Table of Contents
The media encountered a lot of challenges and difficulties on the way to its popularity and development. Among the most powerful influences it experienced was the impact of politics as it had enough power to control the media’s content. Moreover, media was mostly used as a means of spreading the information conducive for the political life of the country. The paper analyzes the film Pirate Radio in the retrospective of the history of Great Britain Broadcasting. The film appears to be a perfect representation of the broadcasting history and is regarded as a manifesto of the media of the period, however it appeals only to those interested in and acknowledged with the atmosphere of the film.
Listening Behind the Curtain
“From scarcity to abundance” is the exact phrase to describe the history of British Broadcasting. In 1950, Great Britain was able to brag about only one channel. However, since then the number of bandwidth and channels increased significantly, Great Britain possesses nowadays more than 400 channels (Downing 58). In 1957, BBC expressed its intentions and desires to have a history of its own both written and published (Downing 59). As a result, nowadays the world offers a great variety of the BBC’s histories, each of them presenting some new piece of information.
Earlier, West Germany seemed to be an isolated society, a mysterious police state protected by a mobilized border. Since the Cold War ended, it became apparent how permeable the East–West border was, infiltrated not just by individuals and thoughts, but also by the electronic media in the ether’s war (Major 255). In 1961, one East German office noted that the GDR was the objective of an entire row of broadcasters. “What Radio in the American Sector cannot manage with its heavy-handed yokel-baiting, Radio Luxembourg is supposed to achieve with schmaltzy hit parades and idiotic write-ins.” (Major 255)
In case it does not work, the BBC is ready to air its ideas, refined and elaborate news programs. The BBC was ready to provide something interesting for everyone. During the electronic wars of the twentieth century, it was characteristical that the wireless transmissions could be utilized to appraise and amuse home populaces, as well as be enjoyed by people from other locations. Radio was considered a twofold edged sword, which gave the residents the opportunity to retune to anti-propaganda. In the period of the World War II, the opposing parties had utilized radio as a branch of a mental war to reach the rival masses. The Cold War simply proceeded and supported this tradition. Walter Hixson was among the first to demonstrate how radio separated and opened the Iron Curtain. The role of the Voice of America extended significantly, aiming at the Soviet Union and its supporters. Despite the fact that the Voice of America deviated from what it viewed as obvious propaganda to genuine news and amusing programs. Some other American radio stations (e.g. Radio Liberty, Radio Free Europe) paid particular attention to the eastern alliance (however not East Germany). A great part of the literature concerning the above-mentioned stations remained for quite a while self-portraying and to some degree self-complimentary. These stations likewise resorted to substantial lengths to analyze their listeners behind the Iron Curtain, either by interviewing the exiles who headed west in the 1950s or by sending radio reporters on unsystematic information gathering missions (Major 256).
The East German Program was the creation of the Cold War whose wartime origin was obvious. Ongoing radio casting ethically supported the confidence in the totalitarian similitudes of Nazi and East Germany (Nazi and communist). It was authentic up to 1953 and, thus, received extra life span in 1961 (by the building of the Berlin Wall) (Major 260). This perspective experienced developing opposition inside of the British foreign strategy founded in 1960s rather of ideological merging than from the substances of political reconciliation. In any case, the era of hostility towards Hitler supporters was saintly believed to have an ethical mission. The programming in the East German preserved a specific status on the Cold War’s frontline and figured out how to fight off changes longer than other eastern alliance administrations inside of the World Service. Eventually, in any case, broadcasting vigorously hostile to communism became a chronological error: the East Zone Program aired by the Cold War, which in 1960s was renamed to East German Program, surrendered to the powers of entertainment in 1970s (Major 271).
The BBC never supported the dynamic removal of the East German approach, so that Radio Free Europe would be considered as a part of liberationists. Although, it experienced a shortage of assets comparing to its American peers, which implied that it was referred to a constrained demographics among the East German Formation of middle class. Its investigations of the pop culture were exceedingly restricted, and it never tried to create a foundation in the way that RFE may have accomplished. Michael Meyen and Katja Schwer claim that even in the GDR the prime group of listeners was interested in excitement instead of political data and remote supporters who disregarded this (Major 258).
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The Foreign Office perceived the requirement for a more extensive and more youthful claim, however, the protectors of the broadcasting in the Bush House advocated narrowcasting towards the high society audience (Major 258).
What becomes more significant is radio uncovering the parallels between the sender and the receiver of the message, between broadcasters and potential viewers/listeners/readers. In order not to stay behind and keep up with the GDR audience, BBC scriptwriters needed to drench themselves in the common talks of the population of the East. Caricature of the most recent Party line required close perusing of the GDR press. To this degree, any western debate was by its tendency a counter-talk with what was offered by the East. Transmitters on both sides listened precisely to what the resistance was exposing, thus it seems incorrect to concentrate on segregation. The ethereal Iron Curtain was a sounding board getting driving forces from two sides.
