Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Radio B and the secret pirates

13 Responses

  • Rich of Observationz,

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    Looks more like an early Infinite Improbability Drive to me - complete with the hot cup of tea,

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank,

    I was on the periphery - got friendly with Selwyn Jones in '71 who told me how he was deeply involved in building the Radio Bosom enterprise. The Ak freak scene arose from guys with shoulder-length hair getting high & doing trips, but he & I just had the hair in common at that point. Phil Goff likewise. He was in the PYM at the time. Shadbolt was the avatar.

    The culture was known as the Underground in the late sixties, but that changed to the counter-culture in the early seventies. Solidarity with Bosom was due to the fact that those who created it were genuine rebels like us, but it soon trended away from the avante garde towards the mainstream.

    Late in '66 I found Hauraki on my old valve radio & stayed with it a few years till it went mainstream. I was in the 6th form in Wanganui, and had been listening to the Sydney & Melbourne pop stations because they weren't as staid as ours - reception across the Tasman was surprisingly good after I ran a long section of clothes-line wire from the house to our big willow tree. Beat groups were jazzing up old classics & the Palmerston North band Pete Nelson & the Castaways had a hit with a sped-up version of the Skye Boat Song that year (also a hit in Oz & later appeared on a compilation CD of one-hit wonders in the '90s).

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I guess I'm uncomfortable with portraying the old Post Office radio inspectors as bumbling incompetents ... I knew some of them from back then and IMHO they were anything but

    More likely their bosses had Muldoon breathing down their necks and they were under extreme pressure. I think that more likely they wanted to make sure the equipment wasn't interfering with anyone else and otherwise look the other way.

    One of the local guys (a vague in-law) here used to be able to keep up two conversations at once, one in morse ... he also told of searching the Taieri Plains for an interfering radio source, finding it coming from a power country line he tracked it down to one pole, looking closely he found someone was nicking power, the wires went down the back of the pole, and were dug into the paddock, he pulled them up until he got to a barn where he found a still, he helped the cocky fix the noisy thermostat, but didn't report him, claiming the laws about radio confidentiality didn't allow him to.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2620 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    Pete Nelson & the Castaways had a hit with a sped-up version of the Skye Boat Song

    I remember that one. Speed bonny boat, like a turd on a string...

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    I guess I’m uncomfortable with portraying the old Post Office radio inspectors as bumbling incompetents … I knew some of them from back then and IMHO they were anything but

    More likely their bosses had Muldoon breathing down their necks and they were under extreme pressure. I think that more likely they wanted to make sure the equipment wasn’t interfering with anyone else and otherwise look the other way.

    Fair enough. But it was hard to read the original reports and not inwardly cheer for the clever students.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    I was on the periphery – got friendly with Selwyn Jones in ’71 who told me how he was deeply involved in building the Radio Bosom enterprise.

    He seems like a hugely interesting character – and a significant tastemaker when it came to music.

    Solidarity with Bosom was due to the fact that those who created it were genuine rebels like us, but it soon trended away from the avante garde towards the mainstream.

    Yes, there was clearly a shift around 1974 away from the original freaks to people who really wanted to work in radio – but any number of crazy things have happened around the station in the years since.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    ..like a turd on a string... : ) yeah, you're recycling what was happening in my mind at the time!

    Complex memes can be so infectious that they globalise - likely we picked it up from the cultural ambience. Probably originated in Scotland by youngsters paraphrasing the traditional 18th century line (about Bonnie Prince Charlie escaping his English pursuers).

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank,

    Incidentally, Russell, I also recall being introduced to Dave Neumegan by my friend Bob Hillier. They said there was an entire cabal of law students like them in Pipe Soc. I was briefly honoured at their invitation to join them (despite being a physics student) but smoking pipes in groups seemed kinda weird to me (but then I turned out to be allergic to tobacco).

    Bill Spring, who you mentioned, got elected by the silent majority of students. Us nonconformists were outnumbered about ten to one even at AU. Nationwide (general public) it was around a hundred to one. Ultraconservatism was once the pervasive norm in Aotearoa. Your references to our traditional culture in that era highlight the reactionary paranoia to the upwelling alternative. I've got a clipping from the Herald in my archive reporting the call from Holyoake's Minister of Police for the RSA to send a bunch of thugs to beat up the PYM next time they dared march in the street! The Stones had a #1 hit in England that wasn't broadcast here (I suspect not even Hauraki dared): Let's Spend the Night Together. The establishment had to prevent such moral perversion...

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Russell Brown,

    hugely interesting character – and a significant tastemaker when it came to music.

    He and Alastair Riddell were school mates, and we had music listening sessions back then. I remember him sending off voice tapes to radio stations. At uni that just expanded with flatting mixing things along. A host of music oriented people, situations etc. I was a part timer at the Arts Centre and the move back to campus thru knowing Selwyn and Glenn.
    A lot of those names I put faces to, from the period of course. I lost contact after that. One highlight was playing anti war songs before a Vietnam protest march. Had fun dropping bombs Sound FX I found from some record into songs that evening. ahh two turntables...

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Deep Blue, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    Thats brilliant !

    Te Awamutu • Since Sep 2014 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • Hugh Wilson,

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    A bit before my time, but do have this in the shelves - features a few live prank calls, certainly an outdated gimmick these days ..

    Melbourne • Since Feb 2013 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hugh Wilson,

    live prank calls, certainly an outdated gimmick these days

    we call them 'interviews' nowadays :(

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Hugh Wilson,

    A bit before my time, but do have this in the shelves

    One from out of the frozen tombs.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

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