I Wish I Was A Fighting Man


Currently, amongst other things, I’m reading ‘The Olivetti Chronicles – Three Decades Of Life And Music’ – it’s a collection of John Peel’s various writings and it’s great. It’s easy to forget that as well as a broadcaster virtually without peers he was a writer of talent too – particularly when writing about music.

In one piece for the Observer from 1986 entitled ‘Aural Vandalism’ he writes about attending a Sonic Youth / The Jesus and Mary Chain gig at the Hammersmith Palais in London (I know it will make me sound like the old man I’m rapidly becoming but hey they don’t make gigs like that anymore do they ?). He talks of the Sonic Youth’s obvious desire to disturb and confront and of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s chaotic and often short lived live outings – “If twenty minutes is the time it takes The Jesus and Mary Chain to achieve whatever effect it is they wish, it would be fatuous to play longer.”

However (and admittedly I might be on my own here) it’s the pay-off lines that really makes you fall back in love with him.

“As I left the Palais I overheard one twerp braying to his companions. ‘What a waste of money,’ he cried, and for moment I wished I were a fighting man.”

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