Email Mary with your news and views:
October 2005
September 2005 is here... The archived Happenings index is here...

(updated Sept 3rd) Suddenly, everyone can spell B-U-L-O-V-A!
(Sept 24th) One of Radio Scotland's '242 Showbeat Monthly' cover stars is in the Big L Fab 40
(Sept 24th) Wim van Genderen has added a supplement of six new climbers to the Fab 40 for 5/09/65

(New Sept 11th) John Tillett and Carol Offord tell their wonderful story of winning Dave Clark's 'Million Pound' drum kit, in a 1966 Big L competition.

John's son Gary, who kindly forwarded the story and photos says:

The finished feature looks fantastic. Thank you for taking the time and effort to include the story. I know it's brought back some great memories for Dad and Carol and it's come at a time when I'm playing the drums more in a couple of bands and following in his footsteps!

Regards, Gary
(Updated Sept 24th) Forty years ago this month, Pete Brady had a 'ripping' experience at the Wimbledon Palais! More press cuttings tell the story of the Melody Maker Beat Contest

And now, the news....
For Hams and Lovers of Big Masts
If you fall into either of the above categories, you'll enjoy a musical ode to radio hams, which is accompanied by an amazing video promo of people hanging on to huge masts!

Dave Francis

September 30th 2005

(updated Oct 8th) Dave's close friend Sietse Brouwer wrote: "My heart is so sad to have to inform you that Dave Francis passed away at 3am this morning."

Alan Beech writes:
Like many of his generation offshore radio was part of Dave's youth, and Caroline was to become the soundtrack of his life. With the resurrection of Big L in 1997 and the continuing Caroline RSLs his interest was rekindled In the mid/late 90's, and he quickly became involved behind the scenes with helping out on the Ross Revenge and for a while co-ordinated the volunteer restoration crews. Taking early retirement from his career with Thames Water around this time and with a van at his disposal, he found a role in carrying anything and everything around. Fridges, cookers, washing machines, beds, mattresses, pumps, motors, bits of generators, light fittings, water barrels, even visiting DJs. You name it, at some time Dave transported it in the back of his van, to or from the Ross Revenge. An amusing photograph in a Caroline "newsbeat" magazine at the time showed the back of his van carrying a brand new bed, complete with two of Caroline's Dutch colleagues on top of it, who he was transporting back to the ferry terminal one Sunday afternoon!

When not helping on the ship, Dave could often be found in the Maidstone studios in those early days of Caroline's satellite service. He quickly settled in to be one of the regular team of helpers on the Tuesday night 60s and 70s request show, and was well known to many of the phone callers of the time. He later went to help out at Caroline's office in Highgate and became a well-respected figure within the organisation.

It was during the heady summer of 1999, with the Ross Revenge moored on Southend Pier that Dave met Jenni Baynton, and they immediately became friends. With both being unattached with grown families, their friendship blossomed.

Dave's life was shattered in 2000 when, after a short and sudden illness, Jenni passed away. A while later, his own mother passed away and he inherited her house, which was in need of some modernisation. Taking a break from Caroline work, he spent over a year working on the house but never forgot his friends in offshore radio. He stayed in regular touch with many, especially the Caroline family in Holland, a country for which he had a great affection. For the past couple of years he had been acting as the UK agent for Radio Waddenzee and the new Radio Seagull, an activity on which he was engaged at the time of his heart attack on 9th of September.

Although in hospital within minutes of the event, and in the operating theatre within hours, there were complications following surgery. Things were starting to look up for a while, he never awoke, and slipped into a coma. Following close to two weeks of further tests and scans, all of which pointed to a worsening situation, Dave's son and two daughters took the decision to switch off the life support machine and he faded from this earth in the early hours of Friday 30th September 2005.

(Photo courtesy Martin van der Ven. Alan has added a page of photos of Dave to his website.)


USS Density Shipmates' Reunion

The 2005 USS Density Reunion for shipmates and their families took place September 22nd to 24th in Nashville, Tennessee. Sadly, some Density family members were unable to attend this time, including reunion founders Marie and La Verne Bailey, their daughter Tanya and son-in-law R.V. Chris and Mary Payne and Ron Buninga were also absent.

Front row l - r Frank Gazafy, Sam Orr; Back row l - r Stacey Rankin, Charles Stock, Calvin Bryant, Bill Brandstetter, Russ Dupuis (Click on the photo to view a larger version)

An eighth crew member, Eugene Barbo, had left before the picture was taken.

(Below) The Density gang goes out to dinner.

Many thanks to Mary and Lanny Simmons and Russ and Char Angelbrandt, for sending a lovely collection of photos.

Read our stories of USS Density reunions in 2001 and 2003, and the return of the ship's bell, here.

