Wednesday, January 12, 2005

thinking about John
Photo of John Peel

Last October, when John Peel passed away suddenly, I didn't write about it. I couldn't really. I was speechless and shocked. Even now, just typing that, my eyes are burning with tears and my throat is tight. Yesterday, while at work, I finally listened to the BBC radio documentary, "Teenage Dreams So Hard To Beat." Listening to many of my favourite musicians talk about him reminded me of how much of an influence he was on my life. Someone said, in the documentary, that he had more of an influence on them than their own parents. I can certainly agree with that on a musical level anyway.

His name was legendary when I was younger. In high school, I'd pick up his "Peel Session" EP's and finally hear bands I'd only ever read about (living in the middle or no where like I did): The Fall, The Wedding Present, The Damned, Joy Division, The Undertones...the list goes on. So did I. I'd seek out bands that I'd heard he was playing, because I figured, if John Peel liked them, I'd like them too. It was a good hunch to follow. I don't ever remember him steering me wrong.

Years later, when I was working in community radio, we were sent a series of shows to broadcast called "Peel out in the States." I actually had John Peel, on CD in my office. Introducing me, all over again, to stuff that we weren't getting at our station. Also, we got to hear new or different songs by bands we already were into. Fast forward a couple of years and I was a happy girl. I finally owned a fast enough computer, with a high speed internet connection to stream his shows. I got onto the peel-list for fans and finally could keep up with my favourite DJ.

Personally, I think that he was the greatest DJ to ever walk the planet. I know that I'm not alone in that opinion. I can't imagine that anyone reading this wouldn't know who he was. Even if you have never heard his show, I would strongly urge you to take an hour and go listen to, at the very least, the documentary portion of tribute to John Peel. If you're a fan, you'll really enjoy hearing the stories about him and if you're not, you'll get a good appreciation for how far-reaching his influence was.

One thing that made me smile today: The freezing rain didn't start until after I got to work. Fortunately, it should be done and melted by the time I leave work tonight too. Hey, in the middle of the working week, you take what you get.

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