Andy Archer's 1974 Diary

Some years ago the legendary offshore disc-jockey Andy Archer wrote a piece about 1974 - his favourite time on Radio Caroline. It was published on Ad Roberts' website. Sadly Ad died in April 2018 and his website closed. Andy has very kindly allowed us to re-publish it on The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame. Caution: it does contain bad behaviour, drug use and the occasional swear word!


Andy wrote:
 
On October 2 2004 we staged a 30th anniversary reunion at De Omval Café in Amsterdam for those of us who had worked for Radio Caroline in 1974. Some of my notes from that time have long since been lost but the reunion rekindled so many memories that I decided to attempt to reconstruct them in the form of a diary. Special thanks must go to Hans Knot, Elija van den Berg, Johnny Jason, Dennis King, Dr. Martin van der Ven, Robb Eden, Graham Coull, Monitor Magazine and Ad Roberts for helping me recall the events of that time and put dates to them.
 
The first eight months of 1974 was a magical and enjoyable period on the mv Mi Amigo. It was certainly the happiest time of my radio career. I hope you will enjoy reading the following, which I shall begin with a few background facts.
 
THE SHIP
 
The Mi Amigo was built in the 1920s by Deutsche Werke A.G. of Kiel in West Germany, one of three identical coasters made in the same yard. During the Second World War she was commandeered by a German landing craft squadron based at Emden. She began her career as a floating radio station in 1961 as Radio Nord, broadcasting off the Swedish coast. Later she became the base for Radio Atlanta - and subsequently Radio Caroline South - until she was seized by the Wijsmuller Salvage Company to pay tendering debts. She was towed from her position off the coast of England on March 3 1968 to Amsterdam harbour.
 
In 1972 the company decided to sell both the Radio Caroline ships. The mv Fredericia (Radio Caroline North) was scrapped and the Mi Amigo was bought for the bargain price of £2,400 by the Hoffman Shipping Company, acting for pirate radio enthusiast Gerard van Dam. In September of that year she was towed along the North Sea canal and left the port of IJmuiden (with the Dutch authorities believing she was heading for England to become a pirate radio museum) for an anchorage off the Dutch resort of Scheveningen.
 
For the first eighteen months the dated equipment on board was unreliable and we were more off air than on. Luckily for us Radio Veronica ran aground in April 1973 and the Mi Amigo was hired to transmit its programmes for a few weeks until Veronica's ship, the Norderney, could put to sea again. As well as paying handsomely for this, Veronica installed new equipment which remained on the Mi Amigo right up to the day she sank on March 20 1980 in the Thames Estuary.
 
THE OFFICE

Andy Archer and Charlotte Ribbelink

Charlotte and Andy in the Van Hogendorpstraat office.

The Radio Caroline office was housed in a respectable residential street in The Hague at Van Hogendorpstraat 16. The first floor contained a large open-plan office area and there were a couple of recording studios on the second floor.
 
CHARLOTTE RIBBELINK joined the Caroline family in 1973 as a secretary and in 1974 became the office manager. Very tall and chic, she was then just 20 years old but, despite her youth, she was immensely competent and a great organiser. She was in charge of the day-to-day running of the station, handling the administrative side, and acting as Ronan O'Rahilly's link with the Radio Mi Amigo organisation.
 
Charlotte's assistant was RENÉ VAN DER SNOEK - very flamboyant, very funny and very attentive to his hair. We met in a bar in Den Haag - Charolotte's home city. He said he was looking for a job so I suggested he contact her. She took to him immediately and although I was never quite sure what he did around the office, he was always entertaining.
 
DENNIS KING was hustler-in-chief whose job consisted of looking after the studios, running the Racing Team and the Radio Caroline Road Show, and generally wheeling and dealing. He is German but speaks Dutch and English fluently and can talk his way into - and out of - anything. At that time he even had a chauffeur who he called “my slave”.
 
ELIJA VAN DEN BERG was responsible for the accounts and the record library. She was very much the hippy of the office, wore long flowing dresses, smelt of patchouli oil and was permanently stoned.
 
ROBERT DE GOEDE did odd jobs around the place - always enthusiastically. A friend of both Tony Allan and myself, he was then a student at the Kweekschool voor Detailhandel in Amsterdam. Another fluent English speaker and very bright.
 
KOOS VAN DUIN and LEUNIS TROOST had been poached from Radio Northsea International and were responsible for looking after the supplies, crews and tendering of the ship.

Koos van Duin and Leunis Troost

Koos van Duin and Leunis Troost.

The office opened in 1973 at a time when the Radio Caroline operation was a rather hit-and-miss affair - all great fun but lacking direction and money. However in late 1973 Ronan O'Rahilly struck a deal with Sylvain Tack. This Belgian businessman from Buizingen was keen to start a daytime commercial radio service aimed at Belgium and Southern Holland. When it came to ‘blagging’, Ronan was in a class of his own and it wasn't long before he convinced Tack that with the Caroline expertise (!) he would be on to a real winner. Tack's main source of income was a factory producing the most disgusting confection imaginable - Suzy Waffles - which were full of fat and sugar. At the time, Ronan was on a holistic health diet: mung beans and Pellegrino water were his thing. Suzy Waffles were not. However on a visit to the factory before the deal was signed, Sylvain Tack showed him the production line and insisted that Ronan try one. Ronan quickly declared “This is quite wonderful. I've never tasted anything so delicious in my life. I must take some back to London with me and I'm sure they will sell like hot-cakes in England.” When he returned to the office in The Hague he told me that the Suzy Waffle was “the most fucking disgusting thing I've ever tasted. I should have won an Oscar for my performance.” With the deal signed, it brought a major change in our fortunes. Tack was paying millions and millions of Belgian francs to Radio Caroline and we entered our most stable period since the 1960s. Tack's station was called Radio Mi Amigo. Most of its programmes were pre-recorded in the studios in The Hague (later in Breda in Noord Brabant) and sent out to the ship on the twice-weekly tenders from Scheveningen.
 
Sylvain Tack appointed a manager for Radio Mi Amigo called Eddie de Boeck - a really crazy Belgian guy who didn't seem to have much idea of what was going on. He would spend weekdays in the office, arriving each Monday with huge sums of cash from Belgium. He succeeded in spending these operational funds, and in considerable style too. We introduced him to some of the best restaurants in The Hague - like The Charcoal in the Denneweg, which was a favourite of Chicago, Rob de Goede and myself. We also discovered that Eddie was partial to the odd joint so Elija would often go out ‘shopping’ for him. He even sent some out to the ship and was later fired for misappropriation of funds.
 
THE SOUND

The Dutch language Radio Mi Amigo programmes went out from 0600 until 2100 (later 1900). During the remaining hours we were Radio Caroline (apart from a few weeks during which we operated as Radio Seagull). The Radio Caroline music format was based on ‘progressive’ album tracks. These gave us a more distinctive sound that any other station in Europe. It was a golden period in Caroline's history, and innovative too. It wasn't unusual for a whole album to be played without interruption. On occasions the disc jockeys wouldn't speak for an entire evening - very cutting-edge for the time. Ronan's big thing was ‘Loving Awareness’ which we did our best to promote. He described the idea in a somewhat rambling magazine interview thus:

Andy, Charlotte and Ronan

Two crew members plus Andy, Charlotte and station founder Ronan O'Rahilly on the tender leaving Scheveningen for the Mi Amigo.

“The disc jockeys all seem to care about the whole idea of communicating with people. If it wasn't for what I've seen has happened from the Loving Awareness effort we're all making, I mean it's like everybody in the station is involved with that, either in a little bit ... or not at all, there's all different levels. There's people who don't believe in it at all. They say it's not possible or it never happened before, or it couldn't possibly happen. Now to accept that view for me, is to accept that the planet is finished. So I'm an optimist and being an optimist, I have to look to the only possibility for the planet not being finished. And the only possibility for the planet not being finished is to get into Loving Awareness. We call it Loving Awareness because it is Loving ... Awareness: the love and awareness of other human beings. That's Loving Awareness. Now if we don't get into that, and because we have nuclear weapons, because the result of aggression is nuclear, and because nuclear wipes out the whole planet and everything living on it, the idea of continuing to handle nuclear weapons is crazy. We are generating an energy of Love for humanity. That's our contribution, to get people into that idea ... right? If that took off, then the people who become loving as a result of putting the effort in, and getting into the habit of it, they would then take a decision about nuclear weapons. In other words, they take the decision, it's nothing to do with us. We are just a catalyst. We are like a transmitter ... well that's what we are, a transmitter. We're transmitting this idea, we hope people pick up on it.”


 
Andy's 1974 Diary

 
January 1. Champagne corks were popped today. It's Radio Mi Amigo's first day on air. The pre-recorded programmes are presented by Bert Bennett, Will van de Steen, Norbert, Joop Verhoof, Mike Moorkens and Secco Vermaat. We are going to have to wait a few more days before Seagull programmes can go on air. The transmitter needs a bit of tweaking to improve the signal so Peter Chicago (our chief engineer) is working on it. (Secco Vermaat only stayed for a couple of months. He was the manager of the Metropole Palace Cinema in Den Haag and couldn't spare the time for what for him, was just a hobby.)
click to hear audio click to hear audio Will van der Steen from the first day of Radio Mi Amigo, 1st January 1974 (duration 2 minutes 46 seconds)

Andy Archer and Johnny Jason

Andy Archer and Johnny Jason.

