Site Updates
(Updated Aug 30th) Wijnand Brak's wonderful collection of artefacts from the Galaxy now runs to four pages Page three has a live-read script for Macfisheries, Page four has one for Wimbledon Stadium and Time and Tide magazine.
(New Aug 24th) Photo report from the Manx 'Pirates of the North Sea' exhibition
(Updated Jul 4th) Holidays with DJs – Casa Blanca DJs John Church and John Chadwick have added their photos and an audio clip.
(Jul 4th) SRE's Johnny Dark found by SRE shipmate
(July 11th) Interview with Big L's Film Star Tom Danaher (see story below)
(Updated Aug 8th) Many more items of Captain Bill Buninga's personal memorabilia, donated by his son Ron
(Updated Aug 30th) Hans Knot adds a new clip to Mini-memories about an unusual Big L Club

And now, the news....

Happy Birthday, Duncan!

Friends travelled to Kent from far and wide on August 24th, to wish Duncan Johnson a happy 70th birthday, including four old pals from the Galaxy. Sadly, some of Duncan's former shipmates were on the air that day and unable to join the party.

The Radio London crowd: back row, (l to r), Dave Hawkins, Mary Payne, Ed Stewpot, birthday boy Duncan, Chris Payne. Front row, Michel Philistin and Willy Walker, who came all the way from Florida.

Thanks to Jon Myer from the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame, for taking the picture. Many more photos are in our gallery on the Radio London site and Jon will be adding some to the PRHoF in his September update.

And talking of Radio London... which we were...

Mark Roman sent the following message on August 14th:

Hiya Mary and Chris, you two do some great work on the RL site, thanks for keeping it alive. Great to see the Buninga stuff, what a great man he was such a character.

Keep the faith. It has been a long time, and still there is interest.


Caroline North on YouTube
Daffy Don Allen's friend Kenny Tosh has uploaded some home movies and Daffy's theme tune to YouTube.
Also on YouTube is some very good footage of the station with an interview with Roger Gale and another with the speaker of the House of Keys, 17th August 1967.

News from Cruse
Gord Cruse (right) says:

"I'm sending some memorabilia to the Manx exhibition. Imagine being old enough to be in a museum!

All is well with me. I'm continuing to flog my book and sales are strong. I have had some national radio and TV interviews I also visited Mick Luvzit at his home in Abbotsford. I had a good visit and he appears to be recovering fairly well.

Thanks Mary and Chris...I certainly enjoy staying in touch with my English friends!"

In his book 'Juvie: Inside Canada's Youth Jails' Gord writes about his 26 years' experience of working in Victoria's Youth Custody Centre. Click on the book jacket photo for more information.

RAYMOND LEFEVRE 20/11/1929 – 27/06/2008

Orchestra leader Raymond Lefèvre has died in Seine-Port, France, aged 78.

Those who broadcast from the Caroline ships post-MOA were not over-enamored with many of the Major Minor tracks they were required to play, but the stations did assist the label in achieving one or two hits. Composed by the singer-songwriter Michel Polnareff, 'Soul Coaxing (Ame Caline - pronounced 'Am caleen)' is one of the best-remembered tunes from that era in the station's history and was frequently used as a talk-over bed for promotions.

The single reached #46 in the UK chart and the popularity of the track combined with heavy Caroline product promotion led to successful sales of albums Raymond Lefèvre Vol I (1967) and II (1968).

Raymond Lefèvre trained at the Conservatoire National de Musique in Paris after passing the entrance exam aged only 16. At various times he became involved in musical collaborations with friends and fellow conductor/arrangers Franck Pourcel and Paul Mauriat, and he played piano with their respective orchestras.

M Lefèvre led the Eurovision Song Contest orchestra on five occasions and frequently included orchestral arrangements of winning songs on his albums. He also composed a large number of French movie soundtracks.

"I am by nature a romantic composer," he said. "I make soft, sentimental music.

Full Pierre Perrone Independent obituary

YouTube: Raymond Lefèvre 'Soul Coaxing'; Michel Polnareff vocal version.

Radio Luxembourg Reunion
Alan Bailey, author of '208 It Was Great' the entertaining book about his engineering career at Radio Luxembourg from 1958 to 1975, has kindly sent a report and photos from the reunion which started on Friday 2nd August at 1408 – that's 208 to you!

"The weekend saw the once-great 208 Radio Luxembourg rise like a phoenix from the ashes, as former DJs and staff descended on The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Over the station's seventy-five year history, it has seen many personalities of the broadcasting world emerge as household names.

Friday night was the first night of celebrations as we met at the Italia Restaurant. It was literally a Who’s Who of radio and celebrations went well into the early hours.

