Radio activity kills

(The following is an excerpt from a longer work.)


DJ Kees flees Amsterdam under mysterious circumstances with teen daughter & story narrator, Alouette. They fly to Brooklyn to begin a new life of surreal gigs in illegal nonplace warehouses, exploitation by the slumlord-artist-grifter Amber, and a series of hallucinatory, hilarious and harrowing post-hipster adventures. The slumlord eventually turns the duo in at Brooklyn’s DHS immigration office as part of a plea bargain & for which he earns a modest bounty…


As the son of a legendary WW2 Resistance radio builder, papa’s name naturally came up at a kraakbeweging [squat movement] meeting. “Little Jammer” (papa’s nickname back then) was enthusiastically recruited to build a stoorzender or jamming station because people figured like father like son – transmitter-building as genetic predestination.

Jamming is the intentional use of radio noise or signals to create radio frequency disruption of normal transmissions. Jams occur when you decrease the ratio of signal power to noise background power. A decibel ratio greater than 1:1 (0 DB) means more signal [useful info] than noise [irrelevant data] and vice versa. Broadcasting consists of a radio transmitter that receives information in the form of an electronic signal such as audio from a microphone. The transmitter combines the information signal with the radio frequency signal, which generates an alternating current or modulation. The signal is sent to an antenna, usually located on a rooftop to increase reach.

Tune the transmitter to the same frequency as the target receiver using the same modulation and sufficient power to override the target signal as the duration ratio begins to equalize at the receiver end. The wave is received on radios in an area when tuned to the same frequency, effectively blocking the station’s original wave. …

A hint about papa’s need to flee is offered by this 1980 historical event. List of other possible reasons and people who might be after him:

  • Legacy of 1980 heroism haunted him, pressured him beyond what humans can deal with. Cops who still had it in for him.
  • He had unpaid debts and/or had ripped off the wrong people – stealing from the stealers might sound good in Robin Hood but it can also be stupid dangerous.
  • Was blacklisted from the club scene; couldn’t earn a living.
  • Who hired those young thugs who threw his boots and wallet out on the ice outside Amsterdam? He claims they tied me to a tree so I could watch him “hopefully” drown. I don’t remember.
  • Jerzy, the Amsterdam slumlord-hitman still has papa on his hit list for supposedly ratting him out to the cops.
  • Max Anton LaVay, the voodoo squatter who terrorized Silo squatters and who papa unmasked has followers willing to do his dirty work?
  • The upset benefactor-friends who funded his novel Stoormeester that never happened and felt duped.
  • Did cops hire members of the motorcycle gang, Satan’s Klompen [Satan’s Wooden Shoes], to rough up radicals, harass squatters, set suspicious fires, kidnap movement leaders.
  • The Venus Disco club owner papa had problems getting paid by had friends in criminal circuits, including bikers.
  • Bikers at the Bar Sass whose 20 motorcycles he knocked over when drunk – not on purpose, but what do they care?
  • Did he seriously injure the young son of a motorcycle gang member in a tragic accident?
  • Unwittingly humiliated the girl friend of a thug at a club where papa DJed?
  • Took off with somebody’s drug stash?
  • Identity theft?
  • Offended or molested an uitsmijter’s [doorman’s] girlfriend?
  • Drained mama’s Postbank account? [Counter-rumor: she owed him.]
  • Led a protest against a record label that ripped off artists and moved to Berlin, ignoring unpaid royalties.
  • Who had been stalking him in Amsterdam?
  • Did he appear on WANTED posters as some had claimed?

During WWII, the Nazis occupied the Netherlands and attempted to jam illegal BBC radio broadcasts, which provided Dutch citizens with vital information and hope. Meanwhile, the Resistance jammed Occupier communications, an effective Resistance tool that disturbed Nazi operations. For example, Resistance radio operators misled Nazi pilots with false instructions in German, a “spoofing attack,” in which someone masquerades as another by falsifying data and thereby gaining advantage.

