Stress busting techniques such as yoga and meditation are used by millions of people around the world to stay calm.

We live in such turbulent times where even turning on the TV can send blood-pressure shooting off the scale and stress busting techniques are badly needed.

We are constantly bombarded with words and images that instil fear and terror into our hearts. My way of dealing with it is to avoid watching real-time TV and reading newspapers. 

I only watch light-hearted programmes that I have recorded so I can skip mind-numbing ads and the intrusion of very bad news at regular intervals.

We are constantly bombarded with words and images that instil fear and terror into our hearts. Click To Tweet

Stress busting techniques have now become an almost essential part of everyday life.

For me, stress busting means a short drive to the beach, where I sit very close to the sea, with nothing in my field of vision except the sea.

Nothing else reaches my ears except the roar and crash of the waves. Giving my eyes and ears a rest from the images and noise of 'civilised' life in an increasingly crazy world seems to give my mind a rest too.

Sometimes, when I sit watching the undulating and endless body of water surging backwards and forwards at the command of a moon more than 250,000 miles away, I fantasize about slowing it down and it helps me relax. It helps me slow down my own thoughts and heart rate.

stress busting

The sea - a calming influence

One day, when I was sitting cross-legged on the shore, right in front of the endless (and free!) stress busting sea, it crossed my mind that I am extremely lucky to live so close to it. Then I started thinking about people who live further inland and how far they would need to drive to use the stress busting technique I take for granted.

So I made a film of the sea that I like to lose myself in. Well, not literally! Oh, and I slowed it down too. I even use this film myself if I can't get out.

If you need to find a stress busting technique that is as simple as sitting back and getting lost in the sight and sound of the sea - try watching this short film. It may not be for everyone, especially if you live near a much warmer, bluer sea!

If you need to find a stress busting technique that is as simple as sitting back and getting lost… Click To Tweet

However, for people who are stuck in a big city most of the time, this film may have some stress busting benefit. For anyone who watches the film through to the end, do let me know how it made you feel. Did it make you feel relaxed?

 

Elderly parents
Purple Loosestrife in my parents' garden - which is maintained beautifully by my green-fingered sister. I took this picture while the walls were being plastered inside the house this week. As I took pictures of this and other fading leaves, I had a strong sense of the renewal happening inside the house while the garden falls asleep to rest, ready for it's own renewal next spring.

 Elderly parents can take up a huge amount of time. This is not meant in a negative way, it is simply a fact that needs to be faced if you are someone who cares about people.

Having elderly parents myself means I need to devote time to their sense of well-being. Old age can sometimes bring frustrating disabilities that restrict activities once taken for granted.

Old age can sometimes bring frustrating disabilities that restrict activities once taken for… Click To Tweet

That bedroom needing a makeover can seem like an impossible dream when tired arms can no longer hold a paintbrush. Legs that once carried a busy, capable man are now so weak he struggles to get out of his chair. The bottom step of a step-ladder would be like climbing Everest to him.

There is an emotional price to be paid for the privilege of still having both parents in your own later years. Watching two young spirits struggle with the decline of their earthly bodies is painful at times. So I need to be philosophical and accept the circle of life for what it is. Now is not a time for worry, regret, anxiety or fear - for them or for us.  

There is an emotional price to be paid for the privilege of still having both parents in your own… Click To Tweet

Now is the time to celebrate the sun setting on the young couple who brought my sister and me into this world. We need to make their last years as golden as possible. Every day they have is a gift. They have both survived serious illnesses over the last 20 years and I am sure it was because they were strong for each other.

They still hold hands as they approach their 90s with shaky legs and strong spirits. Only 10 years ago, my father took my mother back to the wooden seat up on the hill where he proposed to her and gave her a ring. They still celebrate their engagement date even now.

Ageing people only look old on the outside. Inside, they are still young. There is no good reason why my parents' house should age with them and be a fading backdrop for the feelings of sadness, or maybe even resignation they sometimes seem to have. The cracked wall in the bedroom that worried my mother so much needed to be made new and smooth again. That old wallpaper needed ripping off so new life could be breathed into the room. I knew it would make them happy and give them hope for all the many days still to come

Life should be celebrated with brightness, colour, warmth and comfort at any age - yes even 87 and 89. Elderly parents need to be viewed as if they were 24 and just married. Am I really too busy to make things happen for them? The things they can no longer do for themselves and therefore seem impossible.

