am 7. Oktober 2013
The book appears to be a reprint of a book called "The Radio Caroline Story from the Inside" which was for sale in 2002. In 2010 it's title "The Ship That Rocked The World" with the subtitle "The inside true story" again implies, that Tom Lodge is going to lift the curtain to let us have a look behind the scenes. The year before, 2009, the movie "The Boat That Rocked" set sail onto the screens. Honi soit qui mal y pense.
After going through about 240 pages easy to read but long-winded pages, I learnt quite a lot about Tom Lodge himself and the music, that he did fancy during the sixties. The ships, the Caroline organisation and all the other DJ's did appear to me as a setting for a storyline with Tom Lodge as the protagonist of the rock and roll radio revolution in the UK. That was not quite what I expected from the labeling. With an autobiographic like title you would come closer to the content of the book.
It does, however, still deserve a slot in the collector's bookshelf, for it lets you get a feeling of the changes that Rock 'N' Roll brought to the youth at the time and the role, that the pirate radio stations obviously played. Emphasis is put on the style that made - and still makes today - a radio show successful: do everything with full attention. Be it the records, the jingles, the adverts and the linking announcements: it had to be a harmonic stream of lively sounds, dedicated to each single listener, to whom the DJ was to connect.
Between the lines the book also depicts the dilemma that Ronan O'Rahilly always was in. On one hand, he wanted to give freedom of choice to both the listeners and the DJ's. On the other hand, this can only be afforded as long as somebody is paying for the show. But he was smart enough to circumnavigate nearly all of the upcoming obstacles and gave those whom he trusted a free hand, always acting as the eminence in the background and never short of surprising twists.
Tom Lodge, who did play his role in creating the liberating format of Caroline North and later Caroline South, left the station as it had to buckle under commercial constraints, either because he didn't want to serve in an upcoming playola format or he couldn't accept a wage reduction of half the salary, may be both. This seperates him from Ronan and his followers or supports - whichever way you prefer - that tolerated a business making partner in order to maintain the original spirit, even into the 80's.
To conclude, the book is not bad and thus deserves three stars out of five.