I had a few moments spare in my life, so I had a quick trot around various old time radio fora recently. Sadly, I seem to have been locked out of one which is for Radio Caroline fans. It now demands I register, which I did, but nothing happened. Maybe the moderator has keeled over dead or his Altzheimer’s has made him forget all about it. Or – gasp – he hates me!
How could anybody ever hate Christopher England? The bastards!
Anyway, I had a bit more success when I revisited one particular forum dedicated to ‘Pirate / Free Radio’ – except of course it isn’t the slightest bit about pirate or free radio.
The dominant conversations are about internet radio stations that nobody listens to. The less listeners an internet radio station has, the more enthusiastic they get about it. Bizarre, but true!
When they aren’t talking about internet radio stations (which, by the way, are completely legal, adhere to all the requirements for PRS and other payments, and so don’t come under either category of ‘pirate’ or ‘free’), they will discuss events from the era of offshore radio.
As you may know, offshore radio of interest to the British general public ceased well over 25 years ago, after only having a life of around 25 years in total itself. Yet, that 25 years of offshore radio has to be discussed again and again and again, as if there is no today.
The deeper the discussions go the angrier the discussionees end up being. I think it’s because the rosy coloured era as seen by an ‘anorak’ was never thus. They suddenly have a wake-up call as they realise that none of it was really an exciting Boy’s Own or Famous Five style adventure in the slightest, except, of course, for the listeners and listeners-crossed-over-into-worker-drones. Look, it was all an attempt to make money. Or to con others out of money. And very vaguely it was about power. But mainly about money. Lots of money.
So, here we are, 25 years after the last ever bit of offshore radio, and there they are! All the mad people from madland grunting on and on about stuff that a) no normal mentally stable humans give a toss about, b) those likely to be hanging around fora were never involved in decision making about, c) those actually involved in have long forgotten about, and d) proves they really are mad people from madland.
I note one strange bloke trying to look for conspiracies and forensic details that will in some way reveal that Radio Caroline was owned by the Illuminati and ‘the lizards’. You know the kind of talk, doncha? The kind of talk that people permanently mind-fucked by years of continuous use of recreational drugs spout.
The kind of paranoia and conspiracy theories that regularly pepper The Jeremy Kyle Show.
Not that I ever watch it, of course, but were I to, I’d see the scummy lower classes doing their paranoia on camera, much as the mad people from madland are doing theirs on the forum to which I allude. Okay, I do watch The Jeremy Kyle Show now and again, but my excuse is that where I’m working for the moment there’s no internet, and so I can’t watch porn. Just the TV and The Jeremy Kyle Show always seems to be on.
But, back to the mad people from madland and their anoraking forum.
So is that it? The legacy of Radio Caroline is nothing more than seething paranoid radio anoraks tapping away at their computers and, well, as we in the trade call it, talking shit.
There are quite a few ‘pirate / free radio’ stations that exist and battle against quite ferocious raids and attempts to close by the authorities. Some of these stations are playing some pretty exciting music. Yet, none of them get listened to by the mad people from madland. They refer to today’s pirate / free radio stations with the same bile, mistrust and hatred that the older generation once referred to Radio Caroline and its offshore radio sisters.
None of the mad people from madland discuss the new hope and new music that today’s pirate / free radio stations bring to the youth of the day. Nope, they’ll tell tales of how playing certain songs indicates that certain drugs are on sale.
Hmmm. Isn’t that what the old people once said about the offshore radio stations?