The words ‘Loving Awareness’ have featured on Radio Caroline broadcasts for nearly 50 years. Radio Caroline devotees will sign letters and e-mail with some reference to ‘LA’ and occasionally mutter words about ‘love’. The more devoted will also refer to ‘DA’ as if it is the opposite of ‘LA’. As in, LA = good, DA = bad.
The underlying idea is that ‘Loving Awareness’ is just another re-working of the ‘Golden Rule’ found at the heart of most religions about treating people how you would like to be treated, and how being nice will make the world a nicer place. Nothing overtly wrong in that, and it’s taken its place in the music of the druggie era of the 60s and 70s, reflected in some of the later songs of The Beatles.
But, where was the phrase ‘Loving Awareness’ born?
For this, you need to return to the hippy parties of the 1970s: Typically, a place for drug induced contemplation of life, the universe and everything. Enter a gatefold promotional brochure for the new to the UK car, the Lada. The gatefold was such that LA was on one side. DA was on the other side. The brochure could be opened and closed such that the LA and the DA could be drawn near to each other, or moved apart.
The nature of the party was such that this exciting reading material became the focus of attention for many a person staring through it in their purple haze. As can be imagined, it wasn’t long before the analogy of yin and yang, good and bad, god and devil, was being applied to the ‘LA’ and the ‘DA’ of the word. It was decided that ‘LA’ was good, and ‘DA’ was bad. Fairly quickly the ‘L’, it was decided, stood for the word ‘Love’. After a number of variations on ‘Love Aware’ being on one side and ‘Devil Aware’ being on the other side, the LA got stuck as ‘Loving Awareness’ and the DA remained without a decided definition.
It was soon realised that ‘DA’ would be very bad, and that people who were to be declared enemies (initially this was just ‘the authorities’) would be suffering from ‘DA’, whilst all those who were part of the ‘Caroline family’ would be ok, because they’d be joined together by ‘LA’. It became a tool to use against those who were needed to go the extra mile, but were on the edge of being financially or physically burnt out. The fear of being known as suffering from ‘DA’ ensured many would accept working for nothing and at great personal risk. Equally, folk would be in awe of working for Caroline (for free) because suddenly they were no longer just working for a radio station, but now working for a ‘force’ or ‘vibe’ or important messenger whose words must be heard loudly and clearly or the world might end, and they would be to blame if they weren’t. With such a responsibility on their shoulders, they would carry on and on as long as they possibly could, until every last drop of blood had been squeezed. (This is classic cult manipulation, of course, but it certainly worked for Caroline which succeeded in attracting a stream of willing volunteers to the ‘cause’.)
At the same time as it was being used on land, the ‘LA’ mantra quickly filtered its way onto the air as part of the hippy dream of telling the listener base the Caroline take on the ‘Golden Rule’. Jingles and trailers were created to push the idea, and for a while it fitted with the general on-air image and the music being played. It wasn’t until some year or more had passed before the definition for ‘DA’ was finally decided to be ‘Defensive Awareness’. Previously it had remained as ‘DA’ without any definition.
The fanatical devotion to Caroline that continues to live on in the minds of ‘anoraks’ such that they will hate, bully and try to ‘cast out’ anybody who dare challenge or ask questions about Caroline, whilst happily parting with their cash without asking any questions themselves, stands as testament to the effectiveness of the subtle cult-style brain-washing that ‘Loving Awareness’ truly became for their generation.