Wijnand's Wonderful Memorabilia
Martin Van der Ven very kindly put us in touch with Wijnand Brak from the Netherlands, who has some wonderful Radio London memorabilia to share.
Below is Wijnand's story of how he obtained it.

A visit to the Galaxy at Kiel
Wijnand Brak (left)

Together with a friend, I visited the Galaxy, then harboured at Kiel in Germany, probably in 1978 or 1979. At that time we were young and full of everything that was connected with offshore radio. We did not have any idea what to expect of that visit.

First of all the ship was harboured at a shipyard named Howaldt and was not accessible for everyone. The Galaxy was listing a bit already. (See photo above) Once we entered the ship we found a gigantic mess, it was dark and the smell of oil and damp was overwhelming. We did not bring a torch with us, so most of the time we groped our way through the ship.

Once in a while, we lit a lighter and could finally reach the studio. Again, we found an incredible mess. Nearly everything was spread out on the floor – all kinds of papers, forms, letters etc. Some papers we took with us as a souvenir.

After this visit we waited for the factory workmen to leave and joined them, as the site was guarded.

The visit to the Galaxy was probably not allowed, but afterwards I realized we had ensured the safety of a little piece of history of Radio London.

This is the box of delights that arrived via courier from Wijnand
Some of the contents, unpacked

Memo from Annabel 'Annie' Gannon, from Radlon Sales, to Captain Buninga.

Whether or not these guests actually made it out to the Galaxy on the intended dates, is unknown.

Singles by both Bowie and Twice As Much (
David Skinner and Andrew Rose) had leapt up the Fab Forty announced on August 28th. Bowie jumped 18 places, from 40 to 22 with 'I Dig Everything' and Twice As Much, 11, from 26 to 15 with 'Step Out of Line'. Neither single made any impression on the Nationals.

Big L was heavily promoting Bowie and his single. He appeared with the Buzz at a Radio London Show in Ramsgate on August 26th and at the Marquee in Wardour Street for the Radio London Club afternoon show on August 27th.

Annie's daughter, Lucy Thomas, is half-sister to Cherie Blair, wife of the former British Prime Minister.

Original tape boxes for commercials aired on Radio London (click on image to see larger version).

Cart 63 is labelled "Weetabix 'Teenager's Mother' " (see page three).

Cart 153, for Seager's Egg Flip (a brand of advocaat) is titled 'Egg Timer (Health)' and appropriately labelled 'After Midday'. The drink called a snowball, made from advocaat and lemonade, was popular in the Sixties.

Cart 80, for British American Tobacco (30 secs) is dated 'May 20th onwards' (see page three).

Cart 239, for Ballito Glamour Crepe Stockings (30 secs) is dated w/c Sept 19th.

A memo from Radlon Managing Director Philip Birch, praises Paul Kay and Kenny Everett for their coverage of the Beatles' 1966 US Tour.

It was probably because he was young, an innovative broadcaster and came from Liverpool, that Alan Keen chose Kenny to travel with the Beatles on the US tour on behalf of Radio London. Jerry Leighton landed the enviable job of representing Caroline, while Ron O'Quinn was Radio England's reporter. The Fab Four had once made the mistake of telling their fans they loved jelly baby sweets and had been regularly bombarded with the things on stage ever since. It was, therefore, appropriate for the nightly Everett Beatle tour reports reports to be sponsored by Bassetts jelly babies.

The way in which the reports were received in the UK for broadcast on Big L, was about as low-tech as anything could get- especially as there was no method of phoning the ship! Kenny would ring Paul Kaye, who had to come ashore from the Galaxy in order to be standing by a phone in Harwich at the appropriate time. Kenny would play his report down the line from the States by holding the speaker of his tape machine against the phone mouthpiece. The already-poor-quality material thus crossed the Atlantic to emerge from the earpiece of the phone in Harwich, and be recorded a second time by Paul. He would then rush back on the tender to the Galaxy to splice the recording together with a few records and a handful of Bassetts commercials, turning the whole thing into a sponsored programme. By the time anyone heard the result of Paul's efforts via 266 metres on the mediumwave band from the tiny (and tinny!) speaker of their trannie, it is surprising that anyone could decipher a word of what Kenny (or indeed the Fab Four) was saying. However, a clip posted on the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame shows that the quality was not as bad as might have been expected.

The whole concept was very exciting for Big L listeners! Our favourite DJ from our favourite radio station had been chosen to accompany our favourite group on a tour of the US!

All photos and memorabilia courtesy of Wijnand Brak

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