January 8. Finally the English language programmes can go on air. We were on and off air all night because of transmitter problems. Ronan has said that any work on the transmitters has to be carried out during the evenings. He doesn't want the Radio Mi Amigo programmes interrupted. After all, they are our bread and butter ... or should that be waffles and butter? (Johnny Jason and I double-headed the first programme. It was a George Harrison special dedicated to Ronan, George and to Apple Records who had given us a stack of his music to play. Johnny had just returned to the ship after spending a rather hedonistic Christmas/New Year holiday in London. I had also been there for a couple of days.
click to hear audio click to hear audio Andy Archer and Johnny Jason re-opening Radio Seagull on the evening of 7th January 1974 (duration 5 minutes 2 seconds)

J.J. “Forgive the croaky voice, I drank far too much mead (a very sweet, very alcoholic English liqueur) at a King Henry VIII Medieval Feast at The Kensington Hilton over Christmas, along with you Andy, so you should remember it.”
A.A. “I also remember the bill.”
J.J. “Rather shattering!”
A.A. “I see you've brought a good supply of No.6 (his favourite cigarettes) on board. Is there a shortage in England?”
J.J. “There usually is after I've been in the shop.”
 
The atmosphere in the studio that night was very relaxing as J.J. and I got more and more inebriated on Artisan Vin de Pays (J.J. apologises for his terrible French pronunciation) served by Dennis. He couldn't find a corkscrew so he pushed the corks into the bottles with his finger. Just before playing ‘Living in the Material World’ we mentioned that we were thinking of buying a villa on the Costa de Sol. It's all getting out of hand. Then four bottles of Newcastle Brown appear in the studio. At one stage we both had a go at John Whitney, the Managing Director of Capital Radio in London, who, according to a newspaper article, had complained to the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications about the strength of our signal.
 
Brian Anderson also returned to the ship. I telephoned him at his home in Kent to ask if he would come back as a technical operator for the Radio Mi Amigo programmes. Within days he was presenting Radio Seagull programmes too.
 
January 9. In my opinion, J.J. is the best disc jockey we have, always up and always putting the music first. He's really cooking tonight, despite a heavy hangover from yesterday. The Electric Flag, The Keef Hartley Band, Janis Joplin and the whole side of an album by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown.
 
January 10. A listener from Sweden has written me. As I am thanking him on-air, one of the crew Jan Willem who is in the studio says “Andy, I speak Swedish” so I naively ask him to say hello to our Swedish listeners. Jan Willem is a lunatic and I should have known better. (As the following record was playing, I asked him what he had said. He told me that he was saying hello to a woman in Gothenburg and telling her how much he enjoyed their recent fuck together and that he was looking forward to seeing her again.)

Tony Allan and René van de Snoek

Tony Allan and René van de Snoek.

January 13. Charlotte Ribbelink and René van der Snoek from the office recorded a programme (in English) in the Van Hogendorpstraat studio the other day and it went out tonight. Lots of giggles from Charlotte and camp from René. It was great fun.
 
January 18. Mike Hagler joined us today. I met him a few days ago when he came to Van Hogendorpstraat to look for a job as a disc jockey. We all liked him straightaway. He's intelligent and relaxed - rather more so now than when he arrived at the office in a suit, shirt and tie, only to find us all in jeans and T-shirts. He's very experienced and has worked on KRLA and KABC in Los Angeles and KPPL in Pasadena.
(He greatly impressed Ronan when he began talking Loving Awareness and proved highly creative, writing most of the LA promos. This was one:
 
“You've just completed another gruelling day at the office.
Swinging out of the parking lot, you move your machine into high gear,
Only to slam your brakes to the floorboards to avoid the maze of cars piled before you.
It's a daily routine that never ceases to disgust you.
Yet today it's different; for today you are wearing your LA.
Yes, it really is all in the mind and LA has shown it to you.
Never again will you be caught with your DA hanging out
Because LA has definitely put you in the driver's seat.
Try it on for size; you'll find it makes all the difference.
Available wherever you are.”)
click to hear audio click to hear audio One of Mike Hagler's Loving Awareness promotions (duration 55 seconds)
Mike Hagler: As far as my involvement with it was concerned, it really all started as a joke. Ronan had said to me “Remember Mike, LA - sell it!” I thought ‘commercials’ which is really all I could call them. They were really designed to poke a little fun at this idea - but as it turned out, it became quite an exciting concept. Listeners started responding. They didn't know what LA or DA was and we made a little game out of it asking them to guess what they are. We gave some albums as prizes. Eventually we let everybody know what it was, and it just took off.
 
I did another series of Loving Awareness jingles and that created a big schism on the ship because some people were into it and some weren't. Some were embarrassed about it and some thought it was gross commercialisation of love and shouldn't be done; and I remember Peter Chicago our Chief Radio Engineer throwing the tapes over the side of the ship at one point because he didn't want to have any of this crazy Loving Awareness on the ship! It always went back and forth but I think it was a worthwhile concept to promote.)
 
January 19 & 20. We are off air because of generator problems which is a bit of a pisser.
 
January 20. Hundreds of letters are coming in for ‘School's Out’. Most of the kids are using it as a secret message service to get to their teachers and the system. It's pleasantly subversive. Crew-member Peter van Dijken is with me in the studio to help with my Dutch (we get a lot of letters from Holland and Belgium). Tonight's Top Five has been sent in by Wim Brouwer of Noordwijk. His choice reflects the real spirit of the programme.
 
Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath - Black Sabbath
Just Like Vince Taylor - Golden Earring
White Room - Cream
Burn - Deep Purple
 
January 24. Dennis King has been to Schiphol Airport and arrived back at Caroline House. “Great news everyone,” he said. “Look who's back.” In walked a sun-tanned Tony Allan, back after a long spell on the Peace Ship off Israel. It'll be fun having Tony around again. He's a great disc jockey and wonderful company, erudite, extremely funny and the most talented of us by far. The last time we saw him was a few months ago. He went over to London to pick up £3,000 from Ronan to bring back to Holland to pay for fuel during the oil crisis. Of course, Tony caught a plane straight to Tel Aviv to join the Peace Ship and, knowing him, had quite a time with the money. Good job we are such a forgiving lot.
 
A propos money, I am getting my first real wages for nearly a year and a half. After living on the breadline for so long, I'm being paid 1,800 guilders a month - so I decided to indulge myself a little. Mike Moorkens of Radio Mi Amigo drove Tony, Rob de Goede and me into Amsterdam. I booked into the Okura Hotel on the banks of the Amstel river next to the RAI Congress and Exhibition Centre - and Rob stayed for dinner. The German National Equestrian team (including the legendary Alwin Schockemöhle) are staying here too. Looks like I'm going to blow half of my wages this weekend. Still, easy come, easy go.
 
February 1. The tender failed to get out to the ship because of bad weather and there are no more Radio Mi Amigo pre-recorded programmes on board. The disc jockeys are taking it in turns to play non-stop music during the day without commercials.
 
February 2. A new supply of Radio Mi Amigo programmes arrive today by air. The sea is too rough for our tender to get alongside so the office arranged for a light aircraft to drop a large plastic barrel containing them a hundred metres away from the ship. Chicago and a couple of the crew launched the rubber dinghy to retrieve them in very bad weather which they did successfully. When they pulled up alongside the Mi Amigo, the container and the engine were put on board. However, the rope that was holding the dinghy to the side of the ship came undone and suddenly Chicago was floating away from us without an engine. All we could do was call the Scheveningen lifeboat who came out to rescue him and return him and the dinghy to the Mi Amigo.
 
February 6. Chicago announced during our programmes that the 50 kilowatt transmitter is now working and on full power. (Chicago was a brilliant transmitter engineer and very knowledgeable. Like me, he was a keen practical joker but, unlike me, somewhat to the right politically - which often led to heated but nonetheless interesting discussions in the mess room.)
 
February 13. The Radio Mi Amigo team are getting really pissed off that the studios in Van Hogendorpstraat aren't functioning properly. Ad Peterson is recording his programme in Culemborg and Bert Bennett and Joop Verhoof in Enschede. (Three days later the Van Hogendorpstraat studios were completed to everyone's satisfaction and all Mi Amigo programmes were subsequently recorded there.)
 
February 18. Dominee (that's Reverend, to you and me) Toornvliet's evangelical programme started today. It's a weekly half hour-long show. And he's paying Mi Amigo a lot of money for it.
 
Reception reports arrive from all over the place now that the transmitter is operating on full power. Abu Dhabi, Galveston USA, Morocco and India would you believe?
click to hear audio click to hear audio The start of Andy's Schools Programme on Radio Seagull, 18th February 1974 (duration 4 minutes 26 seconds)
February 23. Ronan has decided that we ought to drop Radio Seagull. Without any warning, we once more became Radio Caroline at 2100.
click to hear audio click to hear audio Andy reopening Radio Caroline on 23rd February with Johnnie Walker's Man's Fight For Freedom speech from 1967 (duration 1 minute 7 seconds)
February 26. Charlotte was flying to London for her weekly meeting with Ronan and asked me to come with her. We booked two first class tickets (paid for by Mi Amigo, of course). We were met at the airport by Ronan in a hired Daimler limousine - complete with liveried chauffeur - and headed for the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane. On arrival Ronan told the receptionist, “Lord and Lady Archer have two suites booked for a couple of days.” (Neither Charlotte nor I, needless to say, are aristocrats of any kind. J.J. - who IS - always called me “your lordship” and it has stuck.) Of course, she couldn't find any such booking but Ronan insisted, “It was telexed through from the Athens Hilton this morning.” The harassed receptionist regretted that they were fully booked and could not accommodate “his lordship and her ladyship”. However they had recently opened a new hotel - the Kensington Hilton in Holland Park Road - and she arranged a couple of rooms for us there.
 
