Pirate radio

The Boat that Rocked is Richard Curtis's new film about the off-shore pirate radio stations of the mid-60s. In France, where I tend to see these things, it is known as Good Morning England (in English).

In those days the North East had its very own pirate station, Radio 270, although it was also just about possible to hear Radio Caroline North (anchored off the Isle of Man) and Radio Scotland (in the Firth of Forth). Radio 270 was usually off Scarborough, but occasionally drifted to a spot off Bridlington. It was owned by Wilfrid Proudfoot, a Yorkshire supermarket magnate, whose nephew was a grammar school boy. 270 was a former Dutch herring drifter called Oceaan 7.

Radio 270 went on the air in June 1966 and closed just before midnight on 14 August 1967, minutes before the Marine Broadcasting (Offences) Bill became law. A little 'secret' of 270's last hours is that an RAF helicopter attempted to drop to the ship tapes and messages from the off-duty crew who were stranded on land because of bad weather. The Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, demanded an enquiry. The story is told in Paul Harris's When Pirates Ruled the Waves (1968), the definitive account of 60s free radio (which gave 270, rather than the more obvious choice of Caroline, the honour of the dust wrapper illustration).

The pirate's record collections were not very big and when they got hold of a new 45 they would play it repeatedly (or were they paid to do so?). 270 seemed to play Traffic's Hole in my shoe
over and over again in the last weeks. Maybe they thought imagining a hole in my shoe letting in water would magically ward off a hole in the hull letting in water.

No comments:

Post a Comment