Moreover, in spite of the Iron Curtain’s presence, its excerpt with a large number of uncensored letters recommends the need to relinquish models of hermetic conclusion (even after the Berlin Wall). The audience members in the East were presumably vastly enlightened about both sides of the dispute comparing to their western partners. With projects like the Letters without Signature, the listeners themselves were turning into broadcasters. In this case, one needs to reconsider the relationship between the dynamic and unassertive participants of this ethereal group. Without a doubt, BBC as a voice presenting democracy had certain assumptions about the nature of the listeners, what was generally seen as a totalitarian framework. It picked an input’s percentage to affirm this perspective. There was a threat that it was addressing to the reconstructed and self-selecting anticommunists from the East, making it distant to the inaudible mass. To this degree, these were progressively false copies. Yet, most of the time it was the BBC that needed to react, and at times, without a doubt, was controlled by its audience.
Yet, unlike the letters of the East German listeners to such figures as Eisler, BBC letters were broadcasted, so they were semi-opened for public reports from the very beginning. These were reports with several audiences (Major 270). The obvious listeners of the Letters without Signature were propitious fellow East Germans, however, they were infrequently likewise directed as reformations of indistinctive views of fellow civilians inclined by different public reasoning (e.g. GDR press). However, there were enough messages written contrary to what was expected, and those that argued for a middle way, to propose a nuanced and reasonable view of what was happening in East Germany. This is less clear when attempting to reproduce what East Germans envisioned about the West. East German letter-composers may have imagined that they were conveying to the Great Britain, which in general was not regarded as the mother of democracy, but rather as the deceptive Albion of settlements and broken guarantees. Presumably, the majority of members of British overall population had no notion of these messages from behind the Iron Curtain. The West unquestionably implied for some writers universal organizations, which appeared to have Germany’s destiny in its hands. One unsubstantial beneficiary of such messages in the 1950s was the ambassador who was mulling over an arrival to pacification (Major 270). Within the data gathering foundation of skillful East Germany watchers, the scattering of the listeners analysis reports reflected a force struggle between anti-pacification Cold War hardliners, and liberals supporting acknowledgment of the Cold War present state of affairs and a modus vivendi with the East (Major 270). The accessibility of their own channel in East Germany implied that the Foreign Office was not singularly dependent on prattle from other Cold War players such as Bonn’s Ministry of All-German Affairs, which had a personal stake in keeping alive a defensive talk in the Zone. (Major 270)
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It is significant to acknowledge the other covert audience members, and unwitting beneficiaries of these messages. Among these were proficient East German busybodies, for example, party authorities and those who had a task to interpret project content and observe general society’s state of mind. Openly it was simple for the communist powers to release non-traditional impressions through parroting the western advocacy. Although, it was likewise in light of a legitimate concern for the GDR administering elites to permit letters similar to those from the female doctor who never made medicinal officer proceed, since they offered nothing but an antitoxin to the inexorably anodyne and self-insulating reports of GDR public assessment through authority channels. At this level, these open privileged insights assured stealthy criticism generally accessible through democratic voting or focus groups. To this degree, the Party was subtly listening to its own people behind the curtain.
Broadcasting to the Germans “is like sitting down to tea with the man who came to burgle your house” (Bayles 96). Germans are opponents and enemies, but they should not be treated as such in terms of radio broadcasting. The impudent nasty translations to English from German messages have had the reverse effect, and, thus, the British strategists have preferred the approach that is the gold middle between devotion and comradeship. The German listeners had similar interests, since they also wished to be aware of the truth about the struggle and the Nazis (Bayles 96).
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Diverse programs were invented for versatile sections of the residents. However, every section was poisoned with specific information. The farmers were impressed with the information concerning farmers shifting around Europe like pawns. The housewives were told about the difficulties and challenges on the frontline, the illnesses and poverty caused by inadequate leadership. Germans were so afraid to listen to the radio (because of the risk of imprisonment and even death) and, therefore, the radio programs were camouflaged and hidden. This gave rise to the establishment of laws on the broadcasting restriction of the government information.
History of Rock ‘n’ Roll Music
1964 was a year in the history of rock music, as well as long decline. Chuck Berry had just got out of jail, Elvis plunged headlong into the movie, Body Holly, and Eddie Kokran already died, Jerry Lee was thrown from the industry because of the scandal about his marriage to a thirteen-year-old, and Little Richard gave up music for a preacher career (Robertson 72). It was the end of an era of American rock ‘n’ roll – the next time the musicians were able to mount the United States on the world stage was only appeared psychedelic group The Doors. On the contrary, the history of rock ‘n’ roll in Britain just began. The Beatles with their dirty twin brother and The Rolling Stones just flew the ocean and started the era of British invasion in the former colonies of their homeland. The Who began to gain first supporters, and The Animals have created their own version of American folk song House of the Rising Sun, which has become an example to follow and is included in the list of 500 best songs of all time.
