Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Had a great lesson today with my kids at school about advertisments and slogans. I asked them to come up with a slogan for advertising a product and the word 'groovy' kept appearing.
"What does the word GROOVY mean" I asked ... blank faces ...
I then talked about the 60's and how the word GROOVY was a buzz word back in the 60's. "But where does this word come from?" I asked. Nine year olds have probably never seen or heard of a record player or a vinyl record! The amazing thing was that they thought a record player was really a CD player. I tried to explain how record players worked with a 'needle' and you put it onto the record and music would come out of the speaker. The record had GROOVES and the needle followed the GROOVES to produce the sound ...
Hence the term FEELING GROOVY... it's about listening to music and feeling good!!

How did WE cope with this kind of analogue technology?

How would the children of today cope with it .... NOT!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Whats a 13 amp plug?

Analogue or still needs a 13A plug!
Its only during the last 10 years that appliances were fitted with a 13A plug. This is probably due to health and safety, but how many of our children know how to wire a 13A plug?
I found it amazing after a recent conversation at school that most people under the age of 30 wouldn't have a clue how to to wire up a plug .... scary stuff!!!
Back in the 70's and 80's you had to buy a 13A plug and fit yourself to make it work! Nothing came with one fitted!
When I worked at Telefusion our retail outlet 'Trident' changed it's name and re-launched as 'Connect'. When you bought an appliance you got a free kit of a 13A plug and screwdriver to help you 'connect!'
When I lived at at home before I was married we had 'Wandsworth' plugs and sockets. These were wired back to front (live on the left and neutral on the right) I was taught to wire 'Live on the Right' and sometimes wired these beasts wrong!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Back in the 50s and 60's

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate bread with beef dripping, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, our baby cribs and toys were covered with bright coloured lead-based paints that we sucked all day.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because......WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.No one was able to reach us all day.

And we were OK.We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.

After running into the bushes a few times, we learnt to solve the problem.

We did not have play stations, nintendo, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, cellphones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.We were given cap guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door, rang the bell, or just yelled for them!

The local football team had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned

...and the's me on left along with my sister and brother!

Got this stuff from this great thread:

How true it is!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sandie Shaw

Maybe I have been listening to too many 60's complilations, but i'm fast realising that Sandie Shaw had quite an impact on me back in the 60's! I actually know all the words to her songs, even one I heard on '101 Pirate Radio Hits' ... "Girl don't come" that I have never heard for many years!
When I heard this song memories came flooding back to the days on Tonge Park at 'The Club' where Mrs Lonsdale played this song along with The Rolling Stones and The Beatles while we played billiards, table tennis and really enjoyed ourselves!

I can't believe that Sandie is now past 60!

She is timeless!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

NFD at Ashworth Valley

This was from 1970 (I think) of NFD at Ashworth Valley with the Bury Radio Club.
If you click the image you can see some classic cars including the one at the front which belonged to G3RSM with his topband mobile whip antenna. At the time I did not have a licence, so I filled in the log while George G3ZQS worked the stations with his broken hacksaw blade on Cw on the HF bands.
The antenna was a trapped 80m dipole and two 50ft masts.
Gosh...them were the days!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Wilton Arms

Looks a bit different now, but here we are looking at the very room where so much happened on a Friday and Saturday night!
As it was 'The Wilton' was the place to be back in the 70's. The back room (as it was called) was simply a room with a Juke Box and no lights! The atmosphere was brilliant, probably the best juke box in the world...even had 'Riders on the Storm' by The Doors! The bar had a great choice Stella, Tetleys, Guiness, Carlsberg...and the barmaids...well...probably not the nicest in the world, but could always get served. Don't forget i'm talking about the 70's here!
Some of the lads from college came here, so one day we went there for lunch, piled into a van and away we went. For the first time we saw the 'back room' as it was in the light...not a pretty sight. Wallpaper falling off, paint flaking, seats ripped ... but who cares ... in the dark its great!!!
So one Friday night Neil (G3ZPL) decided to park outside the 'back room' next to the juke box to test if this analogue jewel could cope with 20watts of AM on 144mhz. I never did know the result!!

The Boat that Rocked!

Just had to order this one, but might buy 'The Boat that Rocked' later!
This film 'The Boat that Rocked' has just been released, I must go and watch it!
Ahhh...the days of Radio Caroline, Radio Nordsee International, Radio Veronica ... even Radio Luxemburg (although this was not a pirate station)
I used to have tapes of broadcasts of the final days of Radio Caroline, The Who 'Sell Out' album with the Pirate Radio jingles (Still have it on vinyl in the loft)
So now the record companies are releasing compilations of the good old days of the 60's and 70's. I saw this one on TV tonight, so promptly ordered it ... some great tracks on this album, lots of memories!
How did they manage to play records on a boat that rocks and sways on the ocean? I never heard records jump when I listened...whats the secret? None of this MP3 digital iPod and memory stick stuff. They really had to play old fashioned analogue vinyl records with a needle!
I wonder what happened to the guy that turned up at the Bolton Radio Society back in 1970 with a car brissling with aerials and stickers of pirate radio stations all over his windows. Knew everything you wanted to know about pirate stations. A great guy!

