John Peel 75.

30 08 2014

 

 

Everyone has their own reason as to why they do certain things. It can be a song, a book or a person. Going with the latter is sometimes dangerous because it doesn’t always work out. It helps if the person that places some kind of drive inside you is someone you’ve never met, or will (sadly) never meet.

For me, John Peel is the reason as to why I thought I should write about music/weird stuff no one really cares about. All those weekday nights staying up just to hear something weird and wonderful paid off. Why be awake and alert for a Maths lesson knowing Algebra is not as important as hearing an old Peel session by The Fall? Mark E Smith’s wisdom is worth more than knowing how to do long division. John Peel backed the underdog, he played the music that others would pass on- foolishly. He turned my ears onto the likes of Cat Power, someone who’s music has been everything to me when I had nothing.

I’ve said all these things about John Peel many many times before, but as I listen to bands that have come out since his death I can’t help but think he would love them. He would probably love the ethereal feel of Warpaint, he’d swoon over the girl group sound in Dum Dum Girls, he would probably have Crocodiles in for Peel Sessions as many times possible. He’d probably adore the likes of PINS, 2:54, Bo Ningen, Savages, Gäy, Fat White Family. I could list more, but you get my point.

There is nobody like him around, there never will be. The bands he backed lasted, the bands a lot of “DJs” back now have a shelf life of around 4 years, if they are lucky. Music shouldn’t be disposable, but to so many it sadly is.

Make your own scene.

Happy 75th Birthday John xx





JOHN PEEL.

25 10 2013

 

There are some people we can hold accountable for the way we are; for the most part they are usually negative traits. They may not be to you, but others may assume they are. Never listen to what anyone says, because you’ll forget about yourself- and that’s what other people will do. Sometimes there are certain people who just immediately have an influence on you in a way that nothing else ever really has.

I always knew that music was going to be my biggest and most lasting love when I first heard John Peel on the radio. Before I was born he had already introduced many to the likes of The Fall, The Smiths and The Jesus And Mary Chain. I entered the world in 1986; I had already missed out on all that’s good in the world. However, he did introduce me to the likes of The Kills and Cat Power. Both of which have performed memorable sessions for his show. He championed the underdog and showcased what  many probably would not have gone near. He made talking about music seem like the ideal job; I think it probably is. I learnt more from listening to his radio shows than any teacher could ever teach me. One of the best things I’ve ever been given is a copy of the Festive Fifty from 1986. The number one was of course, The Smiths. Thanks mum!

For the past 9 years, 25th October is always met with dread. It just reinforces the fact that he’s no longer here. As I write this, I’m listening to his son (Tom Ravenscroft) on 6Music. I do this every week, and when I listen to him..I’m just glad we still have someone who champions music that most would probably turn their nose up at. He has the same passion as John in his voice when he talks about music.

I used to listen to John Peel when I should have been asleep. Waking up the morning after for school was painful, but worth it because I created my own little piece of heaven when I was listening to him. The duvet over my head and my radio close to my ear. I’d sometimes rest with my head on the radio drifting off into another world imagining what it would be like to have his job. Of course, I’ll never know. John Peel was always someone I wanted to meet; just to thank him for the music. The same goes for Lester Bangs, but he died a few years before I was born. Both are the reason as to why I HAVE to write about music.

I always have his beautiful quote, “I just want to hear something I haven’t heard before” floating around my head. It’s become like some kind of mantra. When I walk into a record shop, I have that thought going round and round; I know I always will.

A life without music would be a life full of misery. For all the weird, wonderful, haunting and loud music I love- it was more than likely down to John Peel’s doing. Sometimes I listen to a band and think, “Imagine if they did a Peel session.” But I suppose, wherever John is..he’s aware of them anyway.





John Peel.

25 10 2012

Time is a bit of an arse, it is also a wonderful thing. Time can make you better and it can heal you. Or it can make you bitter and cold. It can ruin you or it can make you into something positive. Use your time wisely and don’t let time use you. Patience is a wonderful thing, but time and patience are quite different. Everything depends on how you use it; never let it use you.

We all experience moments in our lives that we can remember where we were, who was there, the time and how we found out. It may have happened years and years ago; but the moment is still crystal clear. Sometimes it is a joyful moment but sometimes it is utterly painful to even think about. It happens to us all, and we have choice but to go through it and hope. Hope is all we have I guess. Don’t let anyone crush you and the hope you cling onto. It keeps you warm, maybe safe. It’s yours- keep it.

