The archived Happenings index is here...
Site Updates
(Updated Oct 1st ) Colin Nichol updates the Caroline Scrapbook Page 9 story of Ken Evans
(New Oct 13th) To commemorate John Peel Day 2006, a new fourth page of Perfumed Garden columns, courtesy of Hans Knot
(Updated Oct 26th) Additions to our Johnny Young page
(Updated Oct 26th) Additions to the Scrapbook info on the band known as the 'Save the Pirates' group, the Mascots
(New Nov 5th) John Otway at the Cavern (see story below)
(New Nov 24th) Paul Peters adds a personal tribute to his late friend Jimmy Mack
(Updated Dec 4th) The Swop Shop has a new entry
(Updated Dec 4th) a new message for Bob Stewart



Thanks from Chris and Mary at Radio London to everyone who has kindly sent Christmas greetings.
We wish you all a great festive season and look forward to meeting many of you at Pirate BBC Essex in August 2007

(Click here for Big L's Twelve Days of Christmas which we have added to one of our previous Christmas Annual festive fun pages. See below for other Christmas treats!)

And now, the news....

Ahmet Ertegun 1923 - 2006
The Turkish-born co-founder of Atlantic records, who spent most of his life working for the company and music he loved, has died in Manhatten. He had been in a coma since a fall on October 29th. Ahmet will be laid to rest in Turkey and a memorial service will be conducted in New York early in 2007. He never retired, remaining active at Atlantic until his accident.

"Ahmet never stopped working, because for him, it was never work, it was life," said Atlantic President Julie Greenwald. "He started Atlantic with a fan's enthusiasm, an independent spirit, and a deep understanding of the music."

Ahmet's passion for music began at the London Palladium in 1932, when his older brother, Nesuhi, took him to see the Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway orchestras. Ahmet co-founded Atlantic Records with Herb Abramson in 1947, at the age of 24. In the early days, he penned songs for the label's artists using the pseudonym 'Nugetre' (Ertegun spelt backwards). Initially a soul, jazz and r & b label, Atlantic pioneered the work of legends such as Ray Charles, The Drifters, Ben E. King, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Solomon Burke and Wilson Pickett. Later, the label embraced the music of rockers Led Zeppelin and The Stones and numerous other musical talents.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland was co-founded by Ahmet. In recognition of his contributions to contemporary music and culture, he was himself inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1987 and the museum's main exhibition hall is named after him.

"All of us at Atlantic Records are profoundly saddened by the loss of our founder and mentor," said Atlantic Chairman/CEO Craig Kallman. "The music community has lost a pioneer and an icon, and we have lost our father. Ahmet changed the course of modern music and culture, and he will live on through the timeless legacy of work that was created under his direction and care. Musicians loved him, because he truly loved them and spoke their language. The essence of Ahmet Ertegun is the essence of Atlantic Records. His passion for music and his devotion to the artists who make it have been at the very heart of this company for six decades. The soul of Ahmet Ertegun will forever be our guiding spirit, and as long as there is an Atlantic Records, it will be Ahmet Ertegun's company. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ahmet's wife, Mica, and his family during this very difficult time."

Photo: Atlantic Records. Links:
Atlantic Records tribute; Warner Music Group tribute; New York Times Obituary

Denis Payton 1943 - 2006

Denis Payton, who played saxophone, guitar and harmonica with the Dave Clark Five, has died in Bournemouth after a long illness. Denis and Dave had been friends since their teens.

The Dave Clark Five spent many weeks on the Big L charts. From appearing in the first-available Fab Forty, 24th January 1965, with 'Everybody Knows', they enjoyed seven subsequent entries. 'Nineteen Days' which was co-written by Denis and Dave, appeared in November 66. Their biggest FF hit was 'Catch Us if You Can', #2 in August 1965. It came from the group's film of the same name, which was retitled 'Having A Wild Weekend' for US viewers.

Dave told BBC News that Denis had been thrilled to hear the recent news that the DC5 was to be inducted in the US Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame in 2007, even though he would not be around to see it.

BBC News obituary

Freddie Marsden 1940 - 2006

Freddie Marsden, older brother of Gerry and drummer with their band Gerry and the Pacemakers, has died in Southport, Lancashire.

