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[Nettime-nl] Alexis Petridis over (Britse) piraten-televisie
Patrice Riemens on Wed, 8 Aug 2012 09:01:14 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-nl] Alexis Petridis over (Britse) piraten-televisie

Sorry voor het Engels, maar omdat wij in NL ook een rijke (wellicht nog
rijkere) piraten TV zenders traditie hadden is dit een aardig tripje down
Memory Lane ...

Groetjes uit Groningen, p+4D!

original to:

Alexis Petridis on pirate TV
What a bunch of pirates did for the arts in Britain

I can't remember why I started reading about pirate TV on the web, but I'm
glad I did. Pirate radio is an essential part of British musical history,
but you never hear much about its televisual cousin. Pirate TV stations
were harder to set up, and their content harder to provide. Furthermore,
they belong to the past: even before the digital switchover, there was no
need for pirate TV in a world where YouTube had turned everyone into a
potential broadcaster.

None of that stops pirate TV being fascinating. It's packed with
intriguing characters, such as Radio Caroline founder Ronan O'Rahilly, who
came up with the bizarre idea ? apparently with the backing of John Lennon
and Yoko Ono ? to start a light entertainment channel broadcasting to
Britain from an aircraft flying over the Irish sea; the 70s hippy
collective Videofreex, who broadcast for five years in the Catskill
mountains using a transmitter given to them by Abbie Hoffman; then there's
Franco "Bifo" Berardi, an Italian Marxist who set up a network of tiny
local TV stations as a challenge to Silvio Berlusconi's excessive media

In Britain, the most intriguing forgotten story of all is that of Network
21. For a few months in London in 1986, if you retuned your TV slightly
down from ITV's frequency at midnight on a Friday, you'd be hit by live
footage of Diamanda Galás and Einsturzende Neubauten, interviews with
Derek Jarman and Leigh Bowery, clips of the Sex Pistols on the Bill Grundy
Show, Jacques Brel, a special on transgender performer Lana Pellay, and
avant-garde video montages of the likes of William Burroughs, Andy Warhol,
Miles Davis and Genesis P-Orridge

Someone has put its entire output on YouTube and it's fascinating. On the
one hand, Network 21 is very much of its era, right down to the fact that
(along with i-D magazine and L'Oreal), it was one of the companies that
chose to advertise between the tracks on Flaunt It, Sigue Sigue Sputnik's
debut album. On the other, it occasionally seems way ahead of the curve:
it was interviewing Sonic Youth when they were still a minor
preoccupation, and covering advances in Aids medication a year before the
government's Don't Die of Ignorance campaign.

Network 21 attracted a lot of media attention, which ultimately spelled
the end: it was raided by police just before its first birthday. It's a
forgotten footnote worth celebrating: there's never been arts programming
quite as bold on British TV.

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