I remember where I was 8 years ago. I was at work. It was half term, so I was sadly at a place I disliked immensely. I always had the radio on because it got me through. I cannot remember the time, but I remember feeling like someone had told me a family member had died. When they announced that John Peel had died, I felt my heart metaphorically break. This wave of sadness took over and everything seemed like a blur. The man who was responsible for my obsession and passion for music was no longer around. How does that even work? How could it even happen? 8 years have passed, and I still cannot make any sense of it. I don’t think I ever could. I guess it goes beyond being understood by a human. Who knows.

I used to stay up late listening to his show when I was younger. Fall asleep with the duvet over my head cuddling up to the radio with the volume low down so I wouldn’t get told off for being up so late on a school night. Thing is, my mum always knew. She knew that music was (and always will be) my greatest love. Music has always been the thing I go to for everything. I lack courage with mentioning what sometimes bothers me; I’d much rather stick some music on and go for a walk. I like the inner peace I feel when I do this. In time, maybe I’ll change that. I wouldn’t bet on it though. It was because of John Peel I developed a massive love for The White Stripes, The Fall and PJ Harvey. He brought bands like Captain Beefheart and The Jesus And Mary Chain to the airwaves. If it wasn’t for him, would all these bands (and more) have ever been heard? He thrived off bringing us the weird and wonderful. The kind of music that makes your stomach flip and your ears prick up. He went beyond just being a DJ.

I sometimes listen to bands and think, “If John was still alive he’d love them.” Bands such as Warpaint, The xx, Beach House and The Horrors. I cannot help but think he’d love them as much as I do. He truly believed in the power of music; the sheer passion he had is no longer around on certain radio stations and I think the art of radio may have died with him. Maybe hints of music did too. Imagine hearing the likes of Crocodiles, Dum Dum Girls, Zola Jesus and Dirty Beaches all doing a Peel Session. It’d just be bloody incredible.

Music is a safety net, but when the one who gave you the music is no longer around- it is utterly painful, but you carry a part of them and all they gave you inside of you. I probably sound mental writing like this, but there are two people who basically made me realise that I had to write about music in whatever capacity I could. Lester Bangs and John Peel. Lester died before I was born. The love and passion they had for music was enough for me to know that music would become my life. Everything music gives me, well..I can only hope maybe one day I could give that to a person. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. I honestly have no idea.

We all have words to live by. Some are serious, some are a little bit silly. A quote by John Peel is one that is constantly on my mind when I look for new music, “I just want to hear something I haven’t heard before.”

There will never ever be anyone like John Peel. There will always be a massive void but the legacy he left behind is enough to get us through. Playing records at the wrong speed and ranting never sounded so good. He made you feel as if was just talking to you, and you alone. Yet he made you feel part of something.

R.I.P. John. You are forever missed xx





John Peel Creative Arts Centre: We NEED It.

10 05 2012

 

I used to always change my mind about what I wanted to do with my life when I was younger. I’m 25 now, and I sometimes have this internal battle with what I should be doing with my life. All I know is that it MUST involve music. That’s all I have ever known. My love for music hit me at an early age. I was always being sung to or music was played around the house. It became my life from very early on. From Muddy Waters to The Jesus And Mary Chain; it was constantly being played to me. From my mum, my uncle and from one person who really made me aware of what I wanted to do with my life, John Peel.

If it wasn’t for John Peel, I really wouldn’t have such a huge obsession for music. It’d just be another thing I acknowledge I suppose. My memory isn’t exactly my best quality. But I do remember listening to him for the first time. I was very young. I must have been in my first few years of Secondary School. I couldn’t sleep one night, so I hid under the covers and put the radio on. A man was talking, and the way he was talking about the records he was playing really hit me. He was so enthusiastic about it all, in his own way. He didn’t have to yell or use daft words to describe it all. The fact that he was talking to you as if you were sat next to him made you connect with not just the music he was playing, but you also connected with him on a personal level. When you hit your teenage years, you search for something. You’re lost, utterly lost and you need something or someone to show you. I do believe that night I first listened to John Peel made me realise what I wanted to do with my life. I had to be a Music Writer..somehow.

