From the incredibly gifted mind of Richard Curtis, who brought you the likes of Vicar of Dibley, Blackadder, and Mr. Bean, not to mention Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually and Bridget Jones Diary, comes the rockin’ Pirate Radio.
In true British fashion, the script was spot on, the casting was perfection, headed by Bill Nighy as Quentin, leader of the pirates, and, oh yeah, the music was not too bad either. In fact, I’ll bet that no less than half the theatre was already thinking about where to buy the soundtrack as the first song played over the opening credits.
The story is a simple one. It’s a rock radio station that happens to be on a boat. No harm there, right? Not according to the British government, who decides they are a menace to society and need to be shut down. That task is put in the hands of Jack Davenport (Steve from Coupling) who runs with the mandate that “…it’s the job of the government that if you don’t like something, you make up a new law that makes it illegal“.
“Take me to a microphone, I need to broadcast” – DJ Gavin
Mixed in the “heroes and villains” aspect of the story, you have an interesting subplot of the DJ hierarchy that existed between The Count (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Gavin (Rhys Ifans). Throw in the boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back again and with the soundtrack of your life blaring in the background, you have an enjoyable trip down memory lane.
Now, take away the fact that it was on water. Take away that they all had British accents (except the incredible Philip Seymour Hoffman). Take away the idea that it was the 60’s and not early 70’s. Ok, and take away that it took place in the North Sea and not North Texas. All I could think of while watching Pirate Radio was growing up listening to KZEW. The “Zoo” was rebellious. It was not conventional North Texas. You had the cast of characters of Tempe Lindsey, John Wells, Jon Dillon, Mike Rhyner, John Rody and John Labella. As with pirate radio, there were plenty of times that you listened and thought you were doing something illegal. Anyone out there with a “zoo” story to share?
Dragging myself into the 21st century, there’s a new radio sheriff in North Texas. KXT 91.7 signed on the air Monday, November 9 and has already made it to the #1 preset on the radio. Doesn’t have the “I’m doing something illegal by listening” aspect as did KZEW but it’s already head and shoulders above any music radio in North Texas or the North Sea. Check it out at www.kxt.org if you’re outside the North Texas area.
Go see Pirate Radio. Listen to KXT 91.7 and remember KZEW. Never forget the music, which will live on forever. How ’bout it then?