November 2002
(September/October is here...)

"Does Anyone Actually Like Jingles?"
The Radio Times 23rd to 29th November reveals that music recognition company Shazam conducted a poll of radio listeners, over half of whom cited jingles as the most irritating thing on the airwaves. We bet none of the people polled have ever heard a jingle made by Kenny Everett – maybe not even one made by PAMS!

"Does anyone actually like jingles?" wonders RT. They should ask the Radio London website's 66,000-odd enthusiastic visitors. The item most frequently sought in our Search Engine is, of course, JINGLES.
PY – The Big Dee Jay

PY has adopted a new 'opening theme' for his BBC LDN show – a witty ditty about being a famous DJ. It begins, "I'm a disc jockey, I'm ever so cocky..." PY tells us:

The record that I've decided to adopt as a 'theme' for the new show, mainly because it seems so appropriate, is Paddy Roberts and 'The Big Dee Jay'. From a 1959 10" album on Decca, called 'Strictly For Grown Ups' (DECCA LF 1322).

My copy, which was given to me some years ago, is in extremely poor condition, but that almost adds to it in this context! The pops and crackles seem to convey the right message somehow.

Paddy Roberts has been completely forgotten by just about everybody. A very clever lyricist, with a nice line in observation, which in a lot of cases is still relevant. But it seems that absolutely nothing of his is available on CD.

On the 'online' version of my show, the recording seems to kick in at about 3.03, so Paddy isn't heard by people who listen that way.

'Fab' Alan Field supplied the following addition info:

Despite his Noel Coward-ly (?!) clipped vowels, Paddy Roberts was in fact South African by birth. His main claim to fame in the pop world seems to consist of writing the lyrics for 'Lay Down Your Arms', 'Softly Softly', and 'Pickin' A Chicken'.

Webmasters' notes:
That's pretty good going – three Top Ten hits from the mid-Fifties – two of them Number Ones! Early in 1955, 'Softly Softly' gave Ruby Murray her only #1, and the following year, Paddy Roberts transported Anne Shelton to the top spot for her only #1, 'Lay Down Your Arms'. 'Pickin' A Chicken' peaked at #9 for Eve Boswell in 1955, then bounced back into the Top Twenty twice more in 1956.

Fab Quaranta Del Campo

Alan Field again:
I couldn't resist logging onto the Italian Google website and searching for a Field's Fab Forty (Fab Quaranta Del Campo). The translations of the song titles and artists are priceless.

Snappy little ditty from the Stones at #1. 'Avete visto La Vostra Madre, Bambino, Levantesi in piedi Nell'Ombra? (Have You Seen Your Mother...)'

Poor old Dusty has become 'Polverosa' Springfield. And what could Microphono Lennox have ever become if not a DJ?

Fab Alan (el Campo)

Meanwhile the Webmasters (now residing in 'rifornisce Mandeville') couldn't resist sussing out the German Google translations of the 'Fab Vierzig des Feldes' for Oct 9th 1966. The Stones' #1 becomes 'Haben Sie Ihre Mutter, Das Baby Gesehen Und Gestanden Im Schatten?' Dusty is now 'Staubiges' Springfield and Mikrophon Lennox obviously IS working in the right business. And we're willing to bet that Schwarzes Cilla never knew she had a 'grosses L' Fab Forty hit with with 'Ein Dummkopf Sind Ich'.

Otnews, 'Ot off the Bunsen Burner

Have things gone quiet on the Otscene following The Hit? Certainly not! The long-awaited 'Greatest Hits' album has been released (Otway: "I've waited twenty-five years for that extra S") and our Two-Hit Wonder continues to star on TV and radio. Here's a round-up of six recent news items:

Hit Campaigner Extraordinaire, Patsy Andrews, says:
"I hear that Otway now has his own 'slot' in the alphabetical CD runs in the music shops, so that is good news, and about time too :-)"

On Nov 15th, Otway assisted Johnnie Walker with his Children in Need programme, reading pledges from people wanting to hear 'Bunsen Burner', and receiving the accolade of being described as a Sex God by Sally Traffic!

Jane Darley from the Otway chat group, reports on an item she spotted in 'Q' magazine:

"In December's Q magazine, page 36, there's an article entitled 'What's Wrong with the Top 40'. There's a photo of Otway (a small one but it's there). The gist of the article is that the charts are now a more effective measure of marketing techniques than the state of UK music. They add that this is borne out by Otway's Top 10 success with 'Bunsen Burner', "Despite being on a cash-strapped independent label Otway canvassed support from his small (??) but Internet-savvy fanbase and scored an unlikely hit."

They got the idea anyway. An unlikely hit? They should just come right out and admit that Otway is a genius!"

Andy Payne reported:

"Otway has officially become the only guest to upgrade himself from mystery guest to full panellist in the history of 'Never Mind the Buzzcocks'. He films it on December 4th and it will be broadcast about a week later."

