Do other people still react when they see the number 208? I conditioned myself to thinking only of Radio Luxembourg at a young age. Back in the dark ages, when Swedish radio offered about three hours of pop music a week, it was a little bit of a culture shock to visit the English Pen Friend who had access to lots of music, and who also seemed to have something wonderful called Radio Luxembourg.
Once home, I managed to unearth one radio which could receive on MW208. Not very well, but in those days we were pioneers and put up with a lot. Apart from the crackling reception, I had to deal with DJs who spoke a new language, and I don’t mean English. It was a totally new way of talking about pop music. They were even allowed to say if they liked a record, which was shocking to a listener from the land of equality where you just didn’t say things like that.
Over the three years or so that I sat glued to the radio, I went through a few DJs, but my favourite was Mark Wesley, who was all right once I’d stopped disliking him…
I subscribed to a magazine called Fabulous 208, which had pictures of pop stars, and pictures of the DJs. That was useful when School Friend and I InterRailed to Luxembourg in 1972. The radio station was high on my list, so School Friend was dragged there, whether she liked it or not. We hovered in the park outside the radio station, when along came a red sports car, which thanks to my nerdy reading habits I recognised as belonging to Mark Wesley.
He drove off to park the car, after letting Kid Jensen jump out first. School Friend and I raced along with cameras, elbowing a couple of German teenagers out of the way. The Kid (this was before he turned back into plain David) posed happily for his admirers, and left. I nearly expired with excitement waiting for Mark, but he turned up eventually. He posed rather more impatiently, but still, I got a picture of him.
And School Friend uttered the words she used a lot on that trip; ‘he’s quite good looking, really.’