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volume 6
december 2003

Tony Allan tells his story


  Review of the double-cd "The Tony Allan Story"
by Hans Knot
  As a deejay, Tony Allan was involved with famous offshore stations like RNI, Radio Caroline, Radio Seagull, Radio Mi Amigo, Radio Atlantis and the Voice of Peace. He now tells all about his exploits on a double-cd, which was released in 2002. Approvingly, Hans Knot listened to the results.
1 Right: Tony Allan in the Maidstone Studio (August 19, 2001); copyright © Steve Szmidt

Everybody can be a jock ... "Everybody can be a jock, so I thought I want to be a jock." Only 15 years old, Tony Allan went to the Caroline House in Chesterfields Gardens to help the girls of the Caroline Club there, sending out material to the members. After a few visits, he became totally pissed off after asking Ronan O'Rahilly if he could work as a deejay for Caroline. Of course, O'Rahilly thought he was far too young to go out to one of the radio ships of the station. However, only a few years later Allan's dream became true, when he went down from London to Glasgow by train. Reason: Scotland was a country with his own rights and it had a radio station airing its programmes from international waters, Radio Scotland.

  For Radio Scotland Allan did some links in the land based studio. That way he could do his thing to show he was a talent. This meant the start of a long career for this excellent deejay who worked on a lot of offshore radio stations: RNI, Radio Caroline, Radio Seagull, Radio Mi Amigo and even live broadcasts for the Dutch service of Radio Atlantis, to name a few of them. Of course we may also not forget his work for Abe Nathan and his Voice of Peace.
2 Left: Tony Allan's double-cd

Allan tells his story. Now, there's a double cd, produced by no one else than Bob Lawrence, on which Allan tells his fascinating story. Very emotionally, for instance, he reports his friendship with Stuart Henry, which even gave me tears in the eyes. After his Scotland period, Allan worked on a couple of television stations as continuity announcer. And one day, when working for Grenada Television, he watched the ITV news and saw an item about Radio North Sea International. It was summer 1970 and, from that moment on, Tony knew that he wouldn't be any longer in television, which he disliked anyway. He phoned his friend Graham Gill and for a while he could sleep on the floor of Gill's apartment in Amsterdam. From there on, he tried to get a job on Radio Northsea International.

  On RNI in 1971, Allan made real good programs and even did announcements in very good Dutch and on this cd he reveals how he learned the Dutch language. Also he declares how he made Bolland and Bolland to break the charts for the first time. And, he is not forgetting to tell about the times when he opened up the temporary station "RNI 2" on the former Radio Veronica frequency "192, when Veronica switched frequencies to 538 meters. They are all really wonderful stories and it's good to hear Allan's voice telling them.
  In his contribution to this journal, titled "Bringing the MV Peace to Israel," Ed Simeone once told about the Voice of Peace going from the USA to Cadiz in Spain. To this Tony Allan now adds his fascinating tale, how he moored the ship as the captain was drunk. Of course he gets on talking about the problems in Spain with the police. They were looking for guns on the Voice of Peace. There was also a story, which I did not know before, about the money which came in from the Mafia from Messina in Italy. The story continues with Allan's memories about the time off the Israeli coast.
3 Right: Bob Lawrence

An excellent product. During his VOP-yeares, Allan went back a couple of times to Radio Caroline. I do remember his first return in October 1973. It was Dennis King who drove him from Schiphol Airport to the Van Hoogendorpstraat. I was there on that very same day and it was emotional to see how the Caroline people were happy that their lost son had returned. That was also the very first time I met Allan personally and it would not be the last time. It would take us too far to tell everything in advance about all the subjects producer Bob Lawrence was talking to with Allan. Of course there is the subject of "Loving Awareness," the love philosophy of O'Rahilly. For many people "LA" was part and parcel of Radio Caroline, but for me hearing Allan talk about it for 12 minutes is a bit too long. However, it was good to hear Allan relating the fact that he is gay and how he was the very first deejay on the world talked openly about it. In this respect, he also gives some comments about how the famous jingles, telling "Tony Allan is gay," were produced. One part of Allan's career was producing jingles and commercials, as well as doing radio programs on several Irish stations; and this part of his life is not forgotten.

  Truly, I must confess that I've listened to the cd's twice, in instant replay, and there's only one thing I had problems with. Really, there was too much music in the background during the interview. Maybe this due to the fact that I'm getting older and therefore background music irritates me more than before. Except for that, Tony Allan and Bob Lawrence have forged an excellent product. The Tony Allan story is available on two cd's and can be ordered for 21 Pounds or 30 Euros by sending a cheque or cash to The Radio Production Company, PO Box 113, Sheerness, ME12, 2TD United Kingdom.
  2003 © Soundscapes