February 27. We hear of fun and games back on the ship with a live link-up with (the Dutch state radio station) Hilversum 3. They are really pissed off about our strong signal and Ton van Duinhoven, a very respected broadcaster, had a bit of a bust-up on air with Peter Chicago.
(Van Duinhoven: “Peter, baby, listen. We've only got ten kilowatts, so what are you trying to do - kill us?”
Chicago: “We are aiming at a pretty wide audience. We are an international station.”
Van Duinhoven: “The only thing I know that when I came in here there was a note that several phone calls had been coming in during the daytime, people were asking how it is possible that Mi Amigo is so much stronger than you. Can't you turn it up a bit? We can't because we've got this fucking ten kilowatts, you know what I mean?”
Chicago: “Well I sympathise with you but you do have the advantage, of course, of being an FM station and I believe a lot of your listeners have the advantage of the quality of FM which is something in which we envy you. I live in Leidschendam and I listen to you and the signal is really excellent, especially when you are broadcasting in stereo. I'm sorry if you do have a problem with us being so close to your AM frequency.” )
 
Meet J.J. at his parents' house in Holland Park. We later go out for dinner with three friends to a very smart eatery in Kensington. As we order our food, a pompous waiter is treating five long-haired, probably stoned, people as if we were itinerants. “Will you be taking wine with your dinner?” he asked, looking down his nose. J.J. grabbed the wine list, spotted the most expensive and barked “Chateau Mouton Rothschild. Five bottles. Open them now. One each.”
 
February 29. Yesterday was the general election so we decided to hold a party in our rooms at the Kensington Hilton hoping that Edward Heath would win. None of us are Tories but we rather like the idea of closer ties to Europe - part of Heath's dream. What a night. Heath lost to Harold Wilson (whom none of us liked) so we decided to drown our sorrows. J.J. and I acted as waiters. We were up and down in the lifts all night ordering bottles of champagne and smoked salmon by the plateful for Ronan, Charlotte, Robb Eden and a few of Ronan's friends from the Kings Road.
 
This morning we were due to check out of the hotel but by then Ronan was nowhere to be seen. Charlotte and I were getting anxious as neither us of had enough money to pay the bill which must have been several hundred pounds after last night's excesses. We packed our bags and hung around the reception area waiting for Ronan to arrive. Eventually Charlotte managed to get Ronan on the telephone who said that we should try to get out without paying. In no position to argue, we rang J.J. who pulled up outside the front door in his father's Range Rover. Charlotte and I picked up our bags and headed for the exit but were stopped by the doorman. “Have you settled your account your lordship?” he asked. “Oh, how foolish of us,” we said, rather unconvincingly, and returned to the reception desk. Charlotte got on the phone to Ronan once more, very angry this time. “You must get around here at once. We're stuck here with no money and they won't let us out.” Eventually Ronan arrived and rather reluctantly pulled money from almost every pocket to pay the £600 bill (which for three days was going some). He was about £20 short and tried to blag a discount but they were having none of it so he bent down to retrieve the required amount from his socks.
 
March 1. We have a new source of money in the form of a daily religious programme presented by the Dutch evangelist Johan Maasbach. It's all fire and brimstone stuff. “Have you been washed in the blood of the lamb? Put your hand on the radio and send me your guilders!” Luckily he's giving us plenty of his.
 
As the office is awash with cash, we decide for the hell of it (forgive me, Johan) to throw a party at Van Hogendorpstraat. Charlotte and René take a van to the supermarket and fill it up with beer, wine, spirits and loads of food. Elija van den Berg, Peter van Dijken, Jaap de Haan, Rob de Goede, Eddie de Boeck, Tony, Dennis, Chicago, the Mi Amigo disc jockeys Will van der Steen, Mike Moorkens, Bert Bennett, Joop Verhoof, Secco Vermaat, and Bolland and Bolland (two very good Dutch singer/songwriters) all there. Got very loud and went on late into the night with everyone getting quite pissed. (Radio Mi Amigo had finally had enough of the antics of Van Hogendorpstraat and had moved to new studios in the Dutch town of Breda at Wilhelminastraat 24. The studios were over the record shop ‘Firma Spronk’. They sent a letter to advertising agencies with listening figures from a market research agency in The Hague: Caroline & Mi Amigo 12.3%, Veronica 10.3%, R.N.I. 9.9% and Hilversum 3 13.3% in the Benelux countries.)
 
March 3. Dominee Toornvliet's programme sounded funkier today. Dennis thought it was rather lacklustre so he mixed in some instrumental music to liven it up. Toornvliet was not amused.
 
There was a quite a serious fire in the engine room tonight and Peter and Jaap have been taken off the ship to the burns unit at Beverwijk Hospital by helicopter from the lifeboat. Is this God's way of telling Dennis not to interfere with Toornvliet's programme again?
click to hear audio click to hear audio Peter Chicago interrupts the programmes of Radio Mi Amigo to appeal for help after two crew members suffer burns in an accident (duration 2 minutes 6 seconds)
March 5. The Toad promos are with us again! (Bear with me on this one; all will be explained.) We've heard a rumour The Toad is leaving RNI - whether of his own volition or not is unclear - so we've launched a ‘Save the Toad’ campaign. Norman mixed my best Churchillian tones over Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance No 1 for what I hope will the first of a resumed exchange of Toadisms.

Caroline and RNI DJs

Caroline and RNI presenters waiting for the tender. Left to right: Brian McKenzie, Andy, A.J Beirens, Robb Eden.

The promo went like this:
 
“1971 saw the birth of The Toad. Three years have now passed and still The Toad continues to serve Britain in his own inimitable way.
1974 will be the year when the whole world recognizes the talent of The Toad.
In royal circles, heads of state are discussing the possibility of bestowing the world's highest award to this extraordinary creature. I speak of course of the Imperial Order of the Knee-Deep. Britain and the whole world should be proud of The Toad. Britain and the world need The Toad. And may The Toad go on forever, knee-deeping wherever knee-deeping is needed.”
 
We followed this with a request for letters of support to be sent to Radio Northsea International's address in Hilversum (Box 117, Hilversum, Holland).
 
Still confused? Then let me explain. ‘The Toad’ was our name for a disc jockey who had worked on Radio Northsea International since 1971. We won't trouble you with his real identity, beyond saying that he adopted an exceptionally deferential attitude in his dealings with his bosses. Not only was he toadying by nature, he was pure bufo bufo in appearance. And, as you know, the little warty ones make a sound not unlike “knee-deep”. Those on board RNI shared our sentiments towards The Toad. In fact they were the first to produce Toad promos. We responded as imaginatively as we could and it developed into a continuing interchange. The thing was quickly picked up on by the listeners - who were clearly bemused but took it for some sort of coded message system.
 
Here's another example: Robb Eden had been listening to Peter Sellers' record ‘Balham - Gateway to the South’ and adapted it into a Toad promo:
 
“We enter Toad-ham through the grasslands of Knee-deepersly Park and at once we are aware that here is a land of happy, contented toads who go about their daily tasks in true democratic spirit. Toads from all over the world come to this quaint little town to join in the annual Gloaters' Festival. As many as two thousand toads have been known to gloat at each other for hours on end. And so, as the long night draws on, the gloating stops. It's finished for another year. Next year, one never knows how many people will come to Toad-ham - the land of milk and honey. (Peter Sellers voice:) Honey's off dear.”

Andy, Samantha, Robb and Chicago

Left to right: Andy, Samantha Dubois, Robb Eden and Peter Chicago.

March 6. We need someone to cover the 3.00-6.00 shift. Sitting around the table in the mess room, all very stoned, we suggest Ellen Kraal - Chicago's girlfriend. She instantly agreed and quite fancies calling herself Samantha Dubois. (Ellen was Dutch but was brought up in New Zealand. On more than one occasion she regaled us in the mess room with lurid details about her sex life with Chicago.)
 
March 9. Peter and Jaap came back to the ship yesterday fully recovered from the incident in the engine room a week ago. They are both really nice guys who have stuck with Caroline through thick and thin. Peter did his first Caroline programme last night. His choice of music was fantastic.
 
March 14. On the front cover of this week's Radio Veronica magazine is a photo of the pop band Mud. Lead singer Les Gray is wearing a Radio Caroline tee-shirt. Off the air for maintenance work. The studio equipment is crap. Dennis has done a deal with Dekker Shipstores of Rotterdam and we're promised new equipment in return for free commercials.
 
March 15. Ronan arrived at Van Hogendorpstraat with a mixing desk for one of the studios. It has been given to us by Michael Lindsey of Purple Records. Ronan was rather curious as to why we were all in such a hurry to open the package. The reason: Michael had phoned to say he was including a little gift which was hidden under the desk - a large lump of cannabis. Ronan was furious, saying that he would have lost his visa to the United States if it had been discovered. After a while he calmed down and showed us his own method for rolling huge cones. (Michael Lindsey had always been very supportive of Caroline. In return for his many favours, we give him loads of airtime for new releases - Yvonne Elliman, Tucky Buzzard, Elf, Rupert Hine etc.. Whenever we went to London we would go to see Michael in Newman Street. He arranged for new releases from all of the London-based record companies to be sent to him and we took them out to the ship. Thirty years on it turns out that the mixer in fact belonged to Robb Eden. He bought it from Iemke Roos of the Radio Northsea International Drive-In show to record his contemporary music shows for RNI but never got to use it. Robb smuggled it out of Holland in his car, only to be smuggled back by Ronan. Michael Lindsey saw the mixer when he visited Robb's flat and asked if he would loan it to Caroline, until another one could be bought. Robb of course never did see it again.)
 
March 18. To mark our recent 10th anniversary, Chicago recorded an interview with Caroline's first disc-jockey Simon Dee which was broadcast tonight.
 
(Whenever we were on shore leave many of us tended to spend a few days on the Dijksgracht, a street behind Central Station in Amsterdam. Mike, Elija and her boyfriend George Georgson - a film and theatre director and part-time drug dealer who was quite bemused by the whole Caroline set-up but supplied us with plenty of food for thought - had houseboats there, The Avontuur and The Linquenda. It was always a restful, laid-back place where some amazing ideas for programmes and features were dreamed up over Mike's suppers of cheese fondue. During the summer months the grass bank that runs the length of the street was covered in marijuana plants. All the residents threw seeds on it during the spring and by the end of summer there was always a bumper crop.)
 