Radio London came on the air after the band had enjoyed their biggest hits, 'How Do You Do It', 'I Like it'. 'Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying', which Freddie co-wrote, was a Top Ten hit on both sides of the Atlantic. 'Ferry Cross the Mersey', the title song from a feature film, was present in the earliest Fab Forties and they enjoyed four more entries with 'I'll be There' (April 65), 'Walk Hand in Hand' (Nov 65), 'La La La' (Feb 66) and 'Girl on a Swing' (Nov 66).

After Gerry and the Pacemakers split up, Freddie left the music business altogether.

Full Spencer Leigh obituary from The Independent

Brill Oldies back for Christmas holidays
Our friend Paul Ewers has once again organised Brill Oldies, an RSL running between December 26th and January 6th, from the appropriately-named Brill village near Aylesbury. The station, which is playing tracks from the Fifties to Eighties, can be heard on 87.9FM locally and also via the net.

Brill Oldies

Happy Tenth Birthday to The Offshore Radio Guide

Martin van der Ven is always a great supporter of Radio London and on December 24th, Martin's website The Offshore Radio Guide,, celebrates its tenth birthday.

Martin says: "This Christmas Eve, The Offshore Radio Guide has been "on the air" for 10 years and I'd like you thank you all for helping me to keep the website "afloat". There were more than 800,000 visitors during this period! Be assured that I will go on with the work."

Martin, we know how much effort you have put into running the site (and not forgetting the Radio Days you have co-organised) and we would like to send our warmest congratulations and thank you for ten years of providing a superb service to offshore fans.

All you need is... a new video promo (updated Dec 20th)

Apple Corp has released a new album of songs from LOVE, the acclaimed Cirque du Soleil show performed exclusively at The Mirage in Las Vegas. The reworking of the Fab Four music has been produced by George Martin and his son Giles, from the Abbey Road masters.

On December 15th, Apple released a video promo for the track 'Within You Without You / Tomorrow Never Knows', available to view at the beatles.com

Fifty thousand people logged in to preview the LOVE album and placed their location on the map for the site's global listening event! On the website's LOVE MAP, just click on a location anywhere on the globe – you can zoom in for a close up view – and it will show you the nearest hundred users who took part.

Click on sleeve photo for details of the limited-edition and regular 26-track CDs.

Twiggy off to the Beeb
Season's greetings from Roger 'Twiggy' Day, who says:

Firstly Happy Christmas

Now the big news. I'm changing direction from Jan 1st. After 40 years of playing commercials I'm joining the BBC. Based at Radio Kent in Tunbridge Wells I'm on 1900-22.00 Mon -Friday. It will be music based and broadcast over Surrey, Sussex, Hants, Oxford and Berks. So a huge TSA. The way I look at it, if it's good enough for JW and Kenny Everett I'll be OK.

I will also be doing a Sunday programme 1400-1700 but that is only to Kent, and I shall continue my Fifties and Sixties programme at Saga, West Mids. So I'm a busy boy, but it is all very exciting. Hope you can catch some of it.

It will be nice to be living at home and not out of a suitcase again!

Robbie's PC Greeting
'Admiral' Robbie Dale and his wife Stella have sent the following seasonal wishes:

We were wanting to send some sort of holiday greeting to our many friends and family, but finding it so difficult in today's world to know exactly what to say without offending someone. And not being able to work out the solution ourselves, we took a quick round trip to Dublin this week and met with our legal advisers Murphy-Goldstein-Smith-Mahmood-Kim and Partners. After a "joint consultation". We are taking advice and wish to say the following:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced with the most enjoyable traditions of religious persuasion or secular practices of your choice with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

We also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make our country great and without regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

Greetings & Jingle bells, "Jingle all the way!", Robbie & Stella

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting the following terms:
This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/him or others and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

Hu-llo to Hall of Fame
Radio London's head DJ, the late Tony Windsor, known to all as TW, has been inducted into the Radio Academy Hall of Fame. Other inductees include Luxembourg's Barry Alldis and Pete Murray, Round the Horne's Betty Marsden and your old mate Brian Matthew.

New TV venture for Royal Ruler
Caroline North's (and Luxembourg's) Royal Ruler Tony Prince is Programme Director of the newly-launched Wedding TV, available on the Sky platform, channel 289.

