What a decade! Dorothy Davies

Dorothy Davies shares her memories of pirate radio

“What a decade! And, more than anything, what a wealth of radio stations! By choice we (husband and I) did not have a television, we lived with our radio, sampling all that the world could give us, by dialling round the world using the shortwave band, and leaving it on ‘normal’ the rest of the time.

The pirate radio stations had been a lifeline for those of us who were bored senseless with ‘conventional’ radio and who had not been there when Radio Caroline went illegal? Johnny Walker lonely on board a ship that had just made him an exile … Radio 1 came into being in 1967, it was a further six years before commercial radio began to make its appearance. Capital Radio was on air at the time I gave up work to become a mother – a shock to the system at the age of 30, this being a time when 30 was considered o l d …

So there I was, having had to give up a fantastic job in law in the City, where I had been in and out of the law courts either on errands for my boss or actually attending hearings with clients, for a mobile home park and an ever increasing weight that turned out to be my darling daughter. All I had during the long days was this fantastic radio station playing non stop hits, interspersed with some of the maddest, most idiotic people who ever came off the pirate ships and into legal radio, starting with the most idiotic of all, Kenny Everett.

Saturday mornings were never the same again, as the manic Everett concocted wild and ridiculous horror stories to read on air, with his cohort Dave Cash. Kenny and Cash were required listening, no matter what else we were doing that day. One particular memory is of a story called ‘Organs Hanging’ which made no sense until he reached the punch line of the man turned inside out and so had all his organs hanging … we laughed all day over that one.

One of the most momentous things they did was stage a competition to find The Worst Record Of All Time. The entries were incredible, cringe making, ghastly renditions such as Jess Conrad’s crooning about “the jumper which you made for me” but the outright winner, which I have never forgotten, was The Legendary Stardust Cowboys with a jangle of music and a confusion of words which were unintelligible until you clearly heard “this is the worst record in the world” and it was!

Godley and Cream’s “I’m Not In Love” topped their chart for weeks and weeks, with DJs dissecting the lyrics for hidden meanings, Simon and Garfunkel seemed to be played all the time, the adverts were catchy and memorable, especially the clever sound effects around the drink Pont Y Mes, (I think that’s how it was spelled) a beverage you could only buy in London, so the customer trying to buy this in the country was thrown out by some yokel saying “yur a bit of a mess yerself, git out of here!”

Capital Radio still broadcasts but the station has lost the magic of those early days when there was less gloss and more fun, less money and more interaction with the listener, less political awareness and a lot more cutting edge humour.

Ah, what days!”


Dorothy Davies’ website is www.oneinspecyal.com

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3 Responses

  1. Nice writing style. I will come back to read more posts from you.

    Susan Kishner

  2. thanks for kind words! That means I need to write some more memories … ! ah, what a tragedy … !

  3. […] I did not have a television, we lived with our radio, sampling all that the world could give us, bhttps://popandcrisps.wordpress.com/2008/05/17/what-a-decade-dorothy-davies/Best-selling book brings back painful memories for Simon The Charlotte ObserverCarly Simon didn’t […]

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