Pirate Radio (Not The Fun Kind)

When I was a kid, there was this media form I listened to a lot that I never really got until I was an adult. They were tapes, tapes of stories, usually interspersed with songs. There were a few that were classics of older forms, particularly a few different reinterpretations of the story of Pilgrim’s Progress, or old children’s stories interspersed with hymns. The most common and odious of them in hindsight were the Patch the Pirate series.

I’ll level with you, Patch The Pirate is creepy-ass Christian kid-targeted propoganda. It flat out promises to be, with its notions of ‘instilling good values’ and ‘wholesome family fun’ which are cloakwords for a fundamentalist Christian perspective on values and relationships. It preaches against Evolution, against Public Schooling, against a non-literal interpretation of the Bible, against ‘Mixing With Worldly Elements,’ against self-interest and holy shit it preaches against the idea of youth independence. How creepy is it? Check out this trio of girls singing one of the enduring memories of the Patch the Pirate legacy, to me, “I Wanna Marry Daddy When I Grow Up.

I won’t blame you if you don’t click the video after an intro like that.

Anyway, this sort of thing defined my youth experience. We’d be allowed to listen to these little records, on tiny little record players, we’d transcribe them to tapes, we’d learn the songs and sing along with them and that was acceptable and permitted ‘popular culture.’

I didn’t realise it until a few years ago but the reason these things even exist is because you have one person with some talent, a bunch of people who work for cheap (the cast of Patch the Pirate was Ron Hamilton’s family – so yes, his actual daughter sang the above song), and limited assets. The low cost of audio production gave this mass media form a low barrier to entry.

I guess what I’m saying is it’s kind of inevitable I was going to try out podcasting.

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