Am I really so busy that they can't ask me for what they need to make their lives feel better? No - my life can wait while I look, listen and act on the needs of two people who deserve my time the most. All it takes is a mind shift to get stuff done.

I can be relieved of my own busy concerns in the blink of an eye because I am in charge of how I prioritise my days. It is that simple. Are Pinterest/facebook/twitter or my work really more important than my elderly parents? Well...uh... no!

I can be relieved of my own busy concerns in the blink of an eye because I am in charge of how I… Click To Tweet

The first steps have been taken - the cracked wall is no more. This week, it was expertly fixed and plastered by a master plasterer and will soon be ready for some beautiful bright silky paint my mother has yet to choose. 

Meanwhile, as we wait for the plaster to dry, I need to brighten up the ceiling with some white silk paint. That will be fun - up a step ladder with no sense of balance. Perhaps a pole and roller will be more sensible.

Then there is carpet to choose before their new comfy king-size bed arrives. My mother is excited about the make-over. My father is too but he doesn't say so - I just know he is.

 We still have lots more to do because my elderly parents do have a future. They are not done with life and life is not done with them. However long or short, it is still a future and they deserve to spend it somewhere that has been made new and pretty.

My father worked hard his whole life long to give us a good home and my mother devoted her life to looking after us in that home. The least I can do is return like for like. If you have elderly parents and are able (physically, emotionally or financially) to drop everything to make them happy - even one day a week - do it. Nothing in the world is more important than life as it is now,  today, because it isn't coming back to give you a second chance.

Recently, I read a brilliant inspirational article that you can find by clicking here. It is called 'Just Do the Next Right Thing' and it is such a simple philosophy. It has certainly helped me to slow down and break everything down into a series of small, manageable steps that I know I can take with ease. 

I didn't think I had time to cope with everything I need to do - but I was wrong. Time is whatever we make it.

Nothing in the world is more important than life as it is now, today, because it isn't coming… Click To Tweet

 

maple leaves
Maple leaves

 

Always something there to remind me.


 

Maple leaves falling in Autumn always bring echoes from another life for me. A life that was cut short with no warning.

But I survived and came home to England with two beautiful little reminders of the life I'd had in their father's country. There have been 31 Autumns since I returned and my sons have grown into fine, strong men with babies of their own. Canada is nothing more than a bitter sweet memory because I never went back.

But there is a third souvenir from my old life. When my parents came to see me in 1978, I lived on the leafy Rusholme Road in Toronto. One day my father picked up a 'helicopter' that had spun down from one of the beautiful Sugar Maples on my street.

He put it in his jacket pocket and forgot about it.

Continue reading

blog

Five reasons why I read your blog - part five.

5) You write long and interesting

There are many people whose lives are so busy, they do not have the time to actually read anything in depth. It seems we are all constantly advised how we should write for these ‘busy’ people.

Before you take that advice and start writing in the staccato essay style way that is so fashionable now, stop and ask yourself if you really want to write for people who are too busy to read.

It seems we are all constantly advised how we should write for ‘busy’ people. Click To Tweet

Would you talk to someone who is too busy to listen? There are many people out there who love reading long, entertaining and interesting blog posts. I am one of them. Some of us do still have the time and capacity to actually read in depth and enjoy it.

Some of us do still have the time and capacity to actually read in depth. Click To Tweet

Skim reading is the equivalent of telling someone you are too busy to listen to them and will only pick up the odd word here and there. Some people skim the surface of text or the spoken word without ever getting deep into the heart of what others are saying.

why i read your blog

I love a good long read.

The blogging world has its fair share of people who are probably like those we encounter in real life. The ones who are so busy thinking of the next thing they will say, they don’t hear what others are saying.

We live in a world where people are shouting over each other to be heard but no one is really hearing anyone else. The blogging world can be like that too which is why we should always be clear in our own minds what we want out of reading and writing and stick with that no matter what the ‘experts’ advise.

