When I was sixteen, I had a boyfriend with green eyes, a mischievous smile and a Triumph motorbike that leaked oil. On Friday nights he rode his bike through fog and rain and bitter cold along the stretch between Ipswich and the remote village where I lived, so we could spend the evening together.
And there, with mugs of tea and plates of toast and jam, we sat together in the cosy kitchen of my family’s old farmhouse thanks to the coal-lit AGA range (not vogue back then), listening to the radio.
Not very exciting maybe, but the music we listened to reached us from Radio Caroline, a pirate radio station on a ship anchored somewhere in the North Sea off the Suffolk/Essex coastline, and it was the kind of music we really wanted to hear: rock music from the likes of Led Zeppelin, Hawkwind and our favourite, Radar Love by Golden Earring.
While it never became illegal, ‘Radio Caroline was founded in 1964 by Ronan O’Rahilly to circumvent the record companies’ control of popular music broadcasting in the United Kingdom and the BBC‘s radio broadcasting monopoly.’ (Credit source: Wikipedia).
Colluding with this piracy late into the night gave us something of a rebellious outlet, and on nights when the wind whipped up a storm, we wondered how it was out at sea for the ship and its modern-day pirates. Some nights, the airwaves brought nothing but silence from the station, and we hoped they hadn’t sunk or been raided.
Radio Caroline was the best thing going for a couple of broke teenagers with nothing else to do on a Friday night in the 1970s.
Which leads me to Charli’s flash fiction prompt this week, which, wouldn’t you know it, is all about pirates and the reason for my Radio Caroline reminiscing:
‘In 99 words (no more, no less) write a pirate story. It can be about pirates or piracy; modern or of yore. Swashbuckling, parrots and rum can be involved or maybe you’ll invent details beyond standard pirates.
Respond by December 8, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!’
While the 2009 film ‘The Boat That Rocked’ was loosely based on Radio Caroline, it’s another film that captured my thoughts when I wrote my pirate story (in 99 words, no more, no less):
The ring was pretty enough, but she said nothing as Andy slid it on her finger.
Why had she said yes? She didn’t love him; in fact, he bored her.
Every weekend it was the same: fish & chips for lunch and watching Match of the Day with his chain-smoking dad.
She craved adventure and excitement of the kind that only her long-haired, dark-eyed lover could give her, and Andy cried when she broke off their engagement.
Now she was free to seek out her true treasure and sail the wild seas.
If only she could find Johnny Depp.