Adrian Johns: Death of a Pirate: British Radio and the Making of the Information Age (2010)

22 February 2012, dusan

A killing in the English countryside takes us inside the world of pirate radio in its mid-1960s heyday.

When the pirate operator Oliver Smedley shoots and kills his rival Reg Calvert in Smedley’s country cottage on June 21, 1966, it is a turning point in the careening career of the outlaw radio stations dotting the coastal waters of England. Situated on ships and offshore forts like Shivering Sands, these stations blasted away at the high-minded BBC’s broadcast monopoly with the new beats of the Stones and the Who and DJs like Screaming Lord Sutch. For free-market ideologues like Smedley, the pirate stations were entrepreneurial efforts to undermine the growing British welfare state as embodied by the BBC.

The worlds of high table and underground collide in a riveting story full of memorable characters like the Bondian Kitty Black, an intellectual femme fatale who becomes Smedley’s co-conspirator, and the notorious Kray twins, brazenly violent operators of a London protection racket. Here is a rousing entertainment with an intellectual edge.

Publisher W. W. Norton & Company, 2010
ISBN 0393068609, 9780393068603
305 pages

WFMU’s Too Much Information show hosting the author
The Curse of TINA (Smedley’s story told by Adam Curtis, BBC)

google books

PDF (updated on 2012-11-11)

3 Responses to “Adrian Johns: Death of a Pirate: British Radio and the Making of the Information Age (2010)”

  1. sol on November 11, 2012 4:12 pm

    the link is dead :(

  2. dusan on November 11, 2012 5:09 pm

    not anymore

  3. sol on November 12, 2012 1:36 am

    oh! thanks! <3

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