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Calling all radio pirates!

Aar me hearties! Jules, Bristol Wireless’ treasurer will be taking us back to the 1960s in a couple of weeks time, when he talks on pirate radio (Ah! The pink-shrouded mist of nostalgia descends over my eyes. Ed.) in the Zoo bar at St Werburghs Community Centre (map here) on Wednesday, 14th January 2009 from 8-9 pm.

A marine pirate radio vessel called Mebo II
A marine pirate radio vessel called Mebo II

In an email Jules has just sent me he says the talk will cover the history and political legacy of pirate radio in the North Sea from 1964 until 1989 and will include historic recordings, music and a slide show of some astonishing scenes from the North Sea. In more detail, he’ll be covering the radio ships, the people, the music and the dirty tricks employed by the UK government to get them off the air once and for all – sadly it seems, for ever. πŸ™ Jules continues: “I shall tell just how complicit the UK government was in destroying this form of free speech – and I shall reveal some truly astonishing and shocking facts of just what powers the UK government retains – to this very day”.

The bar will also be open for the event, ably staffed by Rich.

Jules is promising a further talk soon on land-based pirate radio if this one goes well.

12 Responses to Calling all radio pirates!

  1. woodsy January 4, 2009 at 1:18 pm #

    Jules has since come up with a further few teasers as to his talk’s content, such as:

    * Why does the Pirate Radio story start in 1660 AD?
    * How the UK government can pursue its citizens all over the world… and;
    * What the link is between UK Pirate Radio and the Lockerbie bombing of Pan-Am 103?

  2. Jules January 8, 2009 at 11:44 pm #

    We’ll also reveal just what the management of British Rail had to do with the establishment of the North Sea Broadcasters!

  3. woodsy January 9, 2009 at 12:14 pm #

    Sounds intriguing Jules!

    See you there πŸ˜€

  4. Ian Sealy January 13, 2009 at 1:20 pm #

    Sounds really interesting. I don’t suppose this is going to be recorded, is it? I’m currently geographically challenged and can’t get to Bristol tomorrow.

  5. woodsy January 13, 2009 at 1:43 pm #

    Hi Ian

    As far as I know, it will be recorded and the audio posted here. πŸ™‚

  6. Ian Sealy January 13, 2009 at 1:49 pm #

    Fantastic. Thanks very much. πŸ™‚

  7. Guy Walker January 13, 2009 at 10:35 pm #

    Searching for a tape recorder? No need we have Woodsy:)

  8. Scilla Cullen January 14, 2009 at 6:34 pm #

    would Rich staffing the bar be Richard Ayres by any chance?

  9. woodsy January 15, 2009 at 11:20 am #


    It was ably run by our Rich, who is of the Higgs variety.

  10. woodsy January 15, 2009 at 2:21 pm #

    Update: 15.01.09 A packed (thanks Radical Historians πŸ˜€ ) Zoo Bar was entertainingly introduced to the history of offshore pirate radio by Jules, starting with the government grabbing the communications monopoly in the 17th century with the founding of the Royal Mail, via technologies leading up to wireless broadcasting, Radio Luxembourg, Lord Haw-Haw, the institution that was/is Radio Caroline and finally ending up with recent changes to legislation (1990 Broadcasting Act), followed by a lively Q&A session that resulted in George, the Werburghs caretaker getting home later than usual (apologies George!).

    A gent called Alex turned up with a minidisc recorder and another called Ben* with a video camera. We’ll be getting the audio and posting it here next week, along with Jules’ notes.

    * = It would be lovely to have the video for posting too Ben! πŸ˜€

  11. Al May 17, 2009 at 2:30 am #

    Interesting, did any of the recordings make it onto the web? Have a look at my blog for some more Bristol-related radio stuff and also where I’m in the process of trying to document as best as I can the history of the land-based pirate stations in Bristol (click ‘Stations’ at the top of the front page and you’ll find a list of all the stations that have pages with their histories). If there is anything you can do for me or me for you, let me know via my blog / email / MySpace πŸ™‚



    • woodsy May 17, 2009 at 3:54 pm #

      Hi Al

      Thanks for getting in touch. There was a gent from Bristol Radical History Group there recording Jules’ talk. It may be worth contacting them via brh (at) πŸ™‚