Liberties, 2009 - 211 pages
A witty, revealing memoir by Phantom FM DJ Steve Conway about the years he spent on Radio Caroline, the pirate radio ship with a rock 'n' roll history, published alongside the release of Richard Curtis' (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill) brilliant film The Boat That Rocked. Radio Caroline was the iconic pirate radio station, immediately capturing the imagination of millions of people when it started broadcasting rabble-rousing, cutting-edge music to Britain and Ireland from international waters in 1964. When he first went out to the radio ship, the Ross Revenge, in December 1985, Steve Conway, a 21-year-old IT executive, was fulfilling his dream of working on Caroline. Despite his young age, he soon became a vital part of Caroline's renegade crew, broadcasting music and news programmes, helping keep the vessel seaworthy during fierce storms, and making sure the station ran smoothly on a shoestring budget- doing it all despite staffing problems, technical crises and persistent harassment by the authorities. In this gripping memoir, Steve Conway tells of his time aboard the Ross Revenge: the excitement and danger of living on board the ship for long spells, the constant challenge of keeping complex electronic equipment working in occasionally treacherous conditions (including the collapse of the ship's main mast in November 1987), and the camaraderie of working alongside people who, like him, were completely committed to the radio station and its fiercely bohemian ideals. His wild and wonderful tale builds towards the sad demise of Radio Caroline as a ship-based station, recounting how he and his few remaining companions narrowly escaped drowning after the ship ran aground on the notorious Goodwin Sands in hurricane-force winds in November 1991. A love letter to Ross Revenge and rock music, ShipRocked has to be read to be believed.
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