Thursday, April 02, 2009


Here is our local ECO friendly WINDFARM. Photo taken from the Pack Horse Pub at Affetside.
I can see the tops of these 'windmills' from my window, so I went for a ride to find out where they are. Although they look quite close from my window, they are in fact on the hills on the other side of Ramsbottom and Haslingdon. I would love to see one of these close up...they must be enormous!
I still don't understand how the power generated from these windfarms link into the National Grid. Do they generate high voltages and low current or low voltage and high current?
Must be linked underground...but where too? (Unless of course they have a wireless link!!)
Sometimes I wonder if they are really windmills grinding wheat to make flour for our bread at Warburtons!
Maybe all these structures have weatherproof 13A sockets on the side for Radio Amateurs and Caravaners to plug into...i'm sure they have these windmills on Rooley Moor...great for VHF NFD!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

April Fool?

Twitter switch for Guardian, after 188 years of ink

• Newspaper to be available only on messaging service

Consolidating its position at the cutting edge of new media technology, the Guardian today announces that it will become the first newspaper in the world to be published exclusively via Twitter, the sensationally popular social networking service that has transformed online communication.

The move, described as "epochal" by media commentators, will see all Guardian content tailored to fit the format of Twitter's brief text messages, known as "tweets", which are limited to 140 characters each. Boosted by the involvement of celebrity "twitterers", such as Madonna, Britney Spears and Stephen Fry, Twitter's profile has surged in recent months, attracting more than 5m users who send, read and reply to tweets via the web or their mobile phones.

As a Twitter-only publication, the Guardian will be able to harness the unprecedented newsgathering power of the service, demonstrated recently when a passenger on a plane that crashed outside Denver was able to send real-time updates on the story as it developed, as did those witnessing an emergency landing on New York's Hudson River. It has also radically democratised news publishing, enabling anyone with an internet connection to tell the world when they are feeling sad, or thinking about having a cup of tea.

"[Celebrated Guardian editor] CP Scott would have warmly endorsed this - his well-known observation 'Comment is free but facts are sacred' is only 36 characters long," a spokesman said in a tweet that was itself only 135 characters long.

A mammoth project is also under way to rewrite the whole of the newspaper's archive, stretching back to 1821, in the form of tweets. Major stories already completed include "1832 Reform Act gives voting rights to one in five adult males yay!!!"; "OMG Hitler invades Poland, allies declare war see for more"; and "JFK assassin8d @ Dallas, def. heard second gunshot from grassy knoll WTF?"

Sceptics have expressed concerns that 140 characters may be insufficient to capture the full breadth of meaningful human activity, but social media experts say the spread of Twitter encourages brevity, and that it ought to be possible to convey the gist of any message in a tweet.
For example, Martin Luther King's legendary 1963 speech on the steps of the Lincoln memorial appears in the Guardian's Twitterised archive as "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by", eliminating the waffle and bluster of the original.

At a time of unprecedented challenge for all print media, many publications have rushed to embrace social networking technologies. Most now offer Twitter feeds of major breaking news headlines, while the Daily Mail recently pioneered an iPhone application providing users with a one-click facility for reporting suspicious behaviour by migrants or gays. "In the new media environment, readers want short and punchy coverage, while the interactive possibilities of Twitter promise to transform th," the online media guru Jeff Jarvis said in a tweet yesterday, before reaching his 140-character limit, which includes spaces. According to subsequent reports, he is thinking about going to the theatre tonight, but it is raining :(.

A unique collaboration between The Guardian and Twitter will also see the launch of Gutter, an experimental service designed to filter noteworthy liberal opinion from the cacophony of Twitter updates. Gutter members will be able to use the service to comment on liberal blogs around the web via a new tool, specially developed with the blogging platform WordPress, entitled GutterPress.

Currently, 17.8% of all Twitter traffic in the United Kingdom consists of status updates from Stephen Fry, whose reliably jolly tone, whether trapped in a lift or eating a scrumptious tart, has won him thousands of fans. A further 11% is made up of his 363,000 followers replying "@stephenfry LOL!", "@stephenfry EXACTLY the same thing happened to me", and "@stephenfry Meanwhile, I am making myself an omelette! Delicious!"
According to unconfirmed rumours, Jim Buckmaster, the chief executive of Craigslist, will next month announce plans for a new system of telepathy-based social networking that is expected to render Twitter obsolete within weeks.

Highlights from the Guardian's Twitterised news archive:

1927OMG first successful transatlantic air flight wow, pretty cool! Boring dayotherwise *sigh*

1940W Churchill giving speech NOW - "we shall fight on the beaches ... we shall never surrender" check YouTube later for the rest

1961Listening 2 new band "The Beatles"

1989 Berlin Wall falls! Majority view of Twitterers = it's a historic moment! What do you think??? Have your say

1997RT@mohammedalfayed: FYI NeilHamilton, Harrods boss offering £££ 4 questions in House of Commons! Check it out.

This one from todays Guardian Newspaper!

Back in the 70's I remember two classic April Fool jokes...
The one when the newspapers had a full page cut out of a concentrated pint of Guiness, you cut it out put in a glass and add water for a free pint of Guiness.
The one when Noel Edmonds in his breakfast show flew over the country in an airplane with a live show as he played records and flew over different towns and cities. That one had me fooled as Brian and me listened on the way to work in Heywood on lovely sunny morning. As Noel was flying low over North Manchester we stopped the car to look up to see the plane!