March 23. In London for a meeting with Ronan to discuss a new format. Last night we decided on a Top 40 album chart which will give the station a bit more continuity but without taking over the sound of the station. We met at The Casserole, a trendy bistro in the Kings Road opposite Ronan's flat in Paultons Square. (The Casserole was a fashionable haunt of the Chelsea set - models, actors and the like. Even Princess Anne, a school friend of one of Ronan's secretaries, was occasionally seen there.) It's always the same routine: go to Ronan's flat, ring the door bell and Ronan, using the voice of a little old lady, says through the intercom “Yes, who's there?” After identifying yourself, it's “See you over the road in a few minutes”. Spent a restless night at Ronan's. Had to sleep on a waterbed which was worse than trying to sleep in a gale on the Mi Amigo.
 
This was our first Top 40 album chart:  

Andy Archer

Andy Archer. Photo from the 16th March 1974 edition of ‘Record & Radio Mirror’.

01 Pretzel Logic - Steely Dan
02 What were once vices - The Doobie Brothers
03 Starless & Bible Black - King Crimson
04 Buddha & the Chocolate Box - Cat Stevens
05 The Hoople - Mott the Hoople
06 Court & Spark - Joni Mitchell
07 Live Rhymin' - Paul Simon
08 Now we are six - Steeleye Span
09 Slaughter on 10th Avenue - Mick Ronson
10 Chicago 7 - Chicago
11 Todd - Todd Rundgren
12 That's a Plenty - The Pointer Sisters
13 Solar Fire - Manfred Mann's Earth Band
14 Band on the Run - Paul McCartney & Wings
15 The Best of the Grateful Dead - The Grateful Dead
16 Burn - Deep Purple
17 Beatles 1967/70 - The Beatles
18 Queen Two - Queen
19 Dream Kid - Sutherland Brothers & Quiver
20 Unborn Child - Seals & Crofts
21 Carolina County Ball - Elf
22 Hard Rope & Silken Twine - Incredible String Band
23 Wild Tales - Graham Nash
24 The Free Story - Free
25 You don't mess around with Jim - Jim Croce
26 It's too late to stop now - Van Morrison
27 The Mountain Queen - Alquin
28 A New Life - Marshall Tucker Band
29 Live Dates - Wishbone Ash
30 Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Elton John
31 Selling England by the Pound - Genesis
32 Slow Dancer - Boz Scaggs
33 Happy Children - Osibisa
34 Tales from Topographic Oceans - Yes
35 Love is the Message - M.F.S.B.
36 Home Home - New Riders of the Purple Sage
37 Let me in your life - Linda Lewis
38 Moontan - Golden Earring
39 Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd
40 Sabbath Bloody Sabbath - Black Sabbath
 
March 25. Meister and Bollier, the owners of Radio Northsea International, have asked Chicago to take a look at their 105 kilowatt transmitter on the Mebo. Chicago politely refused, but in a most gentlemanly fashion. We are very lucky to have him. He's the best transmitter engineer around and could get a job almost anywhere and earn far more money.

 

Stern of the Mi Amigo

Left to right: Graeme Kay, Bill Danse (engineer), Graham Gill, Tony Allan, John Mair, Benny the Carpenter, Andy Archer, Peter van Dijken (crew).

 
April 11. Graeme Kay has arrived on board. An Australian, he's going to be a disc jockey and tech op with Radio Mi Amigo. His audition tape impressed us all and I rang to ask him to come over and join us. He flew out from London yesterday. Great voice - which his appearance belies. Tonight, he co-presented a program with Samantha, what an initiation. (I had arranged for Graeme to be picked up from the KLM terminal in The Hague. Chicago drove out to meet him but returned after a couple of hours saying he couldn't find him. So Dennis got his chauffeur to drive him there to see if they could find Graeme. Dennis takes up the story: “As the terminal emptied, there were just a few people left. They were all girls apart from a very small guy - almost a midget - with a huge moustache. He was wearing a checked jacket a few sizes too big for him and looked like he had walked out of a Walt Disney comic. This could not be the big strong man with the ultra-deep voice that we had visualised. I rang Elija in the office who told me that Graeme had just called and was indeed waiting in the terminal. So I walked up to this double for Speedy Gonzales and said ‘Hello. I'm Dennis King from Radio Caroline. Are you Graeme Kay?’ He rose and, in his bass-modulated voice, boomed, ‘Oh, hi there! Yes, I am Graeme Kay. How wonderful of you to come and pick me up!’ When they arrived back at Van Hogendorpstraat, everyone greeted Graeme - but in utter disbelief.)
 
April 20. Samantha is becoming quite a star and more outrageous. Tonight I crept into the studio to try to put her off as she was doing a link. (We did it all the time with one another.) As Samantha opened the microphone, I fondled her tits and she said, live on air, “Andy Archer has just walked into the studio and grabbed my tits. Fuck off.” (She used to get hundreds of suggestive letters from men. Once she ripped a letter up in front of the microphone and called the sender a “fucking dirty pervert”.)
 
April 23. Radio Mi Amigo ads for Suzy Waffles are driving us mad. Today saw the introduction of yet another one for them. Someone has had the effrontery to edit a Kenny Everett ad for Kentucky Fried Chicken and include it in the commercial so it sounds as though he is recommending them. We are all so fed up with the continual supply of waffles from Tack that we are feeding them to the seagulls.
 
April 27. In London. Met up at Polydor Records in Stratford Place with Woolly Wolstenholme from Barclay James Harvest to record an interview. I then called Mike Baker at Capital Radio in London who is a big supporter of Caroline and asked if I could edit and mix the programme in the Capital studios. Went to Euston Tower just after midnight when all of the management had gone home and we mixed an hour-long programme about the Barclays.
 
April 28. Charlotte and I met up with Peter and Jaap last night - our favourite crew members. We invited them over to London for a couple of days to show them the sights. In the evening we went to the Hard Rock Café in Old Park Lane. A letter of complaint signed by disc jockeys and crew has been sent to Ronan about the quality of the food being sent out to the ship - mostly tinned stuff and very little in the way of fresh meat, fruit or vegetables. We suspect that Koos and Leunis are on the fiddle. (Koos and Leunis were in charge of supplies. Ronan rang them in response to the letter and the food quickly improved.)
 
(The same day a new disc jockey arrived on the ship. John Mair came from Peterhead in Scotland. A big country rock fan, he was a gentle and homely guy and was slightly freaked out at first by our antics. But we all liked him and quickly christened him “Jessie”.)

Norman Barrington

Norman Barrington.

May 1. Norman Barrington and I decided to bake a ‘space cake’ but as neither of us had made one before, we were unsure of how much cannabis to put into the mixture. It goes without saying that we put too much in. When it was ready, all of the disc jockeys sat around the table eating it, drinking tea and getting incredibly stoned. Captain Meyer and his crew walked into the mess room for their afternoon break. “Ah! Chocolate cake,” said the captain. As one we all said that it was terrible, that Norman and I didn't know how to make a cake and that it ought to be thrown overboard. But the captain insisted upon trying it. We gave a wink to Peter and Jaap so they knew exactly what to expect. All three of them tucked in and it wasn't too long before all on the ship were out of their heads. I remember Captain Meyer sitting in his chair for hours, laughing continually. That's about all I CAN remember from then on.
 
(Norman Barrington was a real hippy and a big Bob Dylan fan. He was very creative - both in the production studio and with Rizlas. He could roll the biggest joints I've ever seen.)
 
May 2. Robb Eden has joined us on the ship from RNI. He's going to work for Radio City in Liverpool from the beginning of September so he has the summer to enjoy himself with us. He's a big fan of Dutch bands like Earth and Fire, Alquin, Kayak, Focus and Golden Earring, and has great connections with the record companies.
click to hear audio click to hear audio Robb Eden, with another spoof Toad commercial, followed by John Mair (duration 3 minutes 56 seconds)
Weather is very calm at the moment so we decided to take a trip over to the Radio Veronica ship to say hello to their newsreader Arend Langenberg and the crew. We went on board a Scheveningen fishing boat which had been tied up alongside for most of the afternoon. The crew said they'd like to see the Norderney too. We were invited onto the ship for drinks and stayed until quite late. When we finally went up on deck to leave, we found there was a very heavy fog and visibility was down to just a few metres. For the next couple of hours we were chugging blindly around the North Sea. The crew on the Mi Amigo were watching us on the ship's radar and told us later that at one stage we were heading for the beach. Eventually as the fog began to lift we navigated our way back to the Mi Amigo.
 
(I went into the studio to watch Arend present the 18.00 news followed by the shipping forecast which he read in faultless English. Halfway though, one of the crew quietly entered the news booth and crushed a raw egg on top of his head. Somehow Arend managed to finish the report without ‘cracking up’ as the slimy white of the egg slowly slid down his forehead and his not insignificant nose. Arend is a fascinating character. He's the only person I have ever met to have successfully gate-crashed a Buckingham Palace garden party.)
 
May 3. In the afternoon, a little blue wooden boat with an outboard motor approached us from the direction of the Norderney. It contained a couple of their crew. They had come to ask for a few cases of beer as we had drunk their entire week's supply yesterday. Later some of the guys from Radio Northsea International turn up in their dinghy to join us for afternoon tea. As the dinghy came alongside Graham Gill stood up with an empty cup in his hands and announced in his broad Australian accent, “We've run out of fucking sugar.”
 
May 6. Two tenders in one day. Ronan came out on the Eurotrip along with food and oil. A few hours later he was back again with Robin Banks from RNI who had worked for us in '72 and '73 as a radio engineer. We have a transmitter problem and Ronan has blagged Robin to come out and take a discreet look as Chicago is away on holiday. Hans Knot of Pirate Radio News was also on the tender and had to be locked in the lavatory for twenty minutes when it got back to Scheveningen. He had no passport with him and the captain of the tender would have been in deep shit if he had been found.
 
May 7. Robin Banks is back on RNI presenting his daily programme. It seems no-one knows about the little bit of assistance he gave us yesterday.
 
