Breakfast Pirate Radio – London 1982

Posted by joly on Aug 14, 2010 in old tape |

When I left the UK for the USA in 1983 I was sure to pack with me a few nuggets of British culture to entertain and amaze the colonists. Apart from reggae disco 12″ers and VHS’s of the Young Ones tv series – as yet unseen on this side of the pond, I had a copy of this broadcast – a Sunday morning one-off perpetrated by Keith Allen and mates such as David Rappaport – using the same transmitter as Dread Broadcast Corp. A visit with northern industrial gay Gerry Arkwright kicks off 90 minutes of segment after segment of ribald and raucous hijinks – some of the most outrageous programming to ever hit the airwaves. American listeners were a little non-plussed but when, in 1984, I visited Vancouver and played it to the Canadians they went nuts for it, playing it over and over til they had it word perfect.

(Thanks to Mike the Bike of DBC for forwarding a copy.)



jolyNo Gravatar
Aug 14, 2010 at 5:04 am

Mike comments:

“Joly you should mention that it was the Medium wave Transmitter that you bought back in Better Badges days and had under the desk for about 6 months. You gave it to Lepke who used it from his garden in Neasden and DBC was born, although only listenable up to a few hundred yards away. Keith Allen put this project together with I understand funds from a major record company who in the end were not brave enough to release as a ‘Monty Python’ style comedy record.
This show was broadcast from a church in Islington I believe using the spire as aerial while the Sunday service was going on. Tapes were later released by FO Records a Cassette label run by x Better Badger Geoff and quickly became a cult item…Oh those were the days fun fun fun”

jolyNo Gravatar
Aug 14, 2010 at 5:07 am


It wasn’t just sitting! I used to use that transmitter to broadcast from the top of 286 Portobello to the basement when I first got into printing fanzines and had to pull long overnights – just reached a couple of blocks with an aerial out the window.

Surely F.O. was KifKif, wouldn’t it just have been Better Tapes?

MaricoNo Gravatar
Nov 10, 2010 at 8:41 am

Thanks for posting this . . . only 15 minutes in, listening to Culture Watch and I’m already in stitches . . .

Had a mate who brought a cassette of this up from Lundun !

Even though it didn’t get realeased as “a Monty Python style comedy record” many of Gerry Arkwright’s phrases entered our every day conversation – more subversive than Monty P.

Now it’s the traffic news – industrial waste spillage – classic . . .

jolyNo Gravatar
Jun 9, 2011 at 2:50 pm

That traffic reporter is David Rappaport, well known for his roles in Time Bandits etc

MacNo Gravatar
Sep 7, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Nice work. I have about 4 of the original cassettes locked away somewhere. So nice to find this after my random flashback. Thanks.

LepkeNo Gravatar
May 11, 2012 at 11:25 am

Just to say,the signal could travel further than a few hundred yds.In some directions it could go 5-15 miles.Also if the cloud formation was right it could be heard across the channel in france.

jolyNo Gravatar
Aug 3, 2012 at 2:30 am

One can peruse a fairly detailed BPR backgrounder by Paul Gorman here.

Mark Dezzani (aka Roger Vosene)No Gravatar
Jan 17, 2013 at 5:21 am

What a joy to find this. I was one of the operators of Radio Zodiac (London Sundays 94.4FM). Better Badges was one of our main sponsors along with City Limits, Alternative Tentacles (indie label) and Rough Trade. A couple of highlights was a joint broadcast from the Notting Hill Carnival (1982) with Dread Broadcasting and a benefit concert (Stonehenge Festival & Free The Airwaves) from the squatted Zig Zag Club in Paddington broadcast live. Amongst the artists performing were Misty in Roots, Nick Turner’s Inner City Unit & Amazulu. Loving this recording. Thanks, Mark Dezzani

jolyNo Gravatar
Jan 17, 2013 at 5:36 am

Oh yes, I remember Radio Zodiac. IIRC the liberated ZigZag was renamed the Meat Roxy.. Do you have any RZ tapes? I’d be happy to post them!

Mark DezzaniNo Gravatar
Apr 19, 2013 at 1:53 am

Hi Joly, Yes I have some reel-to-reel tapes! I have been meaning to getting around to digitising them. Will do and will send you something.

Alexander BallNo Gravatar
Jan 13, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Sold as 3 cassettes via mail order via nme classified ad in 84/85 titled ‘a nice little earner for xmas’.



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