I could honestly talk about how much he meant, and still means to me to anyone who is willing to listen. As most shut me up when an outburst is about to occur, I unleash it all here. So, a rant of sorts may or may not happen. And for that, I do not offer you an apology.

The arts are fundamental to society. We live in a world where being negative and cruel to others is seen as a way to get places in life. I guess that’s why I may not amount to much. I cannot be cruel in order to get what I want. If I want something bad enough, I’ll do the right thing in order to get it. The arts provides a way of helping people- especially the young, find a home. Find something they are good at. A film could inspire someone to be a director. A song could make someone want to be a record producer. Everything has the potential to be an influence. So why oh why would we want to stop this? Why? Maybe it is because within the arts, you may never make a lot of money. Maybe I’m too laid back for my own good- but I’d much rather do something I love than be filthy rich. That’s just me. I’d change my outlook, but I don’t want to. If the passion isn’t there, if you don’t do something with all your heart-do NOT do it. That’s just how I go about my life really.

This is where I need your help. I need YOUR help to make a difference because it is the RIGHT thing to do. As music lover, this is vital.

Bradford is a place that many are willing to launch so many negative slurs and whatnot. The thing is, it has more to offer than you could possibly know. I’m not saying this because half of my family are from Yorkshire..or maybe I am. Biased few aside, this is truly a vital cause and one that has my unconditional support, and attention.

http://www.cityoffilm.co.uk/

The above link will tell you all about how important it is that we SAVE the Bradford Odeon. The cinema is a historical landmark to the city, and what makes it so special is that it was bought with public money. Labelled as the City of Film- how on earth can we let such a building with so many memories be listed as a building to knock down. Knocked down and turned into a glass office and apartment block. Because you know, we need more of them. NO. Just NO. Enough is enough. On the link above, there is a page with information on how to save this landmark.

I’m not writing this because I want to seem like a decent person. Far from it. I’m writing this from the heart because like all involved with saving this building, I see why it MUST be saved. And if by a stroke of luck it does get saved from being demolished, the idea has been brought up to turn it into the John Peel Creative Arts Centre.

http://www.johnpeelnorth.org/

This link gives you EVERYTHING you need to know about the Centre. You can also sign the petition right here : http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/john-peel-north/

The Centre would provide so much. Not just for Bradford, but all of the UK. It’d be a hub of experimental sounds, the chance to listen to Peel’s archive.  The potential of the John Peel Creative Arts Centre is insane. John Peel was well-known as being the guy who would bring you the best in new music, and also give you the best hidden gems from the past. This Centre, if it happens, would carry on his legacy in a way that will continue to influence generations to come to be found- and to find their talent and what they are passionate about.

To turn your back on something like this and to favour a pointless building being built in the place of history, and something that could change so many lives is just wrong, and disgusting.

I seriously cannot express how important this is. Please get involved in any way you can. Do it for John Peel, do it for future generations to come, so they have some hope and the chance to be part of something that can enrich their lives and the community.

Thank you.

x





John Peel.

25 10 2011

Everyone has that one person who makes them realise what they want to do with their life. Everyone has that one person that just instils something in them that no one or nothing else ever can. This doesn’t have to be someoneyou’ve met; it can be anyone. A musician, an author, a superhero(they exist, do not question it). It can be anyone.

Mine is John Peel.

Does anyone remember when Radio 1 used to be good? I do. I remember listening to Steve Lamacq in the evening and getting into Mogwai for the first time. He got me into a lot of bands. But then there was John Peel. The man responsible for my heavy eyes and educated ears. The man responsible for me struggling to get up for school the next day because I hid
under the duvet with my ears pressed against the radio listening to his show. This man got me into so many artists ranging from Captain Beefheart to The Fall to The Jesus And Mary Chain. John Peel made me realise that I had to be a Music Writer. I don’t have the voice or talent for radio, who knows if it lies within Music Journalism but he made me want to go for it.

Two years ago I was lucky enough to meet one of John Peel’s close friends, Andy Kershaw. I was working in HMV at the time and I held up the queue by talking to him for ages. We spoke about John Peel and The Clash. He was just a loving, genuine soul who I wish I could’ve met.

