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BBC / The Last Pirates: Britain's Rebel DJs

The above program was shown for the first time on Friday night on the BBC and I have to say it’s one of the best music documentaries I have watched on the BBC. If London’s pirate radio is on your radar then its really worth viewing.

Talking head interviews come from Norman Jay, Trevor ‘Madhatter’ Nelson, Manasseh, Judge Jules and Gordon Mac all from Kiss, the LWR owners and DJs, folk from the Dread Broadcasting Corporation (which was the first pirate of its type in London) and chaps from the DTI who were in charge of trying to shut the pirates down. There is loads of quality archive footage and the music makes you feel alive.

The story runs from the Soul scene (Soul Mafia / Crackers etc) with interviews with George Power and Paul ‘Trouble’ Anderson, through the LWR years and up to when Kiss (our era basically) came along turned it on its head for many of us and the ‘stations-go-legal’ years.

These days you take for granted the fact that you can turn your laptop on and access quality music in amazing fidelity. There are websites like ours and Dream Chimney and pre us Lovefingers and co while over the past few years internet radio stations such as the don NTS (we’re biased!) have appeared in waves. We are spoilt.

Back in the pirate days you needed a transmitter, an engineer who knew what he was doing with electronics, DJs, a tower block or similar to hold the aerial and to be happy to work outside the law. I’m not saying its easier these days, as obviously you need to know your onions to set up an internet radio station and get it out there so people know about you, but you don’t have to run around in fear of the law and a rival station coming to smash up your aerial with a bat. And you know, there was something very romantic about tuning the dial to see what you’d get or to see who was on air on the likes of Kiss. That slightly muffled radio sound added pure romance too. So, if you want to spend an hour reliving your youth click above or click HERE for the iPlayer version. My BBC license fee feels like its done its bit for the year.

To read more the AMFM website is super good for reading up on pirate’s as is The Pirate Archive.

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