Keith King
watched a film from 1981 on the Sky Movie Channel called 'URGH! A Music War', which featured Otway performing his famous 'Cheryl's Going Home'. Lesser bands co-starring include The Police, Echo and the Bunnymen and OMD.

Otway has joined the line-up of stars promoting DAB, in adverts described as "interesting, engaging and cool, just like DAB Digital Radios" The campaign is airing on commercial radio throughout the UK, and Aylesbury's hero features alongside Paul Young, Bob Geldof, Atomic Kitten and (to quote Johnnie Walker's Top Twenty run-down at Otway's Palladium gig), a host of "People you've never heard of."

Many thanks to Dave Watson, who sent the above post-Palladium photo accompanied by the brilliant caption:

Despite his look of innocence, Mary was adamant Otway had been chewing in class. "Spit it out boy!"


The Google Italian translation of 'Cheryl's Goin' Home' is Goin Del Cheryl 'Domestico; in German it comes out as Goin Cheryls' Haupt

The Wrong Legendary Pirate
Alan Hardy shares some interesting site info:

Bearing in mind that you've had a few people asking about the availability of Radio Caroline North's closing theme 'Round Midnight', you might like to let your website readers know that the Jimmy McGriff CD containing the track is being sold dirt cheap at the moment. The Collectables (*see warning note below on purchasing) label website (the label that reissued the CD in the States) is having a 'Clearout Sale' for a limited period and the CD, 'I've Got A Women' is being sold at an amazing $4.98 (around 3.50!). All the Jimmy McGriff CDs from that period are available at the same low price and the sale includes hundreds of other fascinating titles at silly prices.

The 'Clearout Sales' icon is about two-thirds of the way down the site's home page. *The only problem for anyone outside the USA is that it isn't possible to buy directly via the Internet. Customers must ring Collectables to place an order.

Collectables almost got the info about 'Round Midnight' right. It says: "Also in the 60s, Jimmy's version of Thelonious Monk's 'Round Midnight' became the nightly closing down theme for the legendary UK pirate ship, Radio London."

Alan also discovered Real Names, a site where the real monikers of showbiz stars past and present are listed. There are links from it to radio stations, but these are untested.

Finally, Alan alerted us to The Covers Project which aims to list (and verify) every recording of a particular song and link them in 'chains'. He feels it's a good idea, but thinks it would work better if instead of concentrating on musical chains, they simply listed the songs and all cover versions individually or alphabetically.

The true cost of staging an RSL revealed in RNI Newsletter 8
In his editorial in the RNI Fanclub Newsletter Issue 8, Colin Lamb reveals why it became impossible to stage an RSL in 2002. The first problem, (and one that had already left Big L 2001 in financial difficulties) was disinterest from potential advertisers. The second equally serious drawback was the lack of a suitable venue; the pier at Clacton had been considered (in the tradition of the two previous Radio London RSLs). Unfortunately one of two companies which had failed to pay its advertising bill for RNI 2001, happened to be the company responsible for running Clacton Pier.

Other features in the RNI mag include original programme schedules from 1970 and a 'league table' of hours served by DJs who participated in RNI 2000. The poll is topped by Paul Graham, who clocked-up 87 hours on the air. Sixth, with 31 hours, came Tony Currie, and it just so happens that this week we discovered some great photos of Tony in a somewhat different broadcasting situation from RNI.

...And talking of DJs who love partcipating in offshore RSLs...
Bob le Roi opens his scrapbook to revisit the Radio London 30th Anniversary 'Summer of Love' broadcast 1997, where he was one of the team of broadcasters. It's interesting to see some memories of the week when a spell of bad weather forced the flat-bottomed, cargoeless and unstable Yeoman Rose up the creek! (Read, or download Mary's and other accounts of Big L '97 here.)

Making Waves Feature now includes Radio London link
Mike Terry kindly drew our attention to a feature on the BBC website about Yorkshire's Radio 270 and offshore radio in general. It's an interesting item, which ties in with the local news programme Inside Out, concerning the forthcoming feature film, Making Waves, written by Paul Burnett.
Beverley Hancock from the Inside Out team has apologised for the previous omission of the Radio London site from the feature's Links list and has now very kindly included us. Thank you, Beverley.

Cardboard Shoes and Tea Cosy to follow Chris and Mary into the Top Ten?
This Christmas could find party people strutting their funky stuff to the sounds of ex-Radio London DJs. Two new CD releases have Keith Skues's sampled voice enhancing a dance track called Skuesville, and Bessie B 'rapping' on Oh Tony Blackburn.

The Cardboard Shoes/Dylan Dance Mix...

The Skuesville CD, produced by Kevin Dean, contains five tracks, three of which sample typical Skuesisms familiar to listeners since the day the Ark struck dry land – or was that the Mi Amigo? (Webmasters' note to Kevin: we were disappointed at the exclusion of the legendary 'Bardoe gidogo" – and we've no idea if that's correctly spelt, or even what it means!) What else would the backing music be except Cardboard's equally-long-lived theme tune, 'Mr Tambourine Man'?