The big night was Saturday 3rd when the DJs relived the station's past with many anecdotes (most un-broadcastable) and recordings of past years seeing the light of day again. One special moment was a mention of our sadly departed friends like Jack Jackson, Muriel Young, Don Moss, Stuart Henry, Dave Eastwood, Chris Cary (Spangles Muldoon), Alan 'Fluff' Freeman and Barry Alldis whose widow, the elegant Fern, made a very welcome guest.

Due to prior commitments, some unfortunately couldn’t make it and recorded greetings were sent by Pete Murray, Rob Jones, Neil (Dr) Fox, Jimmy Savile, Chris Moyles, Steve Wright and Noel Edmonds.

Come Sunday morning, it was time for emotional goodbyes. We saw our very happy radio family once again disintegrate, but made a strong vow that this wouldn’t be the last time. In our minds 208 Radio Luxembourg would live on."

Radio Luxembourg Reunion photo gallery.

Click here for Alan's website and details of how to obtain his book '208 It Was Great'.

Emperor Rosko talks to Dave Christian (left above) and David Jensen.
Photos copyright Alan Bailey.

South Herts Radio
South Herts Radio, run by Gary Drew, is available via various frequencies and online.

Gary says: "I have been involved in radio for many years and seeing a new potential in the radio market, I decided to set up a radio station for the communities of South Hertfordshire providing local programmes. I feel this part of the UK has been deprived of a specialist music station over the years and I will endeavor to make SHR different in terms of programming, offering an alternative music format with tributes to the pioneers of offshore pirate and free radio."

Emperor of the New Forest
Paul Freeman of Radio Essex now broadcasts on Forest FM92.3 and writes to tell us that the station has acquired a legendary broadcaster. He says:

"I thought you would like to know (if you don't already) that Emperor Rosko is back on British radio with his show called, 'LA Connections' on our station FOREST FM 92.3 down here in the East Dorset and the New Forest area. His show lasts two hours, noon until 1400, Saturdays. For those who do not live close enough to the transmitter the show can be heard at www.forestfm.co.uk He is just the same as he was forty years back and with the same music... it's JUST GREAT!

By the way, we also have 1970s Caroline DJ Roger Mathews on the station. (See the programme schedule for details.)

I'm still presenting two weekly shows on Forest. The 'Swinging 60s Show', Tuesdays 2200 and again on Sundays at noon, and 'The Fabulous 50s Radio Show' with my old mate Geoff Kemp, on Wednesdays at 2200 and again on Sundays at 1400. The Fifties show has gone down very well, with mail coming in from all over the world and it is now also podcasted, so you can listen any time, from KFMJ the Oldies station in Ketchikan Alaska (www.kfmj.com ). The station is said to play the best music on the planet!"

All the very best, Paul Peters (Paul Freeman Radio Essex)

Photo: Paul (left) with Geoff Kemp (courtesy of Paul). The Emperor Rosko Show appears though the auspices of Radio Six International.

Tom's tribute to Sydney Pollack
Tom Danaher is the co-founder of both Radio London and later Radio England/Britain Radio, who kitted-out both the USS Density and the Olga Patricia for broadcasting off the coast of Essex. At the 2008 premiere of the Swinging Radio England documentary, Tom was named by Grey Pierson as his late father Don's best friend. Although not one to blow his own trumpet, Tom has enjoyed an amazing life and as a skilled light aircraft pilot, has appeared in numerous films.

Tom's local Wichita Falls paper, the Times Record, asked him to recall his part in the shooting of the film 'Out of Africa' as a tribute to director Sydney Pollack, who died on May 26th. (Interview here). This has prompted us to add a much earlier interview to the Radio London site, which reveals even more of the station founder's star-strewn life.

Duncan's narrow escape
On July 7th, Big L's Duncan Johnson had a narrow escape from an accident on the A26. He writes:

"On a day of heavy showers and gusting winds and as I approached the roundabout (still some way off), I pressed hard on the brake - presumably locking them- as I turned 45 degrees and slid across the diesel residue at the entrance to a council depot. No one else was involved.

The car is a write-off, my right collar bone is cracked at the shoulder end and I have some colourful bruising. Apart from the rigours of typing with my left hand I am getting by with just the occasional sharp pain through the shoulder. I am getting a reasonable amount of sympathy mixed with the chastising 'keep your arm still!'  But it is difficult."

We are delighted to hear that Duncan suffered only a minor injury, and hope his arm will mend swiftly.

