Observant readers of this blog will have noticed my burgeoning interest in the adverts that punctuated the shows on hardcore jungle pirate radio stations. I've been combing through my own tapes (cursing the preponderance of recordings where I pressed pause when the ad break started) and trawling through sets that are online. The best adverts are distilled slivers of vibe and scene-character, and contain genuine sociohistorical interest. But mostly their nutty nonsense and DIY charm gives me a delicious memory-rush.
So I was well chuffed to come across a fellow obsessive in Luke Owen, the man behind the archival audio label Death Is Not The End. In the last month or so, Luke has put out London Pirate Radio Adverts, 1984-1993 Vol. 1 and the just-released London Pirate Radio Adverts, 1984-1993 Vol. 2 - both of which are available digitally at a name-your-price rate and for a modest amount as a limited-edition cassette or in CD form.
Here is my piece for The Guardian on the compilations, featuring quotes from Luke, pirate radio historian Stephen Hebditch, and DJ/producer Nick Power who played on Pulse FM and other pirates, and who made one of my favorite ads for his own record store Music Power Records (it can be found on the Vol. 1 compilation).
In a week or so I'll run the full chat with Luke about his project, which I hope will continue.
And do check out Luke's earlier collection from last year of sound snippets from the Bristol pirate radioscape of the late 90s.
Three of my favorite pirate ads.
The chap who voiced those Telepathy ads (there's a whole series of them running through the entire era) was called Sting and he was the founder of Club Telepathy and also owner-operator of Deja Vu FM.
His label Ruff Tuff & Wicked Stuff also put this minor classic out:
And this little SL2 piss-taker
In addition to his DJing and retail mini-empire (two records shops and store selling disco and sound system equipment), Power - being of Greek-Cypriot background - also pioneered clubbing in Ayia Napa, long before it became a UK Garage destination.