27.10.04 | John Peel (1939-2004)

Did you ever have a really cool uncle? One of those with the kind of record collections that pissed all over yours from a great height? And yet was totally unpretentious and charming and modest at the same time? One who would always have time for you?

John Peel, the Radio 1 disc-jockey, who has died today, aged 65, was invariably such a man.

Every student here in the U.K., from the 60's to the present day, has at least once been sitting by their radio in the evening, saying "What the fuck?", and "That was brilliant!" Or even pogoed around the room, or perhaps merely let their mouths hang open in gobsmacked amazement at the total diamonds he'd ever-so-dryly introduce to us. THen we might equally cover our ears as he'd play something almost unlistenable by the likes of Extreme Noise Terror (Mercifully short songs, those), but, we'd listen all the harder to those it was challenging to love, because, well, if He saw something good in them, we'd be ashamed and mortified to be missing out on what might be something really cool.

He was probably more than responsible for bringing to the worlds attention, the likes of The Pixies, The Smiths, The Cure, Joy Division, Cocteau Twins, Cranes and My Bloody Valentine. He was a massive champion of The Fall and The Wedding Present. But always the newcomers.

Two things that always stressed him out about being a DJ: One, he was always worried about his responsibility to all the bands that sent him demo-tapes (From around the world. And he listened to every demo he could). And two, he was afraid of missing something fabulous amongst the hundreds of hopeful parcels he received every week. A fanatic. You could tell.

He was responsible for two of my most cherished musical moments ever from a radio.

1. Hearing Birthday by The Sugacubes. A song so beautiful it still brings tears to my eyes. (i know, i know. I'm a big wuss.)
2. Driving back from Blackpool with a bunch of friends at the age of 18 or so, and excitedly telling everyone that the that the next song must be Waiting For Mary by Pere Ubu. And it was! It fucking was!!! My friends couldn't believe it. I don't know how i knew that it was gonna be the next song. But i was absolutely certain. I think it was around then that i noticed all the very strange coincidences that occurred in my life with disturbing frequency...

John Peel. We loved ya much much more than Princess Di, we indie kids.
Rest In Peace, Uncle John.
God bless.

From The Saturnyne.
(With tear-stained face, and aching heart)

Articles and obituaries
From The BBC
From The Guardian
From The NME
BBC Obituary
Guardian Obituary
NME Obituary

Damn! Who're we gonna listen to now?!!?


  10:44 am :. Blogger Astolath hollered thusly:

Amen to that!

The world will be a poorer place without him...

  11:22 am :. Blogger SingleFin hollered thusly:

I've half a mind to destroy my radio. Nothing will ever be half as much worth listening to ever again.

  2:12 pm :. Blogger The Saturnyne hollered thusly:

i know what ya mean. And it really sticks in the throat that we have national days of mourning for parasitical royals, and yet this charming man, doesn't even get a front page mention in The Daily Mirror etc

Mind you, the broadsheets certainly did him justice.

And stll we have the likes of Tony Blackburn and Mike Reid. Makes ya puke. It's an unfair world.

  5:29 pm :. Blogger Cece hollered thusly:

You are such a beautiful person. I love this post. Better than any article out there, I bet.

  8:37 pm :. Blogger Starbuck hollered thusly:

Never has a man who's fluffed so many changes of record made such perfect radio.

The occasions when he put stuff on at the wrong speed, only to keep it that way 'cos it still sounded wicked, were truly priceless.

He will be much missed.

  9:08 pm :. Blogger stella hollered thusly:

awwww...long live the peel sessions

  1:17 am :. Blogger The Saturnyne hollered thusly:

Hey there, Stella. I was just wondering whereabouts i'd put yer webpage in my faves folder. Ye've saved me a whole lot of looking. =]

And Thanks Cece. I don't feel particularly beautiful. But i think we all have a moment of beauty within us somewhere. So i guess i have potential...

(Big grin).

And hey, to the rest o' you fellas. 'tis good to know that my grief is shared somewhat. Never thought i'd weep for a celebrity, until this week. Don't see myself grieving for any others, though... they just don't have that connection. That humility. That honesty.

Ah well, soon be time for putting my grieving away. That last goodbye. Then time to move on.

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