The year is 1964. You live on the lukewarm rock in the upper Eastern corner of the Atlantic known to some as "Britain", and to others as "700 years of bad foreign policy and worse dental care". You find yourself in the precarious position of loving rock 'n roll music, but unfortunately for you, at the time commercial radio stations were outlawed, and the British Broadcasting Corportation only played 6 hours of popular music a week. So how on Earth were you to get your nightly fix of androgynous Devil-worship and ear shattering guitar solos? The answer of course, was to buy an old fishing ship, set up a radio station on it, moor it in the international waters of the North Sea, and illegally broadcast the Rock and Roll Revolution onto the British mainland from your sea-faring fortress.
This is exactly what an entire generation of American and UK DJs did in the early to mid 1960s; they created Pirate Radio. Wagging their collective fingers at the Queen and her pompous elevator-muzak listening cohorts, these radio revolutionaries evaded authorities and British jurisdiction, while amassing audiences well into the millions at their peek. Old commercial fishing boats were coopted as radio stations, filled with records and sound equipment, and moored for months on end in the frigid North Sea, all for the love of rock 'n roll. The DJs made famous by hugely successful stations such as "Radio Caroline" would eventually come to dominate the psyche of Britain's rock-loving youth to such a degree that when in 1967 Britain formally outlawed the pirate radio broadcasts, the BBC was forced to create a popular music station and give gainful employment to the pack of fish-odor-soaked ne'er do wells who had circumvented them and their monopoly just months prior. Infamous Pirate DJ Dave Cash wryly quipped "They hated us, but we didn't care, and we still don't!" after parlaying his outlaw celebrity status into a position on the new BBC rock station.
In this way, the greatest legacy of Pirate Radio is commerical radio in Britain, and the creation of popular music channels. The Pirates forced rock 'n roll into the public consciousness even when the governmen didn't want it, and they showed that Mick Jagger's moves truly couldn't be denied to the young ladies of Britain. Fast forward several decades to the day one of those youth that grew up listening to Pirate Radio became a big time movie director, and you get Richard Curtis' brainchild: Pirate Radio (or The Boat That Rocked for UK audiences). This movie, released in 2009 and starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, depicts the exploits and efforts of the fictional "Radio Rock" station as they evade British authorities and blast their music for all of the UK to hear.
Before you forget about Pirate Radio and exit out of this blog post to go back to the Brazzers account you're pirating from your roommate, pay attention to this announcement: It just so happens that WJHU will be hosting a screening of Pirate Radio on November 6th at 7:45pm in Gilman 50. If you're a fan of rock 'n roll, music history, or Phillip Seymour Hoffman, be sure to stop by and enjoy the free screening. As always, support your Hopkins radio station (pirate ship) by tuning in to WJHU at wjhuradio.org!
Link for event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1640131102937146/
By Marko Lazović on Oct. 26, 2015, 3:11 a.m.