One of the greatest gifts you can give another person is to truly hear what they say. If a blog post is long and interesting, I will read it with the same concentration ability I use to read a book. It’s really not that hard.

One of the greatest gifts you can give another person is to truly hear what they say. Click To Tweet

I would rather read two long blog posts that have depth and character, written by authentic writers, than 10 short, snappy posts with no real substance.

To me, pretty, short blogs with no substance are like gorgeous looking men with no personality. In the case of men (and women too!) like that, I have always turned back to the plainer, rough diamonds who make me shriek with laughter and who know how to hold a proper conversation. There is nothing like finding a really entertaining blog that I can settle down with for a good read.

To me, pretty, short blogs with no substance are like gorgeous looking men with no personality. Click To Tweet

The reason I read your blog is  probably because it was one with longer posts.

All that glitters is not gold.

 

why I read your blog

True self-expression is more important than writing to please the masses. If you happen to do both - you are blessed.

We all write for different reasons. We all read the blogs of others for different reasons. The blogging world is made up of millions of people all with something to say to someone. In my tiny little corner of that world, I am pretty much alone. I don’t run with the crowd there because I never have done in life either. Being that way has got me places where the crowds don’t go and made my life experience unique.

Unless you are blogging to make a fortune (and if you are, good luck with that!) be careful you do not get bogged down in ‘rules’ that have been made up by people who may have different reasons to you for blogging. Maybe they need ‘rules’. Maybe you don’t - so think about it first. It is easy to get totally overwhelmed by all the shouting online with many voices screaming ‘Over here! Over here! Listen to ME! This is what you SHOULD do!’

Unless you are blogging for money - don't get bogged down in 'the rules'. Click To Tweet

There are many other voices who simply want to tell you a story. Those are the voices I love the most.That is why I read your blog.

To read the previous blog posts in this series - click on the links below:-

http://www.anythingexcepthousework.co.uk/5-reasons-why-i-read-your-blog/

http://www.anythingexcepthousework.co.uk/5-reasons-why-i-read-your-blog-no-2/

http://www.anythingexcepthousework.co.uk/your-blog-5-reasons-why-i-read-it-no-3/

http://www.anythingexcepthousework.co.uk/five-reasons-why-i-read-your-blog-no-4/


 

why I read your blog

Five reasons why I read your blog - part four.

4) You are a 'muser' or a 'rambler'.

All the self-styled blogging experts shout ‘you MUST have a niche!” Why? I don’t want one thanks. I also don’t want to read the same kind of stuff trotted out week in week out.

All the self-styled blogging experts shout ‘you MUST have a niche!” Why? Click To Tweet

Mix it up and I will be there to read it. The ‘experts’ seem to assume the entire blogging world wants to make money and must therefore pander to the masses. To make money online, most people need a number of different income streams and they take quite a while to build into profitable niche websites.

The blogs that are clearly driven by the desire to conform and make money really bore me and I rarely return to them. If you are staying true to who you are by rambling or musing on whatever grabs your attention, I will read you.

why I read your blog

Honour your uniqueness - muse and ramble if that is what makes you happy.

I love blogs that swing wildly from one topic to the next because that is how life is - a huge mix of experiences. Authenticity, humility and warmth are completely wonderful to stumble across when reading blogs. I feel the same way when meeting people in everyday life.

I love blogs that swing wildly from one topic to the next because that is how life is. Click To Tweet

So many people who prefer musing or rambling are worried about the constant 'niche' issue that comes up time and again in posts from 'experts'. While it may be sound advice for serious commercially minded bloggers, it is poor advice for someone who simply wants to write with no 'rules' stifling them.If it isn't all about money and numbers for you, relax, don't get caught up in the 'niche' frenzy. Muse, ramble - be yourself. Life is to short to spend it pleasing people who will never read your blog because their focus is vastly different to your own.

 Blogs written by humble people who just love writing are brilliant. When I find myself smiling as I read or laughing out loud, then I know I have found a gem. I have read blogs that have the ability to trigger a wide range of emotions in the space of 2000 words. To me, that is great writing.

When I find myself smiling as I read or laughing out loud, then I know I have found a gem. Click To Tweet

Those are the ones I go back to again and again because they have depth and reality to them.