Come See About the Supremes
The Supremes' stage costumes are on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London till October 19th. 'The Story of The Supremes from the Mary Wilson Collection' comprises over fifty dresses, dating back to when they first performed as the Primettes. Set against the backdrop of the meteoric rise of Motown Records, and the turbulence of the American civil rights movement, the display will explore the inspirational role The Supremes played in changing racial perceptions and their influence on today’s performers.

In addition, original photographs, footage of television appearances and magazine spreads will examine The Supremes as black role models in the 1960s. The V & A will house the exhibition until October after which it will tour the UK throughout 2009. The museum has also produced a book and a CD as tie-ins.

Admission to 'The Story of The Supremes from the Mary Wilson Collection' is £5. The display is FREE to Under-18s. To book call 0870 906 3883 or visit www.vam.ac.uk (Thanks to Alan Hardy)

Carl's Motown Sessions on Youtube
Regular visitors to 'Happenings' will have seen stories of our friend Carl Dixon and his love of Motown and Philly music. In fact, so great is Carl's knowledge of Motown, that it was immediately recognised by label founder, Berry Gordy. Carl met him when working on Sky TV's Book Programme, where Berry was appearing to promote his biography 'To Be Loved'. When David Freeman asked him a question he couldn't answer, Berry immediately replied, "Ask Carl – he'll know!"

Over the years, Carl has forged many friendships with his recording heroes and in March 2008 he flew to Detroit with his wife Michelle, to achieve a lifetime ambition to record his own musical compositions with legends of the Motown stable.

All of Carl's friends are very proud of his achievements. Now you can view some clips of the sessions and hear his authentic recreations of the Motown Sound on Youtube

You can follow Carl's blog, read about those historic sessions (where synthesizers were banned!) and who played on them and listen to samples of Carl's music here and a great feature in Detroit News 'Brit's supreme dream comes true with the Motown sound' including a video clip of the recording sessions, is here.

Otway's 'failure tale' has reached 1998

John Otway is progressing well with his the second volume of his autobigraphy about being rock 'n' roll's greatest failure. He says:

"The tour with Wild Willy Barrett was an unbelievable success. We survived it and enjoyed it so much that we decided to do the first two weeks of Edinburgh Festival together too.

Whilst I try to finish the book (I'm now writing about 1998, and the preparations for doing the Royal Albert Hall.) there are a sprinkling of live shows before the Big Band tour in November."

Full list of tour dates and venues www.johnotway.com

A little-known fact that may not make the book: the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame's webmaster Jon Myer produced one of Otway's records!

Times Archive free for trial period
Mike Barraclough says:
The Times has put its entire archive (up to 1985) online and access is free for an introductory period, though you do need to register.

I put "Radio London" in the search engine for articles from 1964 to1968 and got 43 results

Putting "Radio Caroline" in the search engine for articles for the same period gave me 166 results.

'Music lovin' Pete Young' – on a par with Peel and Scott
Not everything heard on commercial radio is "crap repetitive bland programming". So says Sony Radio Academy Awards judge Paul Robinson in a blog written for the Broadcast Now website. (You are required to register to read the features)

Paul maintains that two of the best DJ-based shows on UK radio can be enjoyed every weekend. Peter Young's Soulful Saturday has now departed from Smooth Radio 102.2 and become a Soulful Sunday on Solar Radio between 1400 to 1600. Solar is on Sky Digital 0129 and on line at www.solarradio.com. David 'Ramjam' Rodigan's Reggae programme is 2300 on Kiss 100, Sundays.

Says Paul, "[Rodigan's] authoritative, passionate DJ style on Kiss defines what a music-loving DJ should sound like... Peter is also a complete music fan – you know from every DJ link that he loves soul music and he exudes knowledge and enthusiasm."

"When you think of music-loving DJs, the names that first come to mind are John Peel or Roger Scott, but David Rodigan and Peter Young are in the same class, and rather happily, both very much alive."

PY also commands Homourable Mention in a recent Radio Times. In the 'Face Behind the Voice' column, James Cannon names PYas both the first voice he recalled hearing on radio and as one of his biggest broadcasting influences.

Keith Ashton
1944 — 2008

Keith Ashton, who is believed to have broadcast from three shipborne stations – Radio Hauraki, Voice of Peace and Radio Caroline, died suddenly on June 21st 2008. Keith's long media career commenced in 1953 in his native Australia, where he retired to Fairfield, near Sydney in 2007, at the age of 63.
A full obituary is here. (NB some of the chronology is askew. London's Capital Radio did not exist in 'the swinging Sixties' - it went on air in 1973. Also, although Keith is known to have produced some commercials for Caroline during the Seventies, it is not established that he broadcast on the station.)
(thanks to John Preston in Brisbane)

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