On shore now, I interviewed a couple of members of the Dutch band Alquin, Hein Mars and Ronald Ottenhoff, in our studio at Van Hogendorpstraat. They are one of the most innovative Dutch bands with a great rock/jazz feel and we are always playing tracks from their album ‘Mountain Queen’ like ‘Mr. Barnum Jr.'s Magnificent And Fabulous City’ and ‘The Dance’.
 
I have been offered my old job back on R.N.I. by Edwin Bollier through my friend Brian McKenzie. Although it would be fun working with Brian, Robin Banks and Robb Eden, and flattering to be asked, I decide against it as I am more than content with life on board the Mi Amigo.
 
May 17. Bert Bennett of Radio Mi Amigo got married to Gea Ketzener in Enchede today. Radio Mi Amigo apologised that there would be no Drive-In shows tonight as all of the disc jockeys will be at the wedding reception.
 
(Will van der Steen, Joop Verhoof, Norbert, Peter van Dam, Mike Moorkens and Sylvain Tack (with his latest girlfriend) were all there. The singers Cindy and J. Vincent Edwards also turned up, along with Willy van Boughaute from the band The Garnets.)
 
May 20. Had lunch with Ronan and J.J. in The Casserole. Ronan is an hour late but that's par for the course. J.J. is back from the USA. He had told us he wanted to work there and had gone over to find a job. Luckily for us he couldn't find anything suitable. J.J. is always the life and soul of the party. Ronan is very happy with the music we are playing but wants to hear more L.A. After lunch J.J. and I went to a tobacconist in the Burlington Arcade to get some Royal Dragoons. They are supposed to be the most expensive cigarettes in the world and we fancy trying a packet. The assistant gave us a rather blank look and said that he had never heard of them. So we bought a packet of No. 6 then caught the tube to Liverpool Street Station. We got off the train at Colchester to call in and see two old friends of mine, John and Marion, then on to H. Gunton's, an old family grocer in the town. Marion drove us to the ferry terminal in Harwich. There were no second class cabins available on the ship, so we up-graded.
 
(I often called into Guntons when I was in Colchester to get goodies to take to the ship to curb our frequent attacks of ‘the munchies’. They also sold an amazing selection of teas like Formosa Oolong, Gunpowder and Russian Caravan which made a pleasant change from the crap that we were supplied with.)
click to hear audio click to hear audio Johnny Jason's return to Caroline (duration 2 minutes 35 seconds)
May 25. Record and Radio Mirror has announced that the Mi Amigo will head for England when the Dutch Marine Offences Act comes into operation. It's the first we've heard of it.
 
May 26. Last night was the first Saturday ‘party programme’ between 10 and 2. J.J. and Robb Eden are co-presenting it. I handed over to them at 10 o'clock - but by then our own on-board party had already been going on for a good three hours so J.J. and Robb were pretty tanked up. They both fell into the studio as my last record was finishing. I asked how the party was going. J.J.: “There's only one word for it, Andrew - superb.” Great programme, though. Lots of live music - Sly and The Family Stone, Vinegar Joe, The Doobie Brothers. At one stage Chicago came into the studio very pissed and in a slurred voice announced “I've had a little too much to drink”. After that, not much was said. Almost non-stop music. At 2 o'clock ‘Radio Caroline Declares War’, an hour-long special featuring the American funk band War.
 
June 1. A wonderfully sunny day at sea and the Brits decide to declare war on the Dutch crew with an egg and water fight out on the decks. Great fun. Chicago went berserk with the fire hose and drenched just about everyone on board from both sides of the battle. It came to a rapid close when we ran out of eggs and dry clothes. Jaap lost his glasses over the side of the ship and had to borrow Captain Meyer's binoculars to watch television.
 
Later in the afternoon we were visited by The Fortuna from Scheveningen with 50 or so pirate fans on board. The trip out was organized by Hans Verbaan of the Dutch Free Radio Campaign. I went on deck with a microphone during the Mi Amigo English programme to welcome them. J.J. was most disappointed at the lack of females among the visitors.
click to hear audio click to hear audio Andy interrupts Graeme Kay's programme on Radio Mi Amigo to welcome the visitors (duration 4 minutes 40 seconds)
News from the Zandvoort Motor Racing circuit in Holland where the Radio Caroline Racing Team are taking part in the International Whitsun Races. Our driver Mike Gordon-Smith clocked the second fastest time in his Ford Escort Mexico and will start from the second position on the grid on Monday.
 
Harry ‘The Smoker’ Bergman has rejoined us as a technical operator for the Radio Mi Amigo programmes. (He spent a short period on board during the days of Radio Atlantis in 1973.) Harry is a student at the Technische Universiteit in Delft and is having a bit of a sabbatical with us. We call him ‘The Smoker’ because he's always puffing away on very expensive Cuban cigars. He's very into stocks and shares and insists that back copies of The Financial Times are sent out on the tender. (Perhaps we should have asked him for a few tips on how to make real money.)
 
June 2. We've started to promote a concert of Indian Music to be held at Southwark Cathedral in London later this month. It's in aid of the Ramana Health Clinic where Ronan is a patient. It will feature Ravi Shankar on sitar. Tickets cost up to £50.
 
June 3. We get news from Dennis at the Zandvoort circuit. Mike Gordon-Smith was involved in a crash early in the race but carried on and eventually finished sixth.
 
June 5. In England. Ronan, Charlotte, Michael Lindsey and I drove to South Benfleet in Essex to see Buster Pearson who has been a great supporter of Radio Caroline since the day it first went on the air. He always monitors our broadcasts and passes on messages that we give out in code. He was delighted to meet Ronan for the first time and we spent an enjoyable afternoon in his company.

Mickey Mercer and son

Mickey Mercer and his young son Lance in Delft.

June 10. I've been listening to Mickey Mercer (the sanest person on board) who is on air between 3 and 6am. He is as mellow as ever playing some pretty amazing music: Mike Nesmith, Brinsley Schwartz, Stephen Stills, Country Joe McDonald, Van Morrison. He is also the ‘night cook’ on the ship and his meals are always interesting. You never really know exactly how you are going to behave after eating them. His Moroccan vegetable stew can leave you spaced out for days. Mickey and his wife Sue and son Lance live in a hippy-style flat in Delft which, like the Dijksgracht, is a haven for us all when we are on shore-leave. Last month Graham Coull - a friend of Dennis - was driving a car-load of people to Mickey's for a party. Dennis was in the car along with Samantha, Tony, Elija and Norman - who decided to light up a ‘special’. Graham wasn't too keen on this. He thought the Dutch traffic police might take a dim view if they stopped an overloaded car with a driver who couldn't see where he was going because of wacky baccy smoke. So he asked him to put it out. Norman paid no attention until Tony, very quietly and diplomatically, said, “Not just now, love. We'll be at Mickey's in a few minutes.”
 
June 14. Graham Gill has joined us from RNI. We're all happy about this as he is something of a pirate radio legend and a great character. He's Australian but he's been living in a little flat in the Blasiustraat in Amsterdam since 1967. He worked on several pirate stations in the 1960s off the British coast. Tony tells me about the time he was walking down a street in London with Graham and a few friends. Graham spotted a young window cleaner up a ladder and decided he'd like to get to know him. Most would have hung around until he came down the ladder. Not Graham. He put a cigarette in his mouth and climbed the ladder, tapped the guy on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me. Have you got a light?” Graham later took the guy back to his flat but not, I suspect, to apply any Windolene.
 
(Graham was very set in his ways. He would eat sardines and drink Guinness after every programme. He also graded all our arses - A plus, A minus, B plus, etc. - according to their size, shape and firmness. Jaap won the highest grade - an A with three pluses. I was an A minus. At 37, Graham was a bit older than the rest of us. He compensated for this, however, by remaining 37 for at least ten years.)
 
Graham has brought a Monopoly set out to the ship. Graham, Peter van Dijken, Jaap de Haan, Benny the carpenter and I played it in the mess room. It's the Dutch version and Benny was the convincing winner. Tony gave us a mention on air and pointed out that, sadly, the board contains no Central Station or Rembrandtsplein - two of Graham's favourite haunts.
 
June 16. Last night I appeared with the Radio Caroline Roadshow at Porte d'Or, a strip-club on the Rembrandtsplein in Amsterdam. It's not the sort of establishment one would normally associate with Radio Caroline, but Dennis has been blagging. He promised the owner of the club - a very fat guy who makes awful records under the name ‘De Zingende Nachtclub Eigenaar’ (The Singing Nightclub Owner) - that he would guarantee his latest release is played on Radio Mi Amigo in return for a wad of cash and a booking for the Road Show. (The record WAS played by Brian Anderson on the English service of Radio Mi Amigo. However, Brian's knowledge of Dutch was pretty limited and he thought the singer owned a club called ‘De Zingende’.) After the roadshow finished, the striptease began. But the sound system kept cutting out, interrupting the music. One stripper had revealed most - but not quite all - of her assets when the music died yet again. She snatched her gold cloak from the stage and flounced off to silence. As she passed Tony - who had come along with me - said, “Never mind, love. It was good enough for this lot anyway.”
 
A ‘new’ second hand transmitter has just been delivered to us.

Stonehenge

Festival of Loving Awareness at Stonehenge.