Another John Remembered

October 9th 2005 would have been John Lennon's 65th birthday. John's first wife Cynthia's biography of her late husband, called simply 'John', has just been published by Hodder & Stoughton to mark the occasion. Their son Julian has written the introduction.

Click on the jacket photo for ordering info and then read extracts where Cynthia tells of partying at the Ad Lib club with the Who and the Stones, and how she cooked an ill-fated dinner for Peter Cook and his wife.

December marks 25 years since John's assassination in New York. BBC Radio 4 is hosting a tribute week, which includes interviews with the founder of Rolling Stone magazine, never before broadcast in the UK. Other programmes during the tribute week will be a series about John's songs and a play based on a real-life encounter.

BBC radio is available via the internet.

Wirral the Squirrel's Tale

Temporarily departing from composing music, Sir Paul McCartney has written a children's book, 'High in the Clouds', with co-author Philip Ardagh, illustrated by Geoff Dunbar and published October 3rd, by Faber and Faber.

The hero is Wirral the Squirrel, whose woodland is destroyed by developers, plunging him into the nightmare world of Megatropolis. Wirral sets out on a quest with other animals, to find the mythical paradise of Animalia.

Click on the jacket photo for ordering info and then read Philip Ardagh's account of his first meeting with his hero Sir Paul at Abbey Road studios, and their subsequent collaboration on the story.

Ronan Rules the Waves on Radio Marina

Radio Six, run by our good friend in Scotland, Tony Currie, is proud to present Pirate Pops, "A new comedy-music-soap set on board a pirate radio ship in the mid-1970s". As the Studio Six website explains, the star of the show is Ronan:

Long-term listeners will recall that Ronan appeared (as if by magic) in August 1967 to host a new show called Pirate Pops which took over when the pirates were banished by the Marine Broadcasting Offences Act. Now he's back. On a ship called the Diamond and a station called Radio Marina. Is he for real? Is the ship? The station? Well, no, of course they're not. But you can hear him every week on Saturday nights at 23:00GMT on 88.2 and the web, Friday nights at 16:00GMT on Pirate Radio 102.4FM in Finland and the web, and you can join him at 11:00GMT on Sunday October 16th.

Pirate Pops is written and performed by the multi-talented Mr Currie (shown left, pursuing the ancient Glaswegian custom of Flower Child-Flinging), and very good it is too!

Those who have not yet visited Radio Six will be pleasantly surprised by the fantastic variety of programming on offer, which is a great credit to Tony and his team.

Expletives deleted for Radio Newsletter
Subscribers to Ian MacRae's The Radio Wave newsletter, may have been surprised to receive a censorship message regarding its content! Ian reported on an Ofcom complaint concerning a swearing granny's appearance on Radio 1, and he included one of the words she used. This provoked an automatic warning to recipients from his ISP's monitoring system. Ian overcame the problem by inserting a couple of stars in the offending word and sending it sailing past the robo-censor. Other stories in issue #43,
include: Corny contest leads to contestant topping himself * Fight over a radio leads to murder * and * Intern learns about dead air *.
Offshore Radio Themes update
Chris Edwards says:

I've updated the Offshore Radio themes website

More than one hundred audio clips have been added, mostly to the Promotions sections, plus a few new pictures. Thanks to all who've provided information and tracks. If you can add anything or spot any mistakes, please let me know.

Oldies Forum Attacked
A message on the Oldies Forum site reads:

On Friday, September 23 2005 a hacker has attacked and purposely destroyed vital parts of our website. We are currently trying to repair the damage, but there is a possibility that all data on the old board might be lost forever. If we can't recover the data we may well be forced to start all over again with a new board. In any case, we will try to be back on line as soon as possible.

Very bad luck for the Oldies Forum team. We hope you'll be back soon.

'Dateline Diamonds' on TV
Ray Reynolds, the owner of the poster and foyer photos for Big L feature film Dateline Diamonds (click here for Radio London's two-page feature) tells us that Matinée Movies (Sky satellite channel 336), is showing the film at 1600BST on Thursday, October 13th.
Ray beleves it may be repeated regularly, so check the schedules.

Dateline Diamonds was a promotional vehicle for the Small Faces and other pop acts and also featured Kenny Everett. It went on general cinema release on Sunday, April 3rd, 1966, supporting main feature, Doctor in Clover.

The film is available both on VHS and DVD, but the sleeve note info is sadly lacking, with no song title listing and some of the performers not even credited. Radio London fills in the missing gaps, in our 2-page feature.

(Click on the photo to buy the DVD. Click here to buy the VHS.)

Caroline's Keefers is back on the air!

On Saturday nights 1800 - midnight CHAY 93.1fm (Barrie, Ontario) presents: "Super Hots Saturday Night. The great rock and roll favorites of the 1960s and 70s with Keith Hampshire." The show is available on line, but because of the time difference between Canada and Europe, will involve some pretty late-night listening for fans on this side of the pond.

