There’s something that’s been missing from the overall thread of this album of films that I haven’t been able to put my finger on until now. I’ve wanted this “after-hours television” feel to the King of Spades but anything that’s been floating to the surface has been schmaltzy and way too overdone.
Until I went down my 90th rabbit hole with this and re-discovered pirate television and pirate radio. Subversive, clandestine infiltration. Hijacking. Stealing. Pirate radio and TV stole airwaves with one purpose: DISRUPT.
The antenna of local TV stations, like the ones below, were prone for intrusion since they would announce what frequencies they operated on at the end of every broadcasting day. Remember broadcast day sign-offs? Man…I’m old.
The intention of the films that make up the King of Spades is to do the same thing. Disrupt to a point that it forces a change of perspective. Or at least a questioning of your own perspective. Even if just for a minute. Big difference between my situation and the pirate signal situation though: I’ve got more time. As much as I want of it. Pirate television interruptions were fleeting. A minute? Maybe less? They’re like streakers at a football game…shocking and disrupting for a quick second then suddenly the moment is gone and we’re swiftly back to reality.
Like…some of you might remember this being on national news in the US…when this guy dressed as Max Headrome and hijacked a Chicago TV station’s airwaves during its regular programming. If you were born after this happened or weren’t aware, know your history.👇 Starts around the 20 sec. mark.
It was an infamous hack. So was this completely separate incident in Syracuse, New York. From the New York Times👇
In trouble when found. They were never found:
“No one knows for sure how many people saw telecasts over the weekend of such fare as “Deep Throat” and “Rocky” on a station calling itself Lucky Seven. What is certain is that the programs came over Channel 7, and there is not supposed to be any Channel 7 in Syracuse.”
Deep Throat and Rocky 😂 These people even made a station identification featuring a pair of dice rolled to seven, backed by female singers.
Well, those days are over. Long enough ago for it to be a faded memory hanging from a shoestring. Below is the website of something called “Pirate Television” out of Seattle but it’s a legal, nationally syndicated program that “challenges the Media Blockade by bringing you alternative information and independent programming that is unavailable on the Corporate Sponsor-Ship.” Cool idea. But not the real McCoy. Also, their archive goes back to 2008 but their website looks like it goes back to 1995. Neon green Times New Roman font on black? Stylish.
Anyway…this sort of underground, off-the-radar hijacking gets me excited. We know there’s pirate radio. And there’s been pirate television. But has there ever been a pirate cinema? Could there even be a true pirate cinema? Hmmm…