June 21. Mike and Norman's hard work in organising a Festival of Loving Awareness at Stonehenge on Midsummer's Day has paid off. About 8,000 people turned up. Mike and I drove to Wiltshire via Cheyne Walk in London. There we picked up Keith Richards's personal assistant (a friend of Mike's) who wanted to come too. Norman was already on site when we arrived. It was a joyous day of LA, music and sampling various illegal substances. Ronan made an appearance, arriving in a huge limousine which - for such an event - was most inappropriate. He was suffering from hay fever. Country life, he said, wasn't for him - so he held court from the back seat. Some very strange people turned up including Zorch, the first British all-synthesizer band. They played some pretty weird psychedelic electronic music through a very dodgy sound system.
click to hear audio click to hear audio Mike Hagler's promotion for the Stonehenge Festival of Loving Awareness (duration 1 minute 14 seconds)
(When the festival ended, a group of about thirty people stayed on the site in a field next to the stone circle. They lived in tents and built a plastic covered geodesic dome, a kind of structure shaped like a piece of a sphere. The Department of the Environment and the National Trust tried to evict them. That involved getting a High Court injunction against each individual. Looking for a loophole in the law, they all decided to adopt the name of Wally. Eventually the case was taken to court and they all turned up in London wearing fancy dress. The following appeared in The Times on August 13:

The Wallies

The Wallies.

“A strange hippie cult calling themselves ‘Wallies’ claim God told them to camp at Stonehenge. The Wallies of Wiltshire turned up in force at the High Court today. There was Kris Wally, Alan Wally, Fritz Wally, Sir Walter Wally, Wally Egypt and a few other wandering Wallys. The sober calm of the High Court was shattered as the Wallies of Stonehenge sought justice. A lady Wally called Egypt with bare feet and bells on her ankles blew soap bubbles in the rarefied legal air and knelt to meditate. Sir Walter Wally wore a theatrical Elizabethan doublet with blue jeans and spoke of peace and equality and hot dogs. Kevin Wally chain-smoked through a grotesque mask and gave the victory sign to embarrassed pin-striped lawyers. And tartan-blanketed Kris Wally - ‘My mates built Stonehenge’ - climbed a lamp-post in the Strand outside the Law Courts and stopped bemused tourists in their tracks. The Wallies (motto ‘Everyone's a Wally: Everyday's a Sun Day’) - made the pilgrimage to the High Court to defend what was their squatter right to camp on Stonehenge ... The Department of the Environment is bringing an action in the High Court to evict the Wallies from the meadow, a quarter of a mile from the sarsen circle of standing stones, which is held by the National Trust on behalf of the nation. The document, delivered by the Department to the camp is a masterpiece of po-faced humour, addressed to ‘one known as Arthur Wally, another known as Philip Wally, another known as Ron Wally and four others each known as Wally’. For instance, paragraph seven begins resoundingly: ‘There were four male adults in the tent and I asked each one in turn his name. Each replied ‘I'm Wally’.’ There are a soft core of about two dozen, peace-loving, sun worshipping Wallies - including Wally Woof the mongrel dog. Hitch-hikers thumbing their way through Wiltshire from Israel, North America, France, Germany and Scotland have swollen their numbers. Egypt Wally wouldn't say exactly where she was from - only that she was born 12,870 years ago in the cosmic sun and had a certain affinity with white negative. Last night they were squatting on the grass and meditating on the news.”)
 
June 25. In one of the Dutch newspapers there's an article saying that during their last three weeks of broadcasting, Radio Veronica's programmes will probably be relayed on our frequencies. I don't think so. Well, not unless they pay us a fortune.
 
Today Mickey asked me if I knew anything about cricket. England are playing India and Mickey has been listening to the commentary on Radio Three. He's never seen the game but he's mesmerised by Test Match Special and John Arlott, Brian Johnston, Henry Blofeld and the rest. He's just fascinated by the whole thing, even though he has no idea what they're talking about. I told him I play it when I can and tried to explain the rules. I think he's probably still as much in the dark as ever he was.
 
(When I was next on shore, I sent a telegram to Trevor Bailey - one of the Test Match Special summarisers - telling him about Mickey. During the next Test, the team spent some time talking about him, his home town of Delft and its history of pottery. Mickey was so amazed that he baked me a cake as a thank you. This was very in keeping with Test Match Special as many of their listeners send cakes to the commentators - though I suspect not containing some of the ingredients that were in mine.)
 
June 26. The daily Radio Mi Amigo English programme has come to an end. Caroline will now start at 1900 each day. Brian Anderson will stay as a Caroline disc-jockey and Graeme Kay will become one of the Radio Mi Amigo technical operators on board.
 
June 27. Harry van Doorn, the Dutch government minister who is bringing in the act to close down the pirate stations, was interviewed on Hilversum 3. He was asked what will happen if any of the stations decide to carry on after August 31, to which he replied, “Steps will follow to get them off the air.” When asked if that meant using paratroopers, Van Doorn laughed.
 
June 30. Mike has put together a ‘Stonehenge Special’ which we are going to play on Sunday night. He's edited all of the recordings we made on the site. Howie Phillips, a really nice guy with an amazing voice is singing a couple of songs. His own composition ‘Let the Music Roll’ and a cover of the Incredible String Band's ‘Koeeoaddi There’.
 
July 1. The Van Hogendorpstraat office has closed today and is moving to smaller premises in Rotterdam to save money. Charlotte is becoming less and less involved in the running of the station. She has been quite ill and is spending lots of time in London. René and Elija will continue to work from Rotterdam (commuting from Den Haag in René's green Volkswagen beetle) and Dennis has taken on a small office on the corner of Sarphatipark in Oud Zuid (old south) Amsterdam as his blagging base.
 
July 4. This evening we discovered the ship-to-shore radio wasn't working. Captain Meyer asked our engineer Bob Noakes to repair it but he's been acting very shiftily. Shortly afterwards Mike called me into his cabin and told me some dirty tricks were afoot. Bob has let him know he's involved in a plot to take over the ship. It's being led by Chris Cary, who worked on the station in 1972 and 1973, the former captain Dick Palmer and others. They feel they've been badly treated by Ronan in the past, and they're planning to come out to take the ship early tomorrow morning, shortly before our own tender is due.
 
So that is clearly why the ship-to-shore isn't working. But neither Mike nor I are keen on the idea. The station is now running as well as can be expected and there is plenty of money coming in from the Radio Mi Amigo service. We talked about it for a while and decided to tell Captain Meyer. We agreed that we must get a message to Ronan. I made a recording, explaining what the plotters were up to and appealing to Ronan for help. I then announced during the early evening programme that there would be a message for Buster Pearson at eight o'clock. Knowing that he would be recording the output, I played the recording at double speed, in the hope that he could then play it back at normal speed.
click to hear audio click to hear audio Andy Archer's emergency message slowed down to normal speed (duration 54 seconds)
(In the event, Buster heard the message and rang Ronan straightaway. Ronan called the plotters and revealed that he knew what was going on. He also arranged for a boat with Koos van Dijken (Peter's brother) and some ‘heavies’ on board to come out to the Mi Amigo to look after us. They arrived early the following morning and the plot was foiled. The scheming little shit was fired for his involvement. He'd also betrayed his friends and colleagues on board. Had it not have been for his indiscretion, it could have turned out rather nasty. Captain Meyer told us that he would not have handed over the ship under any circumstances.)
 
Poor old Graham has a back problem (great excuse) and Dennis has negotiated a deal with a record shop in Amsterdam for him to record his programmes there in return for free advertising spots. I think Graham prefers life in Amsterdam to spending three weeks in four out on the ship. The owner, Henk, has installed a reasonable studio set-up in his shop, Record World on the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal. Rob de Goede acts as Graham's panel operator and producer.

Caransa Hotel

The Caransa Hotel.

July 10. Spent the night in a luxurious suite at the Caransa Hotel in Amsterdam as Ronan's ‘thank you’ for my part in stopping the takeover of the ship. The sitting room contained a large private bar with every drink imaginable. Tony and Graham came to visit and we drank and talked into the early hours. It was only when I woke (late) that I realized the impact we'd had on the bar. There was a sign saying that the contents of the bottles were measured before guests checked out and that any amount consumed would be put on the bill. I had no alternative but to ‘replenish’ the bottles myself. The gin and vodka were easy enough: water from the bathroom tap. The whisky and brandy proved a little trickier, but carefully-diluted tea and coffee eventually did the trick.
 
(When I told Tony afterwards, all he said was “Thank fuck I wasn't the next guest in THAT room”. Good job we didn't drink any of the tequila.)
 
July 17. Mike Hagler, Elija van den Berg, Norman Barrington and Tony Allan are off to Holland's biggest rock festival of the year in the Hilversumse Sportpark. Tim Buckley, The Allman Brothers Band, The Doobie Brothers, John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra and Van Morrison are all playing.
 
(Mike recorded an interview with John McLaughlin which was later broadcast. He also had a chat with Tim Buckley. It turned out that they lived in the same street in Los Angeles. The local council had stipulated that all music at the festival had to stop at 20.00 as it was being held in a residential area. The Allman Brothers went on stage at 18.00 and played a two-hour set which left no time for Morrison to perform. So he didn't.)
 
We were having one of those stoned gatherings last night in The Hippy Hilton (one of the cabins) - putting the world to rights, discussing the meaning of life and probably making no sense at all. After a while we got ‘the munchies’ and J.J. decided to raid the food cupboard. He loaded himself up with half a dozen large cartons of vla (a Dutch vanilla flavoured pudding similar in texture to yoghurt) when he was caught red-handed by Captain Meyer who asked him what he was doing with such a large amount. Johnny replied, “Oh, I'm very hungry” and rushed back to the Hippy Hilton. A few minutes later Captain Meyer put his head around the door to see Peter, Jaap, Mike (Wall-Garland), Robb, J.J. and myself looking very spaced out and giggling. He just took a deep breath and said, ‘Ah. Stuff rokers” (smokers) in his broken English and left.
 
