Friday, October 14, 2005


Now that it's out of the way, I'm probably in the clear to voice my concerns about John Peel Day without raining on anyone's parade.

In the same way that I started hyperventilating when I saw the line-up for the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury this year, I can't help having similar reservations about everything being done in Peel's name. More to the point - I can't help having similar reservations about anything being done in Peel's name.

While "national treasures" Half Man Half Biscuit's gig at Liverpool Carling Academy made a lot of sense in both choice of act and location, the dozens of thrown-together bills full of predominantly pasty, serious, indie, guitar bands full of blokes seemed somewhat at odds with John Peel's famously broad tastes.

That aside, it has been well documented that the ever modest Peel would very probably be horrified at the idea of a day in his honour, as charged with sentimentality and nostalgia as it is.

Inevitably, those that he affected are going to want to preserve their memory of him and there's very little that can be done about that from beyond the grave. The worry is that an annual commemoration that doesn't even begin to get at the essence of what he was about will eventually see the true brilliance of Peel's outlook, impact and influence become all but forgotten.


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