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Introduction
1987

Pirate TV station Network 21 broadcasts film and video art to the London area

For six months from March 1987, the UK's first pirate television station operated from locations in South London. Network 21's weekly broadcasts, transmitting artists' moving image work alongside fashion and music content, began at midnight. The channel was organised by Bruno De Florence and Thomas Mutke, who were associated with the Fridge nightclub in Brixton. They claimed an audience of around 500,000 viewers.

A news item in Time Out April 1987 described the opening night's viewing: "a short film, devoid of soundtrack, of a youth on a cross spinning suspended in fire, over which was superimposed another youth languishing in an armchair... apparently John Maybury's 'Big Love'. Next follows solarised footage of American banshee Diamanda Galas screaming into a bank of microphones from her extraordinary performance with Test Department at Albany Theatre, followed by a longish collage of the apr├Ęs-punk 'Body Map' fashion show interspersed with snatches of conversation from Andy Czezowski (of the Fridge) and alternative video distributor Claude Bessy". John Chairman, 'TV Pirates Turn On' in Time Out, 9-15 April 1987.

Tom Roberts

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Article on Network 21, Time Out, April 1987

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