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At the same time, the state, as always, remains slightly behind its youth. The conservative government of Alec Douglas-Hume gains the power, and all radio space is given to BBC Company that is not too concerned with the contemporary music and broadcasts it at most two hours a week, besides, it was mostly jazz and classics. The law of economics of demand and supply relationship, which would work even in an unlawful manner, encouraged the radio stations to change. So on Saturday, March 28, 1964, in the British air the new hits were broadcasted (Robertson 80). The radio Carolina, named after the daughter of President Kennedy that belonged to two former honest businessmen, and later to the two radio pirates Ronan O’Reilly and Oliver Smedley, started broadcasting from a ship situated in the international waters anchored five miles from the coast of England (Robertson 93). Three years and two British governments could not and finally did not want to prevent Carolina and her colleagues from entertaining young people and earning money on advertising without paying taxes until they got sick and tired of it. The consequence was the law on offenses in the field of maritime radio, claiming that radio pirates and their advertisers were deemed criminals. The very Carolina came under the jurisdiction of a neighboring country. Similarly, many of the same stations were tracked by the same BBC that realized what their problem was. The paper analyzes the film Pirate Radio in the retrospective of the history of broadcasting of the Great Britain. The film appears to be a perfect representation of the broadcasting history and is regarded as a manifesto of the media, however it appeals only to those interested in the film.
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Background Information. Before becoming a director, Richard Curtis was known as a writer. He wrote scripts for sketches with Rowan Atkinson and for his own TV series Black Adder. Moreover, wrote the screenplay for the wonderful film Four Weddings and a Funeral, the film Notting Hill‘, and then put up the Christmas comedy Love Actually on his script. His scripts were so successful that it became clear that Curtis himself should produce a film of his scenario. Therefore, for Pirate Radio, the second film of Curtis as a director, viewers and critics were waiting breathlessly. However, viewers understood that they were unlikely to face a new Love Actually, since such an approach would be doomed from the outset. However, Curtis was not going to make a new Love Actually. He created Pirate Radio – a nostalgic rock comedy about miraculous sixties, about how young they were, what music they were listening to, and how cool were their hangouts.
Unlike the Love Actually, Pirate Radio is divided into several completely different episodes in which characters involved are connected in one way or another. The film is more or less one-character-centered scenario: the life of a young boy on the pirate rock- ship and British officials struggling with this rock-ship, depicted through the minister’s and his assistant’s eyes.
General Information. Pirate Radio is a film directed by Richard Curtis released in 2009 that focuses on the history of a pirate radio stations and the first steps of pop and rock music in Britain in the 60s. The film aims to deprive the viewers’ ears of their virginity. The film provides the viewers with the opportunity to learn new interesting facts about the events that took place on the shores of the United Kingdom in the early 60s of the last century. The only licensed radio station BBC broadcasted news and classical music. The radio station did not forget about extremely popular among youth rock ‘n’ roll and devoted less than forty minutes a day broadcasting it, taking care, of course, of the proper upbringing of the younger generation. Although, nature of youngsters cannot stand emptiness, and, since demand creates supply, smart enough people have invented the solution to this problem. A group of DJs organized illegal clandestine radio station right on the board of the ship and broadcasted day and night rock ‘n’ roll on the restricted station. The government that disapproved the distribution of rock ‘n’ roll music, was trying to stop illegal broadcasting. However, while the radio station gained the whole army of listeners, retreatment appeared to be not a congruous option.
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Plot. The film begins with a young man named Carl (Tom Sturridge) arriving at a ship from which one of the most famous pirate radio station called Pirate Radio broadcasts forbidden music. His mother Charlotte (Emma Thompson) sent Charles to the ship, because the he smokes not only cigarettes, and behaves awfully. The head of the radio station, frenetic Quentin (Bill Nye), did not immediately understand why Karl was sent for re-education to the ship, where sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll was continuously running the show. However, when he learns that his mother was Charlotte, the former sex -symbol of the youth hangouts, then he realizes that the boy was sent specifically to be introduced to the inviolable value of life.
As it comes out later, there were many legends to be introduced. The ship appears to be a habitat for the idols of mid-sixties, such DJs of the pirate radio as blast fat man named Dr. Dave, a stunning American nicknamed The Count (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a simple young man named Simon (Chris O’Dowd), the fondling of all women Midnight Mark, and a few more DJs, each of whom has its own crowd of admirers. According to tradition, there are no women on the boat, except the cook Felicity (Katherine Parkinson), but she is a lesbian, so nobody cares.