July 18. Went ashore today with J.J. who is going to spend a few days in Paris. We are replaced by Mike, Norman and John Mair. Mickey and his wife Sue and son Lance are also on the tender. They are going to spend a few days on the ship - as is Cor, one of Mike's friends from the Dijksgracht. Tony and I went to Graham's flat in the Blasiustraat to eat ‘nasi goreng’, an Indonesian speciality of his. He wanted to catch up with the news and gossip from the ship as he is now recording his programme in Record World. The conversation over dinner was frequently interrupted by Graham leaping from his chair and running to the window whenever a ‘Grade A’ passed in the street. At one stage we ran out of beer and he asked me to get some more from the snackbar around the corner. You get used to this after a few visits to Graham. He hands you a bag of empty bottles; there's a 10 cent refund on each one, and you are expected to pay the balance. We decided to spend the night there as we had had too much drink. At 11.30 Graham left us to go on the ‘Midnight Special’, his name for his nightly cruise around the seedier parts of Amsterdam. Later, Tony and I played a very naughty, but funny trick on Graham and his conquest. I won't go into the sordid details here. He was very annoyed. Suffice to say, Tony and I howled with laughter all night. (Graham later saw the funny side of it, after he had washed the sheets!)
 
July 21. Dennis is with the Caroline/Mi Amigo Racing Team. They are in action at the Zandvoort circuit over the weekend competing for the 1974 Zandvoort Trophy. Our team is Mike Gordon-Smith, Henk Bosman and Hans Kieviet. We are now sponsored by Castrol GTX and Stop International Promotions - whoever they are!!
 
July 24. Caroline is into a soul groove tonight. Mike Hagler always features a different type of music between 11 and 12 on Wednesday evenings. He's been along to a specialist record shop in Amsterdam - Buddah Records on the Nieuwendijk - where Ruud Jacobs has given him some amazing imports from the States to play - like Eric Mercury, Anne Peebles, Cold Blood and The Blackbyrds.
 
August 1. The Dutch Marine Offences Act comes into force at the end of this month and most of us are deciding what to do - stay with the Mi Amigo and go over to the English coast or look for new jobs. Radio Veronica have announced today that they will definitely stop broadcasting on August 31. There are rumours that Radio Northsea International will sail to the Mediterranean to start a new station in the Bay of Genoa off Italy called Radio Nova.
 
August 2. Just after midnight Chicago, Robb Eden and myself were wide awake and decided on a spot of mischief-making. How about a ‘raid’ on the Radio Northsea International ship Mebo 2 (known to us as the painted madam) which is anchored only a couple of miles away? The captain and crew had gone to bed so the three of us inflated the rubber dinghy and quietly launched it. When we were fifty or so metres away from the Mi Amigo we started the engine and headed for the Mebo. As we reached the half way point the boat started to bend in the middle, to our horror. We had put it together rather hurriedly and it was falling apart. It was very dark and we had no emergency flares or life-jackets with us. Then the engine gave up and water started to enter the boat. Robb and I were baling out like lunatics while Chicago worked on the engine. We were very frightened indeed. Eventually he got it started and we made our way very slowly over to the side of the Mebo with Robb and I still baling furiously with cupped hands, and Chicago holding the engine in position. As luck would have it the Mebo's crew had forgotten to haul in the ladder over the side of the ship so we were able to grab it and tie the dinghy alongside. We climbed up on board and walked along the deck, through the mess room and downstairs to the studio. No one was about and Robb walked into the on-air studio. Robin Banks (Adcroft) was on the air and simply said, “Hi Robb”. He then realized that Robb had left Radio Northsea a couple of months ago to join us. When he saw Peter and I he screamed, “What the fuck are you doing here?” After Robin finished his programme we all went up to the mess room and sat drinking and talking throughout the night until the captain came up for breakfast. He was not entirely happy to see us. Radio Northsea International, unlike Veronica, does not allow personnel from the other stations on board. He immediately called for a tender from Scheveningen. We were returned to the Mi Amigo only to receive a bollocking from Captain Meyer who thought we were crazy and should be locked away.
 
Michael Wall-Garland - better known as Mike the Poet - left us today. He's been with the station as a crew member since the very early days. Mike is a bit of a romantic and seems completely out of place in the 20th century. He should have lived in the days of Byron, Keats and Shelley. When he wasn't crewing he would compose poems, some of them extremely depressing, and read them on air. But we'll all miss him as he's been part of the fittings for so long.
 
August 4. The Radio Caroline Picnic took place today in the Vondelpark in Amsterdam - by the lake near the open theatre. It was Mike's idea - just an impromptu gathering of our listeners, much like the Stonehenge experience in June.
 
(A couple of thousand Caroline listeners turned up to the event in what was then a hippy haven - about 120 acres of parkland just a short walk from the Leidesplein. It's known as the ‘green lung’ of Amsterdam and was named after the Dutch poet Joost van den Vondel. Mike was there with Tony Allan, Graham Gill, Brian Anderson and Mickey Mercer. Some people brought guitars and assorted musical instruments and everybody got very stoned.)
 
August 6. Another sunny summer's day and we spent the afternoon sunbathing on the deck. Mickey suddenly called out, “There's a car coming.” We all ignored him, because it was too hot for practical joking. “There really IS a car coming,” he repeated - to a chorus of “oh yeah?”. Eventually Mike got to his feet and said, in a rather matter-of-fact voice, “Yep, there REALLY is a car coming. And Ronan and Dennis are in it.”

 

Caroline visted by an amphibious vehicle

The visit of the amphibious vehicle. On deck, left to right, Graham Gill, Jaap de Haan (engineer), Captain Ad Meyer just visible through window, Peter van Dijken (crew), Dennis King, Ronan O'Rahilly, Johnny Jason, Tony Allan, Andy Archer partially obscured by Tony and Jan the cook.

 
(The car involved was in fact a landing vehicle, a veteran of the D-Day landings in Normandy in 1944. It had been bought by Rob Jansen, a racing driver and friend of Dennis. On the morning in question Ronan wanted to make a surprise visit to the ship, so he joined Dennis, Rob, and Rob's wife for the two hour trip out from Zandvoort. Ronan was so taken by the extraordinary vehicle that he insisted the party first drove along Zandvoort beach. No cars are allowed on the beach and a white police Land Rover was soon in hot pursuit - but the law had to admit defeat when Rob simply turned and drove into the waves.)
 
August 7. Samantha's programme was only an hour long this morning as the transmitter had to be shut down for repairs between 0400 and 0600. She opened her programme thus: “Hello, this is Samantha Dubois. I'm only with you for one hour this morning and I'm fucking pissed off about it.”
 
Robb Eden has decided to leave on the next tender. Robb is a really nice guy and always great fun to be with. Graeme Kay, who has been working as a studio technician for Radio Mi Amigo, is also leaving. He's heading for Marseilles where the Peace Ship is undergoing repairs before sailing to the coast of Israel.
 
August 10. Barclay James Harvest, whose album ‘Everyone is Everybody Else’ we are playing like mad, appeared last night at the Paradiso in Amsterdam with Dr. Feelgood. Some of us decided that we should like to go and see them. During the morning and afternoon we recorded a few programmes for the evening then took off in the rubber boat for Scheveningen harbour. Luckily the sea was quite calm. We got the train from The Hague to Amsterdam and walked to The Paradiso, an amazing music venue situated in a converted church just off the Leidseplein in the centre of the city. The Barclays played an amazing set and it was great to meet up with Woolly Wolstenholme once again. They were delighted that we were giving the album so much airplay. After the gig we returned to the Hague on the night train and took a taxi to Scheveningen harbour and returned to the Mi Amigo very early this morning, knackered and stoned.
 
August 15. Listened to J.J's programme. He began as usual with his theme tune, ‘Welcome’ by the Steve Miller Band, his right foot banging on the studio floor and echoing all around the lower deck. There are four breaks in the intro in which J.J. introduces the programme (it was considered a great honour to get a mention in this). There were SIX breaks tonight as Norman Barrington had doctored the tape - but it failed completely to throw J.J. Then straight into Rare Earth's ‘Get Ready’ - all sixteen minutes of it - followed by Ashton & Lord's ‘We're Gonna Make It’, ‘White Room’ by Cream and ‘Who Do You Love’ by Juicy Lucy.
 
Tonight was rather special as Tony, Norman and Brian took part in the programme with a guide to the Mi Amigo from a roving microphone. I listened with trepidation as they approached my cabin (which I shared with Graham Gill). Graham and I don't have the same taste. He's a bit Laura Ashley. I'm more Bauhaus. Heaven knows what he will think when he discovers what I've done. Tony was being his usual outrageous self.
 
(Tony: “... and this cabin we are coming to ladies and gentlemen, will freak you out as it did me last Friday. It's a black door and on it it says ‘Lord Andrew Archer and Graham Gill. Do not disturb unless it's for booze or sex”, and underneath a little notice which says ‘Inn on the Park”. I must explain that we have these different names for hotels for cabins. Shall we go in?
Now I came back to the ship having heard that Andrew had been very busy with the paint brush. So I thought, let's go and have a look. It sounds rather nice. They said, ‘He's been doing silver.’ So I thought, Andy's got a lot of taste. He will have put some edgings in silver and things. And I came back, walked in and didn't believe it. The entire wall in front of me including the two cupboards had been painted in silver. In fact our other captain, Captain Meyer who is off at the moment said, ‘It's like the engine room’.”
Johnny: “Yes. I think either that or a space capsule.”
Tony: “I think like the inside of a sardine tin actually. But all of these THINGS have been stuck all over it, like there's a foot - you know the Monty Python titles ... when that big foot comes down - he's got one, two, three, four, five of them. A picture of Jimi Hendrix, a collage he has made which features Barclay James Harvest, Rizla papers, toadstools and Jimi Hendrix, a Ban The Bomb sticker - ‘L'amour, l'amour. Pas la guerre’”.
Johnny: “All in all, quite an amazing cabin.”
Tony: “And finally a huge waterpipe with a Suzy Waffle box stuck in it. Get it down, Brian. Let's see what's in it.”
click to hear audio click to hear audio Tony Allan's tour of the Mi Amigo reaches Andy and Graham (“Grizelda”) Gill's cabin. The other voice belongs to Johnny Jason (duration 5 minutes 30 seconds)
The tour of the ship continued well into the night looking at J.J.'s cabin - The Kensington Hilton of course; Mickey and Norman's cabin - The Hippy Hilton; the record library; the bridge; even the lavatory. This was J.J.'s final programme from the Mi Amigo while it was anchored off the Dutch coast. His last record was ‘Clear as the Driven Snow’ by The Doobie Brothers.
 