Skuesisms mixed with dance music written by Bob Dylan? Cardboard fans will find Skuesville very funny, while it might even be considered trendy by dance aficionados! (It has to be assumed that this is 'dance' music as opposed to "garage music, shed music or summerhouse music" to paraphrase Keith's comment featured on the recording.) But what will Mr Dylan make of 'Mr Tambourine Man on Ecstasy'?

The Skuesville CD cleverly appeals to all age groups. Those who hate dance music, but have searched for years for a copy of the Cardboard Shoes theme tune by the Golden Gates Strings, need search no more, for an unadulterated stereo version is included.

The track with the potential to become a novelty best-seller, is a hilarious spoof of Wink Martindale's unforgettable (and believe us, we've tried) international hit, 'Deck of Cards', which Hans Knot tells us was successful in Holland for Gerard de Vries. Renamed 'Deck of Records', Keith and Kevin's "tongue 'n' cheek" track is a version concerning the 'true' tale of a trainee radio announcer and his trusty 'rekkerd'.

Heather Goddard, Keith's Production Assistant at BBC Eastern Counties, reads a poem on the 'Skuesvibe' track.

Left: Heather and Kevin with 'Mr Tambourine Man on Ecstasy' (Publicity photos: Michael Powell, scanned by Hans Knot)

Skuesville costs 4.99, UK, 6.99 overseas, including packing and postage from: KDM Productions, 25 Elisabeth Close. Lowestoft, Suffolk, England, NR232 2RE. Tel: 01502 583664. e-mail:

... and Tony RAPburn?

Oh Tony Blackburn by Flint's Minx has The Tea Cosy yakking – or should that be rapping? – over a dance backing, about enjoying a nice cup of his favourite beverage. The single is available from the Simply Shopping Channel and a clip can be heard here, but unfortunately, it is not long enough to discern whether or not the recently-unmasked Arnold (see Sept/Oct Happenings) is a co-star.

ITV and BBC feature Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio RSL
SMHR ran a fund-raising RSL in Aylesbury – and you'll still find them on 1575 am

Good publicity for Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio! An item about John Otway's appearance at the SMHR trailer in Aylesbury Market Square on Nov 2nd, was featured on Central News the same evening, (with a familiar Otway co-star seen dancing under an umbrella). (Photos here) On Sunday 3rd, a BBC news team spent some time filming at the SMHR studios and around the hospital wards, and a feature appeared on the Monday evening news.

Between November 7th and 10th, the station played every Number One single from 1952 to the present.

The SMHR phone number is: 01296 331575.
"As a navigation aid to shipping, we give Tom Danaher's exact position!"

Alan Racheter wrote recently:
"Radio London gave the 'exact' position of the Galaxy as 51deg 47.9"N, 01deg 20.55"E. That approximates to TM 306 161 on the National Grid (there's a couple of sixes even in that number)."

A few days later, we heard that Radio London backer Tom Danaher has just had his fourth change of address. That would not be unusual, except that Tom has lived in the same place, above the hanger in his small Texas airport, for thirty-three years! Yes of course, it's the US Snail that's decided he ought to 'move'. Says Tom:

"I have the same mailbox, sitting on the same post at the same latitude and longitude, but the post office, every so often, seems to think it's fun to play a joke on ole' Tom an' change the designation of his mailbox."

Publication for People at the Coalface of Radio

In the November issue of online newsletter, The Radio Wave (Issue #11) editor Ian MacRae says:

"I get the feeling there is a definite need for a publication such as this especially for people at the coalface of radio... the on-air people and program and music directors.

What I am getting is a sense of anger and frustration with certain aspects of the industry; especially management and ownership. And I'm getting this response from countries around the world. Everywhere from the Philippines to Ireland to the US, the UK, Australia, Italy, New Zealand and many other places where commercial radio is established.

Is the business of radio being taken out of the hands of the creatives and entertainers and into the hands of the bean counters? Don't all shout at once!"


The Hall in the Fall

Jonathan has written about his November update to the The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame

"I have added five more audio clips – bringing the total to over 200 recordings. There are more photos, more links and yet another disc-jockey has been added to the roll of honour. There are also two new pages of offshore radio programme schedules. In the news: It's "No to Nova-252", information about a new pirate radio movie and hot news about Caroline's Graham Spider Webb's return to UK radio."

Another Satisfied Customer

From Peter Masters:

Just found your site! FANTASTIC!

It has brought back so many memories. I was an avid Big L listener and some Caroline, Britain Radio and Radio England (Boss Jocks). I even went to Harwich to see the boats and also visited Curzon Street headquarters and met TW. Also went to Caroline House and met Rosko.

At last, a decent recording of BIG LIL - never knew it was called the Sonowaltz. Once again thanks so much for all your hard work on the site – you have given a lot of pleasure to a lot of anoraks. BIG L will never die.

Regards, Peter

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