They say music died the day he died. I think I have to agree. Radio has gone downhill since he died. There is a lack of passion and knowledge amongst presenters. They play the same song every half hour and inform you about Lady
Gaga’s favourite biscuit. I don’t care about that. I want to hear music. I want to hear a DJ play it at the wrong speed just like JohnPeel used to do. I want to hear a DJ ramble on about the history of the band before he/she plays it. I don’t want the record to be cut off before the end. Or talked over. The qualities John Peel had were extremely rare-nobody else has possessed them since. I doubt they ever will.

His presence in the music industry was so vital. His charisma was just beautiful. He wasn’t pretentious oik who claimed to know everything about music. He was a just a person who was passionate about music.

He died in 2004, two years before I went to University but he died at the point where one has to decide what they want to do with their life. I was told by various teachers that I couldn’t be a Music Writer as it wasn’t a stable career. Since when has being stable been appealing? I don’t want a job where I am doing the same thing every single day. I don’t want 9-5. I don’t like the idea of that at all. I cannot settle in one place, because I know that there is something bigger and better
out there. Never limit yourself. I worked my arse off to get myself into University. It paid off, well- I don’t have a paid job now but I get to write about Music every day and find new bands to write about. My passion for music all came from John Peel. I will always be forever in debt to him. Of all the people in the world, him and Lester Bangs are the only two I have ever wanted to meet. Imagine sitting down with those two and just talking about music for hours and hours. It’d be inspiring.

I think my most treasured possession is my CD of John Peel’s Festive 50 from the year I was born, it has The Smiths on the cover. It is one of the most important things I own.

Every single time I hear Teenage Kicks I get a bit teary eyed, and I then smile. I cannot listen to it without thinking about John Peel. I hear bands that are around now and wonder if he would enjoy them. I reckon he would’ve loved Warpaint and Zola Jesus.

There is a quote by John Peel that is just so beautiful and so true :

“There’s always the possibility that you’re going to come across a record that transforms your life. And it happens weekly. It’s like a leaf on the stream. There are little currents and eddies and sticks lying in the water that nudge you in a slightly different direction. And then you break loose and carry on down the current. There’s nothing that actually stops you and lifts you out of the water and puts you on the bank but there are diversions and distractions and alarums and excursions which is what makes life interesting really. It’s fantastic.”

That quote just sums up exactly how I feel about music.

I could write thousands and thousands of words as to why I love him and always will- but his passion for music was the main reason. He knew so much, and because he knew so much- I wanted to know everything I possibly could about music. Personally, I can safely say that John Peel was the greatest teacher I ever had.

John was buried on my birthday, and every year since I shut off the world and play Teenage Kicks in honour of him. This year will be no different.

So thank you Mr. Peel. Thank you for giving me purpose, ambition and heart. John, this is for you:

“I just want to hear something I haven’t heard before.”





John Peel.

25 10 2009

It’s been 5 years to the day since John Peel died. Without him, a lot of great bands would never have come to our attention. I remember staying up late listening to him whilst in secondary school and waking up at 7am the next morning being totally shattered yet it was worth it. Always worth it. That’s the one thing that stands out for me. Without him, radio has become dull and boring. The presenters seem to be self abosrbed and talk about meaningless crap. John played the records. He didn’t talk over them, but when he did talk..it felt like he was speaking to ou and just ou. Yet you knew millions of people were feeling the same way as you whilst listening to him.

I remember being at work hearing he had died. It was like a punch to the gut.

So, for John Peel…play this and play it LOUD!

The Undertones- Teenage Kicks.

R.I.P John, you are missed and loved dearly.

x





John Peel.

25 10 2008

It’s 4 years since, in my eyes (and ears), that the most important and influential person in music/radio/journalism died.

Radio is bollocks right now and the same can be said for most of the music out there. With a select few of new bands, I sometimes listen to them and think “John Peel would play these guys.” His book The Olivetti Chronicles came out on Monday, I’m already halfway through. It is an essential book regardless if you love music or not. It’s not just about music, it’s about life too.

I could write how wonderful he was and how missed he is, but everyone knows that. So all that’s left really is to play his favourite song as loud as you want, and embrace the greatness of the song that is, Teenage Kicks by The Undertones.

The Undertones-Teenage Kicks.

“I just want to hear something I haven’t heard before.”~ John Peel.