Do you hear the sound of a different drummer? That's the beat you need to take note of - it speaks to your soul.

Next up - reason No 5 of 5 Reasons Why I Read Your Blog.

why I read your blog

Five reasons why I read your blog - part three.

3) Your post had humour, humility, hope or hobby talk.

There is way too much misery, anger and ego in the world. Lots of it is highlighted in various ways across the internet. So if your blog has a feel of irreverent humour about it, I am on it like a magnet.

Humility is another great trait I love in writers. I am attracted to blogs that show a high degree of this. It shows respect for readers along with creating an air of equity - something this world needs in abundance.

If a post is about something mad, bad or sad, I love when it also carries a grain of hope with a splash of optimism.

Anything that gives hope to people who may be suffering alone and in need of human warmth are like diamonds sparkling in a sea of negativity. Words of hope and optimism can act like a beacon of light in a world where hostility is becoming the norm.

If your blog has a feel of irreverent humour about it, I am on it like a magnet. Click To Tweet

We all have sad stories to tell and the telling can be therapeutic, even cathartic. Add a bit of hope and an optimism and send it out in to the world. It will work wonders for someone.

In real life, I adore people who are funny. If being around you makes me laugh, you have an open invitation to my house because I will laugh all day long given the choice between that and crying.

There are times when a raw, funny, compassionate post has given me that choice when  crying had been feeling like the only option. Writers who can share their sadness while giving a message of hope are truly golden.

why I read your blog

                                                 Ok! Lighten up already!

People who do not take themselves or life too seriously really light up the world. Click To Tweet

Such people are skilful at garnering empathy, support and respect without making people pity them. That attracts me to read.

In the blogging world I am drawn in by titles that suggest a wicked sense of humour and the ability to laugh in the face of adversity. I follow one writer in particular who writes about her serious health issue in a way that makes people laugh. I don't feel sorry for her at all but I do feel compassion.

Pity ain't pretty. Compassion, however, is a potential world changer. Pity is crying over images of starving children and doing nothing else. 

Compassion is donating money, time or physical resources to help change the situation or issue that sparked the tears.

Pity ain't pretty. Compassion, however, is a potential world changer. Click To Tweet

And finally, if you wrote about your hobby, my day is complete! Especially if it involves crafting or painting. I spend hours and hours reading blogs or watching vlogs about the things people do in their spare time.

Having time to enjoy hobbies is one of the greatest gifts later life brought me when it arrived with the wrinkles.

There are days when my creativity runs dry and I really appreciate being able to sit back and read blogs or watch vlogs about the creative activities of others.

There is nothing quite like finding another passionate crafter who loves to write or vlog as well. I am all over those blogs like a rash!

If your post had humor, humility, hope or hobby talk, that is why I read it.

 

 

Next up - reason No 4 of 5 Reasons Why I Read Your Blog.

Notebook

Ok - take a look at the picture. The 'to do' list is real but yes, I did fake the mistakes...in a way. This really happened on another day, but I can't show you that.What I wrote on my list that day is too embarrassing. So I replicated it at the top of today's to do list.

This tendancy to forget the day and date is just normal. Most of my notebooks have more 'scribblings out' than neat, correctly dated beautifully written lists.

The truth is, I need a PA. An even bigger truth is, if I discount my husbands income - I have the personal wealth of a peasant working on the land in 12th century Britain.

There is as much chance of me getting a PA than there is of me going to have afternoon tea at Buck House - ain't gonna happen in this lifetime! Aunty Liz is not in the habit of inviting peasants in for tea.

So what do I do? Look at this...

Notebook
notebook

This is just a small selection of the notebook collection lurking around my house. The notebook collection you see in the left hand picture is not from the collection in the right hand picture. I have a lot of notebooks. This is a small sample because it does not include what is in the loft. It is the tip of a massive iceberg. The rest of it is in bits all over the house.

If my children or step-children are reading this - they may be horrified. Don't worry, I hope to burn them long before you will have to come and put all our belongings in a skip. There is a very good chance much of what they contain has dates that don't even exist, like, for example, February 31st. I am sure there will be a page with that on somewhere in my collection.

Half the time I just guess at the date thinking I will check it with the computer when I sit down to execute my list. Most of the time, I forget and rogue dates abound.