The Resistance also overrode the Nazis own jamming activities by increasing transmitter power, mounting antennas in trees, adding extra frequencies, and spreading leaflets instructing listeners on how to construct their own directional loop antennas, which enabled people to hear the stations through Nazi jamming. Such aerials were nicknamed the “moffenzeef” (kraut sieve). …

From hand-me-down audio components, he built an impressive jamming station. Radio Vrije Keijser [Radio Free Emperor] had recently installed a 60-watt, crystal-based transmitter in the Grote Keijser squat fortress on the Keizersgracht, with its heavily barricaded doors and a roof covered in barbed wire to prevent helicopter invasions, earning it the nickname the “medieval fortress.” The squat received so much local support that the city “lost interest” in evicting squatters – until 30 April 1980, that is.

Vrije Keijser, along with Death FM and Radio 101 Damnations, were part of the illegal, autonomous stations scene: no masters, no sponsors, no donors, no censorship, no regulations, no members, no stars, no money. The programming was diverse and spotty: anti-monarchist radio cabaret, post-disco war songs, local merchants pitching alternative paraphernalia and organic farming, interviews with engagé artists, ridiculousness, anti-nuclear journalism, how to squat, learn plumbing, live reports from protests, unsigned bands, street poetry, with show names like Burgerwaanzin [Citizen Lunacy], Dissidenta Fashionista, Lysdexia Dicso, ******, Ça Sufi, Dr. Doo Wop, Sartre’s Gonads, and Polyphake Plapperlapapp.

In the days before the Coronation they tested the signal, with squatters riding trams to the edge of town with transistor radios; there they discovered the signal extending far beyond their imaginations into the surrounding countryside – a potential reach of one million listeners.

On that fateful day in April, the day of the Coronation of Queen Beatrix in De Nieuwe Kerk, Kees [14!], arrived early. He immediately took control, hunching over his mixing board to immediately begin guiding demonstrators carrying transistor radios to help them dodge police barricades and the Mobiele Eenheid [ME, riot police], marching with their ‘GEEN WONING! GEEN KRONING!’ [no housing, no crowning] banners from Jonas Daniël Meyerplein to Dam Square, where the protests were to take place.

The Demonstrators weren’t just your typical-black-boot-motorcycle-jacket-opening-beer-bottle-with-teeth-slam-dancing-punk-gore-mohawk-nose-ring crowd; there were also people in fast food aprons, nurses, Rietveld students, bus drivers in uniform, unionized Hoogovens foundry workers, performance artists, technology professors, perfume counter gals wearing lots of powder, pilots, plumbers, the homeless …

At intervals he’d broadcast a confounding mix of noise and audio provocations to keep the police off-balance – mad laughter, teasing songs, novelty records, odd reel-to-reel recordings of Russian insane asylum patients singing Bee Gees songs, Provo sound art, sirens, punk songs, backmasking, explosions, the French taunting scene from Monty Python’s Holy Grail, and the “Wilhelmus” national anthem played backwards by the Willem Breuker Kollektief.

This rendered radio communications between cops in the field and HQ useless, leaving them guessing where and when demonstrators would strike. Officers from the Brigade of Special Security Assignments had been issued carbines and instructed to shoot looters and troublemakers but were totally outmaneuvered as as a result of the radio signals.

For instance, legendary impersonator-radiomaker Bart Schorem [Riffraff], using his best “police radio voice,” managed to divert an entire column of the police to a nonexistent squat protest in the Vondelpark and then a cemetery and eventually stranding them somewhere in Amsterdam-West, giving protesters almost free reign on the Dam Square.

Throughout the day, Kees was joined by guests like Martijn Gummibear and Dolly Meana, anti-Coronation organizers, who’d been knocked about by riot cops with rubber truncheons and then released without being charged. They limped in, black and blue, bandages, smiling, celebrating – she carrying a bottle of wine, he singing the Rondos: “I spit on your laws – oppression’s greatest cause / I spit upon your flag – countries’ boring drag / I spit upon religions – turn people into pigeons …”

Kees: “Let us be clear, I was not alone and nobody listens when I say I had lots of help from many, including Tilburg activist Karel Fatterig who erect antenna on Keijser roof. Let us also be clear: we gained the upper hand by using merriment and chaos. We were prepared, no big casualties, very successful fun, antenna perfect height – and our jamming was pretty creative – chaos as business model.” [Except for the small fact that the queen was eventually crowned.] … And so at 16 I learned how one resumé is another person’s spreadsheet is another’s rapsheet. Many unanswered questions remain.



By Bart Plantenga