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John Peel...cont

live dance-hall bands, more familiar to the 1940s and 50s, to tie in with the mainstream tastes of UK audiences.

The BBC also had to play a certain amount of live music, according to the Musicians' Union, to ensure that performing musicians could make a living. This was called the 'Needle Time' restriction

But the teenagers were screaming for rock 'n' roll and psychedelic grooves. If they couldn't find them on the BBC they'd get their kicks elsewhere. John Peel was just the man for the job. As he couldn't find work as a radio presenter on British soil, his first broadcast in the UK actually took place on a boat at sea! Pirate radio was born and John Peel was captain of the good ship Radio London where the 'Needle Time' restriction was non-existent and playlists were thrown out of the window. John signed up for Radio London in March 1967, broadcasting during the week from midnight until 2am. Wonderful Radio London - or The Big L - was also where John went through his second, and permanent, name change. Working for an illegal station demanded that he protect his identity. At the station's on-shore offices, on Mayfair's Curzon Street, a secretary suggested he drop Ravencroft in favour of a more listener-friendly moniker.

John Peel the broadcaster was born. John named his programme The Perfumed Garden, taking its title from a notorious book of the  time

- an erotic novel not dissimilar to the Karma Sutra, which was perfect

considering the swinging times in which it was being broadcast! The Perfumed Garden blossomed and celebrated the weird and the obscure. John refused to play hit lists and top 40s, preferring to concentrate on underground acts such as Tyrannosaurus Rex, Captain Beefheart, John Fahey and Fairport Convention. He also played albums in their entirety, which was considered to be crazy at the time and would never have been allowed at the BBC. If there was a rule in radio, then Peel took great delight in breaking it. He also read out poetry and articles from radical street press publications such as Oz, and he'd discuss politics. All of which made for compulsive listening. During his six months at sea, aboard the good ship Wonderful Radio London, he really honed his skill as a DJ. In stark contrast to other DJs, such as
Kenny Everett and Tony Blackburn, who were loud and 'crazy', John was softly spoken, and he developed a self-effacing delivery that created an intimacy with his listeners. He encouraged them to write letters or phone in to share their views - he made people feel like he was talking to them and them alone. John told Listener magazine: "You had a remarkable two-way dialogue with the audience which is not possible to simulate on land. You put the show out completely on your own in the bowels of a rotten ship three miles out at sea. You knew the audience felt a little bit daring listening to you." Radio London closed on August 14, 1967.
The controversial book the Perfumed Garden,Arab erotica chosen as the name of John Peel's 1st radio show in the UK in 1967

The Perfumed Garden - for the Repose of the Mind is a classic work of Arab erotica offering a uniquely entertaining collection of tales, frank and sound advice on sexual relations, and a poetic style of great literary merit. This is a book which delights in the humorous possibilities of sexual expression, and treats these in an urbane style reminiscent of Chaucer and Boccaccio

 

image of Radio London, the orignal Pirate Radio station

Radio London, also known as Big L ,was an offshore commercial station that operated from 23 December 1964 to 14 August 1967, from a ship anchored in the North Sea, 3.5 miles off  Frinton-on-Sea, Essex, England. The station, like other offshore radio operators, was dubbed a pirate radio station.