Below is short story about the importance of the illegal pirate radio stations that came about in London in the late 80’s. These included Centreforce 88.3, which was the first pirate to broadcast 24/7 and played only house music. The other big stations included KISS and Sunrise, all of which played their part in helping to provide information about the forthcoming raves and the soundtracks to get the ravers to them.
This period really only lasted a handful of years. The authorities either closed the stations down or like KISS did, went legal. For many DJ’s their careers began playing with the pirates: Judge Jules, Trevor ‘Mad Hat’ Nelson amongst them. In July 2018 Centreforce returned, only this time as a legal station having been granted a DAB licence. The station is fuelling the rave-waves again with the best in old and new dance music and the shows are delivered by a mixture of original and new Centreforce DJ’s-who are taking the listeners ‘back from the past and into the future’.
KEEP IT LOCKED.
Another car pulls into the car park, it could be any car park off of the M25. The sound of the bass coming from a tune being played on the cars stereo mixes with the sound of the gravel. The Ford Escort RS pulls up alongside a red Metro that is parked awkwardly beside a Renault 5 GT Turbo, that is next to a recently polished Ford Fiesta XR2 and, then a battered Vauxhall Astra GTE and, then the flashy BMW M3. It’s the usual suspects and turn-out for a warm Thursday evening in august 1989.
There are about twenty young people- the oldest has just turned twenty one. Males dressed in their Timberland boots or Wallabees make up the majority of the pack, but there are a few females, all of which appear to be happy and bouncy, wearing Converse boots in the most popular colours: red and white and yellow and white. There is a lot of hair displayed by both genders.
The Escort has caught the attention of the crowd and they watch on as the cars passenger door swing open. Rich in Paradise from the FPI Project blasts out as a male, nineteen years old steps out, a joint hanging out of the corner of his grinning mouth. He walks over to the crowd and there are friendly greetings. The joint gets shared around.
The driver of the Escort remains in his motor. Two of the crowd stroll over to him and they start to converse, which is mostly about exchanging updates on information regards the next rave.
The general mood of the ‘crew’ is upbeat. They’ve had four days to get over the excesses of the weekend. They’d been to the World Dance rave that had gone off near the village of Wrotham. Last Saturday had started off in the usual manner. A meet up in the car park, a convoy of a dozen cars and a journey to London, on that occasion Wembley because that was where the rave was meant to be. But there have been issues with the police and they’d caused enough problems meaning a plan B was necessary. The pills had started to kick in, the first waves being felt. Thankfully the word has been spread that there’s a party happening near Wrotham. Result, that’s on the way home. An hour and a half later they were dancing in the field, the music was great and the crowd friendly. This is the second summer of love and they are loving it!
Back in the car park the driver of the Escort is fiddling with the dial on his car stereos radio. For a moment connection was lost with Centreforce Radio 88.3 and this is frustrating, especially as the driver was waiting for an update from Mr Pasha about the portable phone number that will be needed for the rave that is meant to happening in two days time. It’s Mr Pasha tonight, but on any other night it could be Kenny Ken, Keith Mac, Danielle and her sister Rochelle or The Doctor, the list of Centreforce DJ’s goes on and on.
For these nocturnal car park dwellers Centreforce means everything to them. Centreforce 88.3 IS the BIG one. Since the pirate radio station went live back in May this crowd of ravers have been ‘locking on’ and hanging on to every ‘big shout going out’ and advert-they especially like the ‘let’s go mental’ one. For this bunch living in another ordinary town in Kent, Centreforce is their way of finding out all the updated information regards what raves are happening and where the ticket outlets are, so they can secure their ticket (but they know they don’t always need to and most are prepared to take the gamble of just trying to get into the party on the night anyway).
>Come the Saturday night this car park scene will be repeated by thousands of other ravers. Countless towns in the Home Counties will see groups of young people coming together, meeting up, locking onto Centreforce, waiting for the updates on where the meeting points will be-it maybe the South Mimms Service Station, it could be on Blackheath Common again.
Mr Pasha or Mr Music or any of the Centreforce DJ’s will guide these ravers to where they want to be-where they need to be. Some will be successful in finding the rave, many will not, but driving around the M25 in convoys of 7, 8, 9 cars jam packed full of ravers will be a buzz in itself. And whilst they drive along those dark country lanes Centreforce will keep them company with the latest tunes, the most recent imports and house classics.
But its still only Thursday and this car park of ravers will mostly just spend the night locking onto Centreforce, chatting about the last party, chatting about the next and each and everyone of them will be grateful that Centreforce Radio 88.3 is there for them. They know they’d be fucked without it. These ravers will keep it locked!