Notebook

Will the old-fashioned notebook you see above soon become a thing of the past? I have heard rumours about an entrepreneur in the US who is revolutionising notebooks and they way we use them.

It is just a rumour but I have a feeling something is happening next week and we may be getting closer to having a notebook that actually works for us - a bit like the PA I can't afford. Except I'm pretty sure I will be able to afford this innovative notebook.

The rumour I have heard on the grapevine says the notebook is called Choices. And very soon, I think there is going to be an explosion of people telling us just how brilliant the Choices Notebook is. There is something in my inbox about it - maybe even a sneaky peak at the pages? Wanna see? Stay tuned and remember that name - Choices Notebook.

I'm so excited! For notebook freaks like me, this is all our birthdays coming at once!

Oh - and reason number three in my five reasons why I read your blog is coming next - sorry - got carried away with the excitement of the rumours about the Choices Notebook.

A five part series explaining why I read your blog - part two.

2) I’m a reader not a book cover judge

Never judge a book by it’s cover. So true. One of the best books I have ever read has a drab maroon coloured cover with nothing on the front or back. It looked really unappealing laying on the used book stall.

I picked it up because it was truly bland. The content did not disappoint me. It was a late 1800s translation of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. My life came to a halt while I devoured every word in two sittings. It is one of the best books about life I have ever read.

If I see a blog that would be considered by 'experts' to be badly designed and unattractive, I don’t see bad design. I see the work of a writer who is probably so passionate about writing, prettying it up to attract shallow followers is not their first priority. Beautiful pearls are found inside the drabbest looking oyster shells.

 

If I see a blog that would be considered by 'experts' to be badly designed and unattractive, I… Click To Tweet

 

Why I Read Your Blog

I love diving into the WWW and harvesting pearls. We really are a fickle bunch us humans. We have become so obsessed by appearance in real life that people die because they ‘don’t look right’. People young and old are under ridiculous pressure to be ‘beautiful’ and have the ‘right look’. That kind of attitude destroys lives.

Beautiful pearls are found inside the drabbest looking oyster shells. Click To Tweet

We have now extended that kind of faulty thinking to blogging. If you don’t ‘look right’ on-line, no-one will read you damn it! Well I will. One of the best conversations I ever had was with an itinerant busker in my hometown. Everyone was ignoring him because he looked so frightful by the shallow standards we all live by in our wonderful modern world.

Dusty old ladies were walking by with their noses in the air. He looked interesting to me. And he was. I spent two hours sitting on the pavement talking to him. He made me scream with laughter and cry with sadness. Yes, he was basically an outlaw, but also a human being with a story.

I got some really strange looks from the dusty old ladies as they passed by. I pitied them for not having the gift I have to see past the book cover. I love and cherish that gift every day of my life. If the ‘cover’ of your blog does not meet the shallow standards set by the brigade of self-appointed critics out there, I am more likely to read it. Why? Because you may be someone who has a ton of interesting stuff to say but is not bothered about aesthetics.

Or you may be someone who is learning and gradually developing the look of your blog. You may be someone who feels alone in the blogging world and just like in real life, I cannot bear seeing people side-lined for being different. I don’t sit in judgement of people in every day life, so why would I do it online?

Do you feel alone in the blogging world because of the 'standards' set by others? Click To Tweet

If you write your thoughts on a piece of messy scrap paper and show me, I am pleased that you had the courage to write and flattered that you wanted to show me. Why would I sit and criticise you for using scrap paper? If you have a ‘messy’ blog, I see past that. Your blog may be 'pretty' and 'look right' according to those who judge or it may not - I will be there anyway.

Your blog may be 'pretty' and 'look right' according to those who judge or it may not - I will be… Click To Tweet

One person’s loss is another person’s gain.

If you missed part one - you can find it by clicking here.

Next up - reason No 3 of 5 Reasons Why I Read Your Blog.

 

Friday Blog Booster Party

A five part series explaining why I read your blog - part one.

why I read your blog

True self-expression is more important than writing to please the masses. If you happen to do both - you are blessed.