Too Old for Phone-ins?
Ian MacRae's 55th edition of his newsletter, The Radio Wave, includes the following stories: BBC gets record hits with its online radio * No callers who sound old allowed on air *Radio contest... swap your kid for a PS3? Ian says: "May I wish you and yours all the best for the Christmas season and a top New Year. And especially our thoughts go to those radio industry people who have to work over this period. Well, someone's gotta do it!"

Christmas Day with PY

Radio London's traditional phestive photo of two strange santas grooving it up on Clacton pier, brings news that the santa on the right of the picture, Peter Young, will be presenting a four-hour show on London's Smooth FM 102.2, on Dec 25th, from 2000 to midnight.

The Christmas Day show will be a party programme for the first three hours, with the last sixty minutes being "mellow, with a touch o' gospel!".

This is in addition to PY's regular Saturday night show, which is usually from 1800 to 2100, but on Saturday 23rd December will be from 2100 to midnight.

Another Christmas airing for Cuddly Ken

Paul Rowley (left, with his recent Gilliard Award) writes:

You will be pleased to know my documentary "Kenny Everett: the BBC Local Radio Years" is to get a national airing.

It will go out on digital comedy station BBC 7, on Christmas Day – what would have been Kenny's 62nd birthday – repeated in the early hours of Boxing Day.

CHRISTMAS DAY, Monday Dec 25: 0800-0930, repeated 2200-2300. BOXING DAY, Tuesday Dec 26: 0300-0400.

The programme was first broadcast five years ago at Christmas 2001, with recordings from Kenny's BBC Local Radio Days thirty years beforehand. It went out on forty BBC Local Radio stations at the time. Some repeated it last year on the tenth anniversary of Kenny's death.

It was shortlisted for a Sony Radio Award in the "Music Special" Category in 2002 where the judges said:
"The time and dedication given to investigating Kenny Everett's BBC local radio career was extraordinary: from tracking down the secretly recorded tapes on enthusiasts' shelves to checking the stations' payroll records. This was a thoroughly enjoyable, well made, personal odyssey."

I put the idea to BBC 7 after the recent GCAP series on the station from Ev's Capital Radio days. BBC 7's head of programmes Mary Kalemkerian sent me a lovely note, and described my documentary as "excellent".

I hope Big L fans who may have missed it first time round will enjoy it.

Webmaster's footnote: Kenny Everett – The Complete Naughty Bits, the DVD from his TV series, is now available for under £6. Click on the picture for details.

Alan 'Fluff' Freeman 1927 - 2006

Alan Freeman has died at Brinsworth House (the home for retired entertainers) after suffering poor health for some years..

The much-admired DJ came to the UK on a holiday from Australia in 1957 and fortunately for us, decided to stay. His memorable broadcasting career spanned over forty years.

Some obituaries have claimed that Alan started in UK radio as a 'pirate' DJ, but they are confusing watery wireless with the land-based Radio Luxembourg, one of very few broadcasters of pop music available to us in the Fifties and pre-offshore Sixties. Before Big L, we listened to what Kenny Everett referred to as 'Little L'. However, it was via the BBC Light Programme that Alan became known and loved throughout the nation.

In the early Sixties, public places came alive on sunny Sunday afternoons when the tune of The Sign of the Swinging Cymbal preceded Alan Freeman's Pick of the Pops. The programme arrived in 1962, the same year as the Beatles. In an era when most of the Light Programme presenters were 'announcers' who addressed listeners in the official BBC language of Received Pronunciation, Fluff devised a unique way of presenting the charts. Not your average Sunday listening, it was upbeat, fast, fun and always began with a cheery "Greetings, pop-pickers!" The programme became as much of a British institution as Sunday roast and it didn't even matter if you didn't own a radio. If you were out and about, Pick of the Pops permeated the air from a million (relatively new-fangled) trannies, car radios and Bakelite sets placed near open windows. Every youngster in this music-starved nation listened and they wanted to share the experience with others.

Fluff Freeman's name, style and catchphrases became synonymous with Pick of the Pops. No matter who else presents it, the show will always be known as Fluff's. He's a hard act to follow. Kisses on the bottom, Fluff. All right?