Keefers is renowned in Canada for his musical career (read our Keefers feature) and he has a compilation CD out, '20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection'. Click right for info.

Keefers' own website is here.

CD of Vintage Album
An album that Chris has had safely stored amongst his vinyl collection since 1967, 'The London Jazz Four Take a New Look at the Beatles', has now been reissued on CD on the Harkit label. In mint condition, the original album can command a huge price-tag. A copy went on eBay in 2005 for £82! The eleven tracks include 'I Feel Fine', 'Ticket to Ride' and 'Things We Said Today' and although the sleeve artwork has been replaced, the original Steve Race sleeve notes are retained.

In August 1967, The London Jazz Four appeared at the National Jazz and Blues Festival, at Windsor Racecourse, alongside the likes of John Mayall, Fleetwood Mac, the Small Faces and Cream.

(left) Original 1967 sleeve. (right) New CD sleeve. Click for info.

Read Chris's article about the record here.

Celebrating Radio Essex's 40th Birthday
Radio Essex began 40 years ago this October. The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame has a great four-page photo feature of the Essex guys' recent boat trip to visit Knock John Fort for a champagne and corned beef celebration. And the PRHoF has finally heard from Caroline's Glenn Adams, the New Zealander who has been on the 'missing' list for so long!

More Essex Anniversary
In Bob le Roi's latest site update:
"Scrapbook" has a series of never-before published pictures and facts to mark the 40th Anniversary. Later this month Bob will offer the chance to win a very rare item of promotional merchandise from the original Radio 390.
David Sinclair on Radio 390
Paul Francis writes:
Hi Mary, just to let you know that David Sinclair has come on board at Radio 390 (and our backup site
We have your link on our site, and l love your site.

Alert for 242 Fans!

The Beatstalkers Are Back in Concert....

One of the top Glasgow bands appearing in our recent Radio Scotland feature, the Beatstalkers, (Dave Lennox, Alan Mair, Ronnie Smith, Eddie Campbell and Jeff Allan) are staging a reunion concert.

The Beatstalkers have not played together for 35 years and the reunion is now planned for December 23rd at the Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow. The band appeared twice in the Fab 40 – 7/11/65 ('Ev'rybody's Talking 'Bout My Baby') and 7/05/67 as a climber ('My One Chance to Make It' - which, sadly, didn't).

Band member Alan Mair is still in the music business and has his own website where you can find details of the reunion and purchase the Beatstalkers' CD.

...and the Pathfinders are out on CD!

Nigel Lees, who wrote the acclaimed Record Collector A-Z of Psychedelia writes:

I have now my own record label, Top Sounds, and have just released Alphabeat, a various artists 60s compilation on vinyl and CD, including 2 unreleased Pathfinders tracks,with the blessing of Fraser Watson.

The tracks in question are 'Pumpkin Lantern' and 'To Love Somebody'. Interesting that Studio Six turned down a Gibb Brothers song, but the Pathfinders did not, but Nigel's excellent liner notes reveal that the band was not keen. It was Tommy Scott of Major Minor records who persuaded the Pathfinders record the song.

Other bands featured on the 13-track CD include Graded Grains and Black Cat Bones.

Click left for info on the Alphabeat CD from the Marmalade Skies website.

If ye be wantin'a copy o' the Pirate Guys' latest 'how-to' guide, 'Pirattitude', prod the picture above with yer hook.

"RemembAAAARRR, RemembAAAARRR the 19th SeptembAAAARRR!"

International Talk Like A Pirate Day was once again a world-wide success, with its fame being spread by a mention on Radio 2.

Mark 'Cap'n Slappy' Summers (talking English, but we reckon by September 20th, he needed a bit of a break from Piratese) sent the following message by carrier pigeon:

We're still hoping that our publisher sells the right to the book in the UK and perhaps we'll come over and do a book tour – that would be exciting. As it is, we're digging out from under a pile of e-mails and catching up on our sleep.

Meanwhile, our new Radio London sea shanty (see link below) proved popular with his co-renegade, Ol' Chumbucket. Who said

Well done! That's funny. Thanks for the tune and the laugh.

Then our friend Stephen Ches-knee very helpfully wrote:

Congratulations on your 'Sound of Music' pirate shanty. Very enjoyable. Music Trivia question. Did you know Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass recorded 'My Favourite Things'? It's on their 1971 Christmas Album. As it's an instrumental you could sing along to it!

The Radio London site nine-page P.A.R.R.O.T. (Pirate Anoraks Revere Real Offshore Terminology) ITLAPD Special Supplement has been revamped and updated and now has its own index. You can learn the lingo from our picture dictionary and choose an appropriate outfit from our fashion feature.
New for 2005, presenting the Radio London 'Sound of Music' Shanty!

Back to 'Kneesflashes'