1) I don’t work for the design police

Listicle style blog posts telling bloggers what they are doing ‘wrong’ with their blogs are probably very helpful to bloggers whose sole aim is to make money. To others, who simply want to write and maybe pick up a few genuine followers along the way, those kind of finger shaking sermons can be overwhelming and off-putting.There are hundreds of self-styled design gurus out there sitting in judgement of your blog and writing posts telling you what to do to make them want to read you. I am not one of them. If you lovingly devour the advice of every blogging 'expert' going, then this post is not for you. This is for those people who have told me they feel intimidated by the listicle brigade and their constant stream of rules.

This is for those people who have told me they feel intimidated by the listicle brigade and their… Click To Tweet

I do not work for the design police whose aim seems to be to banish any blogger who does not fit in with their idea of what the ‘right’ look is. Some writers have told me they do not feel worthy of being ‘out there’ because their blogs don’t meet the standards being touted by others.That is so sad. Writing is a life-saver for many people and insecurity is rife in such a competitive world. How awful that some people may run away from it because an army of self-styled 'experts' has set a standard they feel they cannot meet.

why I read your blog

The most enduring texts we live by break all the modern day 'rules' of writing.

There are many people out there, like me, who do not stand in judgement of how your blog looks. Maybe you like it the way it is, who I am to say it is ‘wrong’? Maybe you don’t want thousands of followers who have decided you are ‘ok’ because you ‘look right’. There is way too much of that crap going on out in the real world. Maybe you only want followers who see beyond looks and style at the substance of what you write. That’s me - that is why I read your blog. I don’t read it because it is ‘pretty’ any more than I would talk to you just because you are beautiful. I have struggled through the most difficult to read blogs because I want to hear you. I have forgiven many hard to read fancy fonts on black backgrounds because what you are saying to me is more important than how pretty and conformist it is.

There are many people out there, like me, who do not stand in judgement of how your blog looks. Click To Tweet

Last year, I found myself talking to a young woman with cerebral palsy. She was working as a volunteer at a museum. She was exactly like me in every single way apart from negotiating the world in a wheel chair and being unable to make herself understood very easily. Her speech did not flow and her head constantly made involuntary movements which made eye contact difficult for her. My brain had to work extra hard to decipher her words so I could learn about the period in history that was her area of expertise. We had a long conversation during which she gave me the gift of her knowledge. I didn't feel sorry for her. She was full of confidence and happy to chat. I felt sorry for all those who quickly walked past without bothering to stretch their listening abilities a little further. Would you have walked away from her because you couldn't be bothered to come out of your comfort zone and put some effort into listening?

How about we do the same with blogs? I didn't read your blog because it looked 'right', I read it because I was interested in YOU and not your ability to please the design police. I read you because I didn't want to risk missing the greatest writer of all time by being hung up on superficiality such as the font you chose

I do not want to risk missing the greatest writer of all time by being hung up on superficiality. Click To Tweet

One man’s meat is another man’s poison.

Next up - reason No 2 of 5 Reasons Why I Read Your Blog

Pirate radio

Pirate radio was a big part of youth culture in the UK in the 1960s.


However, as I found out when wandering round a small travelling exhibition about it last year, housewives also formed part of the target audience for pirate radio. That surprised me because I had thought it was all for us rebel kids of the era. People of a certain age in the UK will probably remember the pirate radio ships with great fondness. They were moored out in the North Sea, broadcasting the 'devil's music', otherwise known as pop. Old army forts were also used to broadcast from out in the middle of the rough English seas. It was all very dramatic and anti-establishment. Or so it seemed at the time.

Illegal pirate radio stations had to use offshore ships or sea-forts to get around British broadcasting laws.

Illegal pirate radio stations had to use offshore ships or sea-forts to get around British… Click To Tweet

Unregulated radio transmission for entertainment or political purposes was, and still is, illegal. Somehow, going out to sea got around those laws until they made another law called the Marine Broadcasting Offences Act to sort it out. There is a brilliant film called The Boat That Rocked. The film aimed to sum up the mood of 60s pirate radio - and it is a fabulous film.

However, according to people I have spoken to who were actually on board some of those ships at the time, the film is not an entirely accurate portrayal of how things really were. It's still a brilliantly entertaining and nostalgic film and as Bill Nighy is in it, I don't care if it is accurate or not - he is a genius actor. 