Big L's Graeme Gill worked with Alan in Australia. He asked us to add the following trbute:

Alan was a great mentor and friend for me and was a great help in my early days in Britain. I'll always remember with affection our early days at 3KZ in Melbourne. Rest in peace, old friend.

Peter Young, who worked with Fluff at London's Capital Radio, writes:

People seem to have forgotten Fluff's great daily show, where he really broke down the barriers musically. I remember the first one started with 'Whole Lotta Love' - Led Zep. Nothing remarkable about that now, but in the middle of the Osmonds, David Cassidy era that Radio One embraced so wholeheartedly, it was an act of defiance and sheer rebellion! God bless him!

I shall play 'Dancing In The Street' and 'Time Has Come Today' on Saturday (Smooth Fm 1800 - 2100) as a tribute. He played the Chambers Brothers for weeks on POTP, even using part of it as an opening jingle - And as you may know, Fluff received death threats over his nightly play of Martha and The Vandellas on Luxembourg. He played it 6 nights a week at 11.30pm for 6 months! That alone is enough to ensure his legendary status.

A good person and a huge influence and inspiration.

Alan Hardy, Chair of Radio West Mid:

During his life Alan was held in high esteem by both the public and the industry. He helped change the face of UK radio before the pirates arrived. He introduced new music. He was a true legend.

Actually, I think Alan was the first person I ever interviewed. He was guest of honour at an EMI Apprentice Association Christmas Dance in 1968. In those days, he was signed to EMI as a DJ for Luxembourg programmes. I interviewed him for my request show. He was pleasant, keen and interested in being interviewed. As novice interviewer, I made the usual mistake of running the interview too long and, no doubt, being unstructured with my questions. I think it must have lasted around 15 minutes. His manager or minder came by and signalled me to ‘wind up’ - a signal that I didn’t even recognise at that point in my ‘career’. I thought he meant ‘keep on going’!! He wanted Alan to return to mingle with all the EMI bigwigs who were also there.

Afterwards, I apologised to Alan for keeping him so long. He replied with something like “Don’t worry about it. It was more fun than being with those boring people!” I also asked him (perhaps the expected question), what his advice would be to aspiring radio presenters. His answer “Once You’ve Said What You Want To Say, Stop Talking. There’s No Need To Say Any More.” Something I’ve always remembered (but not always applied!).

Alan Freeman's Radio Academy Hall of Fame entry
How Fluff spent Christmas Day at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow
Feature from the Independent concerning Fluff on Luxembourg
(thanks to John Preston)
Next Sunday's POTP (10th December, BBC Radio Two, 1530 - 1700) will include a show from Fluff first heard in 1998, which I imagine features a chart that was 'vintage' even then. – Alan Field
‘The Complete Fluff, Not Arf’ a one-hour tribute will be on Radio 2, this Sunday 10th December, at 2200 – Alan Hardy

1966 Graffiti – tells you more, says it better!

This story first appeared in Happenings for May 2003, as follows:

Hans Knot tells us that he has been donating blood regularly since 1967, and every time he visits the blood donation centre, he passes a piece of 'offshore graffiti' which has survived since 1966.

Hans says:

On the Gorechtkade in Groningen are fire corridors. One of them has a shed and there are two words painted on this shed with green paint – 'Radio London'. And to make this all the more interesting, 250 yards further on is the famous Oosterhamrikkade. That's the place where the MV Cito and the King David of Capital Radio have been for many years. At 500 metres to the East of the Oosterhamrikkade, the Veronica ship has been rebuilt into a grand cafe in 1994.

In November 2006, we've heard from Vincent Hegeman, who wrote from Gorechtkade:

I can ensure you that the graffiti is still there. Every time I enter the fire corridor to get to the back-entrance of my house I am walking towards the graffiti. I have been wondering several times what the graffiti means, but know I know where it's coming from.
And you all know that the graffiti still hasn't been removed, despite the renewal of several buildings on the back of the shed.

Many thanks to Vincent for getting in touch. Does anyone else live near any long-standing offshore graffiti?

The old and the new: Current Radio London directors
Mary and Chris visited the 1966 graffiti in 2003, while visiting Hans and Jana Knot

News continues on Page 2....

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