In chapter three we begin with a brief resume of the Scandinavian offshore stations that according to this book were supposedly part of the inspiration for Ronan O'Rahilly to begin his own offshore radio adventure. Radio Nord is noticeably absent which is puzzling as the boat itself is critical to the Radio Caroline story. Well OK it gets mentioned more in chapter four, but rest assured no research into it's CIA background appears at all (lack of personal research or verification is a constant problem throughout the early chapters of this publication).
We then get on to the "First steps of Radio Caroline" where we learn that Radio Luxembourg was not only Georgie Fame's alleged managers problem it was Allan Crawford's as well. This surely begs the question, did the real concern of Allan Crawford inspire the nonsensical Georgie Fame anecdote? Or are both accounts the result of lazy people who lacked the imagination to follow Joe Meek's example when it came to getting airtime on Radio Luxembourg.
Well Allan Crawford does not come across at all as lazy, indeed he seems to have been a very driven individual who was not afraid to take on the BBC directly and indirectly. The problem is this book fails to address the motivation, ambition and expectations of those involved from the very start. We get some unverified quotes from individuals who are casting their memories back over 50 years, but in all fairness there is no meat on the bone that enables me to separate rose tinted memories (or potentially fiction) from tangible facts.
Every anecdote is taken at face value without question. That's not exactly what a Bibliography is about, so what is the real motive behind this publication? If you are outlining the beginning of Radio Caroline then taking someone else's research and trying to fit it around a few individuals memories, (plus your chosen view of what happened) along with a few badly framed images, doesn't fill me with any confidence at all.
However and to repeat myself in part, this is the conundrum that is present from the very beginning of this book. The chronology is not concurrent, the ability to verify any statement with supplementary sources just isn't there and relying on the memories of people going back over fifty years is no substitute for at least a smattering of third party written records from the time.
My desire to review this book any further is wearing thin. It is not a clear historical account. It appears to have been written in a hurry with plenty of copying & pasting evident. The motivation of the author seems to be, to paint all aspects of Radio Caroline's beginning as wonderful, adventurous and the singular work of just one man. Yet the details given so far undermine that & having looked ahead into further chapters the collusion between Project Atlanta & Radio Caroline is hard to separate unless you have an agenda to do so.
OK I will give the review another go but be patient, I have far more important things of concern right now.
The intention of this review is to give an honest critique of the revised book. I am not looking to score points over the author Paul Rusling, neither am I a spokesperson for Mervyn Hagger, Eric Gilder & Genie Baskir, seeking to point out each and every part that was lifted from their research. As stated before I hope that in our looking at The Radio Caroline Bible the trio can focus on developing their first part series publication. Now lets be clear this is predominately Mike Wilson's interpretation & although I am being supported by a couple of other individuals I will take full responsibility for this review.
In part one I am focusing on the first two chapters. Chapter One - The Dawn of Broadcasting is a brief resume of the development of wireless broadcasting in the 1800's through to Lord Reith's BBC dominance in the UK. This is a basic lift of readily available material, however in terms of scene setting and relevance to the subject matter in hand Radio Caroline, it seems reasonable to keep this quite short.
Chapter Two - Commercial Radio Arrives. This is for me a missed opportunity. What is becoming quickly notable is the lack of any citations as to where any material is sourced. As this is a swift historical account of the early days of UK commercial radio and the book is described as a Bibliography by the author, I Have to wonder if he actually knows the meaning of the word. Lets help:
A bibliography is a list of all of the sources you have used (whether referenced or not) in the process of researching your work. In general, a bibliography should include:
You see it's simple & you can now verify if I am correct as I have given you a source.
In chapter two 'Captain' Plugge's between the wars Radio Normandie is mentioned and yes this was a ground breaking commercial radio station that covered much of the south of England, again much has been written about that era. Where the real trick has been missed is in just how little coverage is given to Radio Luxembourg, particularly in the late 1950's into the early 1960's.
Considering that Radio Luxembourg's apparent monopoly tie up with the major UK record labels is still attributed as a key reason why Ronan O'Rahilly started Radio Caroline (at least according to the current station manager Peter Moore who just weeks ago stated this was so on BBC TV), scant attention is given to Luxembourg, in this book. I wonder why?
Perhaps the fact that that independent record labels were able to afford airtime on Radio Luxembourg has undermined that notion for Paul Rusling at least. As is seen through Joe Meek's 1960 Triumph Records label (where the access to cash was limited to say the least) his label & fledgling artists still got huge exposure & I quote:
The first two 45 releases in February 1960 were announced with 200 posters pasted along the Central Line. And in April 1960 Meek started a weekly 15-minutes commercial broadcast on Radio Luxembourg's English program: "It's A Triumph!". There Meek presented the new releases, hosted by himself (under the pseudonym Johnny Watts) and Ricky Wayne (a later Mr. Universe), who himself became a singer for a while (Triumph released his song Chick'a'roo in April 1960).
In part two we will begin to look at the early days of Radio Caroline where once again the lack of references & source material makes this a much more difficult job than first anticipated. I am already glad I said I would limit this review to the early days of Radio Caroline. You can comment here or on Conversation Central, however starting today the stupid troll posts and drunken late night garbage will not be published.
Coming soon. An honest & truly independent book review. Impartial, factual & with just one agenda. To provide a robust analysis of the Radio Caroline Bible.
Our focus will be on the roots & beginning of the radio station. Our goal is to properly understand the real story, expose any errors and allow you the reader to form your own opinion based on tangible knowledge.
This is not about disrespecting those involved in the foundation of Radio Caroline. It is about understanding the key players, their staff and the real roles of everyone associated with the beginnings of offshore radio in the United Kingdom.
Based on information already gleaned, we believe that the true story of Radio Caroline in the early years is yet to be told.
It is our hope that Mervyn Hagger, Eric Gilder and Genie Baskir will now begin to feel comfortable in sharing their research in full without fear of intellectual property theft. Mike Wilson is taking the lead on the book review project and will be supported by a small team of individuals, including an elderly individual with untapped knowledge who lives in the west country. We hope to visit that person early this spring.
In the book 'The Art Of War' patiently waiting until your enemy has expended their ammunition is explained in full and is a timeless ploy. We are at that juncture & it's time to unleash some truth bombs. So buckle up boys & girls, things are about to get very interesting!