August 17. We are now back to full power on 50 kilowatts.
 
Mike Hagler is in Amsterdam to arrange interviews with rock stars and all sorts of interesting people. I think he, like me, isn't keen on being on the ship after the Dutch Marine Offences Act becomes law but would still like to be involved, perhaps with pre-recorded programmes.

Steve Diamond, Mike Hagler, John Mair, Andy Archer, Graham Gill

Steve Diamond, Mike Hagler, John Mair, Andy Archer and Graham Gill in Scheveningen.

August 18. Steve Diamond, an American friend of Mike's, has come out to the ship to help on programmes as we are running out of disc-jockeys.
 
A ‘Fight for Free Radio’ Rally was held today in London in support of Radio Veronica, Radio Northsea International and us.
 
(Hundreds of fans of Caroline, Radio Mi Amigo, Veronica and Radio Northsea International marched from Hyde Park to deliver letters of protest to the Ambassador at the Dutch Embassy in Hyde Park Gate and to Prime Minister Wilson in Downing Street.)
 
August 21. Two guys we met at the Stonehenge Festival - Yogi Suriya Premanada and Howard Phillips - have joined us on the ship. They almost missed their flight from Heathrow as Howard had a block of ginseng in his luggage which the customs officers were convinced was dope. (They both went on air several times, the Yogi to give his messages of peace and love and Howie to sing live. One of his songs, ‘Let the Music Roll’, became something of a Caroline anthem. He recorded a version at the Stonehenge Festival which we often played.)
click to hear audio click to hear audio Musician Howard Phillips performing ‘Let the Music Roll’ on Radio Caroline, August 1974 (duration 3 minutes 30 seconds)
August 24. There's a feeling of sadness on the ship as most of us realize that after the 31st. things will change and it's never going to be the same again. Radio Mi Amigo have announced on their programmes that they will be closing down next week. I think this is a red herring because I know they are going to continue.
 
Mike Hagler has been working on a Rolling Stones special which is now being played. He is featuring all of their music from the early days right up to their newest album ‘It's Only Rock 'n Roll’. A great, well thought-out programme. (This was the last Special before the Mi Amigo moved to the English coast. In the eight months we were anchored off Scheveningen in 1974 we also featured hour long profiles of Alice Cooper, Genesis, John McLaughlin, Barclay James Harvest, Santana, Frank Zappa, Wishbone Ash, Alquin, The Doobie Brothers, Yes and War.)
 
August 26. At 7 o'clock tonight I made an announcement in very bad Dutch: “Ik heb een boodschap voor Meneer van Doorn. Twee boodschapen. De eerste: Caroline blijft in de lucht. De tweede: LA.” (I have a message for Mr van Doorn. Two messages. The first: Caroline will stay on the air. And the second: LA.)
 
This is the last week of ‘School's Out’. Instead of playing listeners' top five records, I've decided to feature the favourites of the disc jockeys. Tonight it's Mickey Mercer's:
1. Visions of Joanna - Bob Dylan
2. Light My Fire - The Doors
3. Salt of the Earth - Rolling Stones
4. Cowgirl in the Sand - Neil Young
5. Poem 58 - Chicago
 
August 27. Ronan arrived on board with Sylvain Tack to tell us what will be happening in a couple of days' time. The Mi Amigo will be towed over to the English coast and the programmes of both Caroline and Radio Mi Amigo will continue. Radio Mi Amigo will record their programmes in Playa d' Aro in Spain. I've made up my mind that I don't want to go over to the English coast and will look for a job on one of the new commercial stations, but left my options open. Ronan told me there would always be a job for me if things didn't work out. Before leaving on the tender, I went to the studio to record a piece for the final hour of Radio Northsea International which Edwin Bollier had asked me to do. Mike Hagler too has decided that he wants new horizons and adventures and also came off on the tender as did Brian Anderson who is going to work for Radio Nova. Captain Meyer and Jaap de Haan are leaving too.
 
August 29. At the Dijksgracht, I listened to the station as the Mi Amigo began its journey back to England at just before 1600. Captain Taal, Teun Visser, Paul Brandt, Chicago, Peter van Dijken, Mickey, Tony and Peter Haze are still on board. At the end of the Radio Mi Amigo programmes at 1900, Tony came on the air to announce that there would be no Radio Caroline programming tonight due to a labour dispute and advised listeners to tune into to Radio Northsea International! But a couple of hours later, normal service resumed.
 
August 30. The Mi Amigo has arrived at her new position about eighteen miles off the Essex coast near the Kentish Knock Lightship. A new chapter has begun for Caroline.
click to hear audio click to hear audio Peter Haze and Tony Allan at midnight on 31st August (duration 4 minutes 45 seconds)
 

WHO DID WHAT
 
Tony Allan, Brian Anderson, Barry Everitt, Hugh Nolan, Mike Hagler, Mickey Mercer, Johnny Jason, Dennis King, Dick Palmer, Russell Tollerfield, Norman Barrington, Peter van Dijken, Baas, Bob Noakes, Peter Chicago, Charlotte Ribbelink, René van der Snoek, Phil Randall, John Farlowe and myself presented the programmes on Radio Seagull during the period July 24 1973 - February 22 1974.
 
Johnny Jason, Mike Hagler, Mickey Mercer, Michael Lindsey, John Mair, Norman Barrington, Steve Diamond, Bob Noakes, Dave Gotz, Peter van Dijken, Samantha Dubois, Tony Allan, Brian Anderson, Peter Chicago, Robb Eden, Sue Mercer, Michael Wall-Garland, Paul Brandt, Graham Gill, Peter Wolf, Peter Haze (The Cheshire Flyer), Graeme Kay and myself all presented programmes on Radio Caroline from February 23 - August 31 1974.
 
Will van der Steen, Bert Bennett, Norbert, Joop Verhoof, Peter van Dam, Ad Roland, Eddie Emery (Eddie de Boeck), Paul Severs, Secco, Frans van der Drift, Mike Moorkens, Peter van Dijken, Henk van Broekhoven, Haike de Bois, Thijs van der Molen, Patrick du Bateau, Peter Pan, Paul Brandt, Tony Allan, Brian Anderson, Graeme Kay, Norman Barrington and myself all presented programmes on Radio Mi Amigo from January 2 - August 31 1974.
 
J.J. and I did return to the ship off the English coast later that year but for us the magic and convenience of how it had been a few months earlier had gone. The two of us, along with John Mair, were arrested by the police when we tried to get back into England on a speedboat after being on the ship for quite a few miserable weeks. On September 18 1975 I had the dubious distinction of being the first disc-jockey to be prosecuted under The Marine Offences Act at Southend Magistrates Court and was fined £100 with £50 costs. I would have liked to plead not guilty but I had just started a new job with Radio Orwell in Ipswich and could not take the necessary time off work to fight the case. Ronan asked Johnny to plead not guilty and told him he would get him the best barrister money could buy. On April 26 1976 he was cleared of taking part in an unlawful broadcast - thanks to skillful handling by the brilliant Irish barrister James Comyn QC who was paid £1,000 for the day's work. (In the 1960s he had represented the transsexual April Ashley whose husband was seeking a court order that their marriage was a nullity on the grounds that Ashley had been born a man. Comyn famously said “A man is not simply a penis and testicles.”) He ran circles around the prosecution case at Southend Crown Court. When one of the police officers perjured himself, it was quickly spotted by Comyn and Judge Martyn Ward ordered the jury to find Rudiger von Etzdorf (J.J.'s real name) not guilty. The judge stated that the lynchpin of the case was whether Mr. von Etzdorf had taken part in a live broadcast and that he was uneasy about asking the jury to decide this issue from the police evidence. When asked to award costs he replied, “Here is a young man who, with others, decided to cock a snoop at society. He said he was going to be a disc jockey on Radio Caroline and set about doing it. When he set foot on the ship and went into the studio, he knew he was doing something he should not have been doing.” Johnny joined me at Radio Orwell in 1976 and now works for the BBC World Service (editor's note - since retired).
 
Michael Hagler found new horizons and adventures. He met a wild character named Hawk - a former Hell's Angel biker - and they started operating buses on overland excursions to Africa and India. High times indeed. Charlotte went to live in Los Angeles, Mickey Mercer went back to the States to become a teacher, Rob de Goede continued his education and later achieved fame as a disc jockey on the ship using the name Ad Roberts, Graham Gill joined the Dutch World Service as a newsreader, Dennis King became (and still is) a big name in German radio and television, Brian Anderson joined the Kimberley Clarke Radio network (he was later replaced by Graeme Kay), Robb Eden went to Radio City in Liverpool, Elija van den Berg went to America and became involved in Human Rights issues for the native Indians, Peter Chicago remained with the ship as Chief Radio Engineer till the very end, Norman Barrington took up crofting in the North of Scotland and John Mair also returned to Scotland to work in the oil industry. Michael Wall Garland was killed in a road traffic accident in Alassio, Italy in 1975, he was 27. Ellen Kraal (Samantha Dubois) died in October 1992. René van der Snoek just disappeared and hasn't been heard of since.
 
Tony Allan continued working on and off on the ship for a number of years before moving to Ireland. He sadly died of cancer in London in July 2004.
 
The photographs on this page were provided by Andy and taken by Theo Dencker, Hans Knot, Rob Olthof, Norman Barrington, Robin Adcroft, Onno van Buuren and Lion Keezer. The audio clips are courtesy of Vincent Schriel, Hans Knot, Bill Rollins, Paul de Haan, www.azanorak.com, Radiotrefpunt (radio meeting point) and The Offshore Radio Club Forum. Thanks also to Herman.


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