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.