a promotional poster for the film's release in France (May 8th) under the rather odd title, 'Good Morning England' – perhaps a cinematic nod to 'Good Morning Vietnam', as both movies embrace the theme of sharing great music via a maverick style of broadcasting.

Moscow News Weekly (May 15th) chose the 'The Boat That Rocked' as its Film of the Week.

Special Effects
Mike Baraclough spotted an interesting US feature about the creation of the film's special effects, but points out that the author has misplaced the Sixties stations by claiming the action "centers on the lives and adventures of a band of DJs that captivate 1960s Britain, playing the music that defines a generation from their pirate radio station based on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean."

We do concede, however, that many North Sea DJs adopted 'mid-Atlantic' accents.

Photo courtesy of David Robinson (see next story)

Easter disappointment
'The Boat That Rocked' is not showing in Bratislava, where David Robinson teaches English. David was thwarted in his attempts to make a trip to Harwich while visiting his parents in Norwich over Easter. David writes:

I did make it to Norwich, but my holiday was not quite what I planned.

The flight over from Bratislava was delayed by an incredible 12 hours 40 mins resulting in an all-night stay in Bratislava airport. Not good. Because of this, I had to abandon a trip to Essex and head straight to Norfolk. I did listen to Mike Ahearn in the  kitchen – just got it on medium wave and also in the car. Super! (Also Steve Scruton on the Sunday and on my return to Luton.)

The good news is, I did manage to get to London. My friend David Andrews at Capital - Gold had got me a VIP pass in to the studio on Sunday afternoon.

My only disappointment was not making Harwich. I would love to have met everyone. Steve Scruton is an old Hospital Radio Chelmsford chairman. So am I! Chris Woodwood, the BBC Essex engineer, I think I recruited to HRC. He used to T.O. my news show there about 18 years ago.

Your photos are a positive delight!

At least while David was in Leicester Square, he was able to take a photo of the Odeon used in the item above.

Hans Honoured in Groningen

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has honoured our friend Hans Knot as a Knight of the Order of Oranje Nassau, as part of her Offical Birthday celebration. The Mayor of Groningen officiated at the award ceremony, which honoured Hans's forty years as a writer about radio, thirty as the final editor of Freewave Media Magazine, advisor to the Foundation for Media Communication and thirty-three years' service at Groningen University. The knighthood also recognised Hans's charity work in reading news bulletins for the visually handicapped.

Hans says, "So, all the research and writing about offshore radio is officially honoured by the Queen!"

Many congratulations to Hans on this well-deserved award for his years of hard work, which of course includes the renowned International Newsletter (below). His wife Jana (who also works at the University) and all his family will be very proud of him, as will everyone in the radio community.

Rene van den Abeelen in the Netherlands has sent links to his two websites:

www.renevandenabeelen.net has a fascinating chapter about Radio Veronica, compleet with unique selfmade photos, newspaper clippings etcetera and even Super 8 movies I shot in the seventies!

www.radioships.com offers tin miniatures of legendary radioships. So far Veronica's Norderney and Caroline's mv Mi Amigo are available and I'm working at number three.

Piratical CD releases tie in with premiere of 'The Boat That Rocked'

Click on the sleeve photos for full info and to pre-order.

The Boat That Rocked soundtrack

The 2-CD, 35-cut film soundtrack was released on March 30th. (Track listings here.) Sadly, although the film is supposedly set in 1966, many of the tracks on it are not from that year and some are from a totally pirateless era. 'Elenore' by the Turtles, for instance, was released in October 68 and 'Crimson and Clover' in December of that same post-Caroline year. How 'Let's Dance', David Bowie's 1983 success, is relevant to 1966, is anyone's guess. And then there's a track by Duffy. Yes, honestly. Duffy. 1966? To quote TW, "You must be joking"! (See Mary's film review.)

The DVD of the film is available from Septemeber 7th.

101 Pirate Hits

On April 6th, EMI issued '101 Pirate Hits' on 4 CDs. Twelve of these, including the aforementioned 'Elenore' and 'Crimson and Clover', are also to be found on the film soundtrack. Track listings here.

Rockin With the Pirates: Big Hits, Classic Tracks and Lost Gems

Also released on the same date by EMI is Rockin With the Pirates: Big Hits, Classic Tracks and Lost Gems. This three-CD, 75-track set would seem by far the best pick of the three. You will find 'I've Been a Bad Bad Boy' and Jeff Beck's version of 'Hi Ho Silver Lining' yet again. However, there are many genuine Fab Forty gems like 'Down In Mexico' - The Boston Crabs, 'It's Too Late' - Bobby Goldsboro, 'I See The Light' - Simon Dupree & The Big Sound and the Bo Street Runners' 'Baby Never Say Goodbye'. There's even TW's theme tune, 'Waltzing Matilda' by Frank Ifield. The CD sleeve lists the tracks as from 1965, 66 and 67. It does, however, feature a later photo of Kenny Everett from the Radio One annual... Track listings here.

NB: The above CDs are reviewed by track content only. Radio London has not received preview copies and therefore has been unable to listen to any of them.
Click on the sleeve photos for full info and to pre-order.

(Thanks to Jon Myer and Bernard Smith)

News continues on Page 2....

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