Monday, November 19, 2018


I had the good fortune to have access to a decent radio while in London last Friday. What was remarkable to me was not just the number of pirates, but that in some cases I couldn't distinguish between pirates and commercial FM stations. Most pirates were broadcasting in stereo and some even with scrolling RDS! More here.

On the commercial side they brand a number of dance sub-genres which to me are indistinguishable: Acid Jazz, Breakbeat, Hardcore *and Breakbeat Hardcore) Funk, House, Liquid Funk, Techno, Drum ’n’ Bass, Basement (Bashment?) and a number of others. These flowed together into one continuous boom-chee, boom-chee, boom-chee, boom-chee... interrupted only by advertisements for Amazon Alexa, and the Euro-Millions lottery. This obviously popular UK format has no U.S. equivalent, as we have no more than nine "dance" formatted stations in the whole country. First skiffle, now this.

I noted some loud silent carrier signals that must be stations but were off air at about 8:00 PM GMT. I suspect those are pirates, as rube-goldberg automation often leads to dead air. But absent any programming it's hard to tell. Optimistically I tuned in nine pirates That's almost a third of the radio band

88.0  - Pulse88 (pirate)
88.8  - BBC Radio 2 
89.1  - BBC Radio 2 
*90.0 - Silent Carrier? (Pirate Hot FM aka Hot 90?)
90.2 - Point Blank FM (Pirate)
91.3 - BBC Radio 3
93.2 - BBC Radio 4
94.9 - BBC London
95.4 - UK Roots FM (Pirate)
95.8 - Capital FM
*96.1 - Silent Carrier? (Pirate S Dance?)
96.3 - Hot 96 (pirate)
96.9 - Capital XTRA
97.3 - LBC
97.9 - Divine (Pirate)
98.5 - BBC Radio 1
     James Brown - Get up Off A That Thang
100.0 - Kiss FM
100.6 - Classic FM
     Smooth Classics w/ Margherita Taylor
101.4 - Flex FM (Community station, former pirate)
*102.0 - Silent Carrier? (Pirate Conscious Radio)
102.2 - Smooth Radio
     Ad block: Euromillions
103.0 - LMW London Most Wanted (pirate)
103.3 - poor signal, London Greek Radio?
104.9 - XFM, Radio X
105.4 - Magic
     "Mellow Magic" tagline
105.8 - Absolute Radio
     Kasabian - Processed Beats
     Muse - Something Human (terrible BTW)
106.1 - Heart

Also managed to fit in a visit to the original Rough Trade record shop on Talbot Rd. While not technically the first store, it's as close as you can come today. The original opened at 202 Kensington Park Road in 1976, it later moved to Talbot Rd... close enough.  I also visited a dead-end alley called Savoy Steps, where Bob Dylan filmed the video for Subterranean Homesick Blues in 1967. More here. Also bought a heap of books at the Music & Goods Exchange near Portobellow Rd. and a couple gems from Black Gull Books at Camden Lock.

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