In late 1999 and 2000 I hung out with the PirateTV.net crew at the Ninjatune studios in South London, for weekly netcast live audiovisual jams. The PirateTV slogan was “DIY psychedelic political interactive streaming zentertainment with quality content from top selectors”. The lineup would change from week to week, the mainstayers being Mike (VJ Juxta), Bongo and Matt Black (Coldcut). Sometimes live musicians would come in, I’d often do live camera for those. We netcast from Matt’s studio “Spacelab” behind the record label offices, crammed with records, instruments, decks and audiovisual gear. There was even a couple of old early synthesizers that the Doctor Who theme song was played on, I’m not sure how often they got dusted off and plugged in. The Fairlight Computer Video Instrument got a fair bit of play, as did PCs running Vjamm (running early versions of Vjamm 2 at that stage) and the Panasonic MX50 video mixers. We used Real Producer to stream out to a varying audience, encouraging folks to hop into the IRC channel to chat while we jammed.
This was my first experience of VJing, a fun and experimental environment of late nights jamming away in the permanent smoke haze of the studio (working through endless packs of Ninja Skins), even if there weren’t that many people tuned in to watch. Crews around the world had shows at different times and days of the week.
“http://www.piratetv.net was born out of the excitement of early London pirate radio days, frustration with the dumbing down of legal stations and the straightjacket of commercial television … a showcase for the creation and display of quality zentertainment, free from the financial and creative restraints of the industry …
It’s about wanting things raw and fresh. Like a salad. Put simply Piratetv.net is the place to visit for live audio/visual streams.
It’s like passing a fiddle around the world …”
Later on, Soozy and Mick from Undercurrents showed up to a few jams, and I travelled out to Oxford to help them set up the first Undercurrents PirateTV netcast. Not long after this Undercurrents offered me a job, so I stuck around in Oxford where we did our weekly netcast from the Undercurrents office, and later Soozy’s house. This show was a mix of mashup experimentation with live studio interviews, the activist news, and new and classic direct action videos. We usually had a big crew – Mick Fuzz, Hamish, Soozy, Hannah, Flo and whoever else was in town and wanted to get involved. Paul from Undercurrents set us up for a live stream from his home in a beautiful old heritage building in a nearby village for one special netcast.
We also broadcast live streams from events such as the Mayday protests in 2001 in London.
Check out the PirateTV.net archive channel on YouTube.