But enough of that - let me introduce you to Ted Allbeury, pirate radio's saviour of 60s housewives. If you haven't already done so, read the press cutting pictured here and then try not to get mad at him. His kind words must have been a great comfort to 60s housewives. Thank goodness he was around to tell them they were 'not necessarily neurotic'. Say what? Seriously?  Brave man. No Ted, they were all sitting at home waiting for Germaine Greer to happen.

I saw the cutting pinned to a board a couple of summers ago when the travelling pirate radio exhibition came to town. Some of the pirate radio ships were moored off the coast of the seaside town where I now live and the exhibition served to remind us all of our misspent youth. 

pirate radio

Listening to pirate radio under the covers at night on transistor radios was a huge thrill because our parents hated the music.

Listening to UK pirate radio under the covers at night on transistor radios was a huge thrill. Click To Tweet

(Younger people may not know what transistors were, let's just say they were the iPods of the day but with someone else choosing the music and deciding when you could hear it.)

When I first saw the cutting and read Mr. Allbeury's patronising words, I assumed he had been another one of the many 'off the wall' DJs who filled the airwaves with their misguided 60s sexism. I took the picture half thinking I would use it in a blog post and then forgot about it. When found it again recently,  I Googled Ted Allbeury to see if he had been very widely known in the 60s. I was shocked at what came up. If what good old Wikipedia says is true, Mr. Allbeury was the furthest thing from your average 'wild and crazy' 60s DJ that you could get.

According to Wiki - his full name was Theodore Edward le Bouthillier Allbeury and he was an author of British espionage fiction. His list of published novels is long. He had also been an intelligence officer for the British Secret Service during the second world war. He had a remarkably exciting life doing macho stuff, like parachuting into Nazi Germany - as you do. During the Cold War he, according to Wiki, was captured while running agents between East and West Germany. He was then tortured for his efforts. This man was no flake.

What I read kind of confirmed what I had suspected for years - that the whole pirate radio thing may have been a massive, elaborate  set-up.

In recent years, I came to suspect that the whole pirate radio thing was an exercise in social engineering using 'pop music' to brainwash the teenage  masses into the kind of thinking the ruling classes wanted them to have at the time. What better way to attract a whole generation towards the sexist message you want to spread than to encourage them to think the pirate radio ships were run by rebels wanting to get one over on the establishment?

The lovely Ted Allbeury, far from being a wild and crazy pirate radio rebel was a former British war-time spy. He was more James Bond than Jimi Hendrix and was extremely 'establishment'. He was also the Managing Director of Radio 390, a pirate radio station based at Red Sands Fort off the coast of Whitstable in Kent. He later moved on to a ship-based pirate station called Radio 355. He was clearly, in my opinion, on another mission. But this one was to help the establishment channel the masses with pop lyrics - pretty much the way they still do today. 

My memories of pirate radio, like many people of my era, evoke thoughts of the innocence and excitement of the time.

It was all about Swinging London, Carnaby Street, Mods and Rockers, mini-skirts, the Beatles and Andy Warhol. But as I began to read further into the history of pirate radio, I realised we'd all been had. They were not run by a bunch of random hipsters who wanted to bring music to the kids in an outrageous way that flouted the law. The masterminds behind it all included big businessmen  in the US who, it appears, were involved in politics. Reading deeply into the background of pirate radio reveals truths I would rather not face.

Reading deeply into the background of UK pirate radio reveals truths I would rather not face. Click To Tweet

Well that's another dream shattered. I always thought the pirate radio stations were run by, well... nice pirates wearing flared jeans, cheesecloth shirts while smoking the odd joint. To me, they were rebels who commandeered old ships and forts to play us the pop music that formed the soundtrack of our young lives. But it so was not like that at all.

Since reading up on Ted Allbeury, I feel a bit like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz when she found the man behind the curtain, controlling the image of the wizard. I wish I hadn't started looking. And all because of that stupid press cutting telling 60s housewives that they were not necessarily neurotic because they were at home all day feeling lonely. I mean seriously, thank God for Germaine.

What are your memories of pirate radio or the pop culture of your day?