“John Peel Was A Hell Of A Man”

26Oct09

Well yesterday was the fifth anniversary of the death of John Peel.

If you’ve visited here before you may have caught my ramble about John in respect of my work with the wonderful Magoo and in particular my efforts to get their second single played on the radio :

“I tried to instigate this radio-play by hand delivering copies all over London town and remarkably bumped into John Peel outside BBC Radio 1, who commended me on my Bill Shankly t –shirt (boy was I trying hard) and promised to listen to the record that very evening – whether he did or not remains unclear however he played the all the tracks from the record over the next few weeks and remained a fan / friend of the band up until his death in 2004 – in fact Magoo were one of the very last bands who recorded a session for him).”

And you may have seen some thoughts I posted in response to reading ‘The Olivetti Chronicles – Three Decades Of Life And Music’ – a collection of John Peel’s various writings :

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 Palaisin 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.”

John Peel was a hell of a man and round our way he’s very very much missed.



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