21 Oct 2009

"I never give you my pillow
I only send you my invitations
And in the middle of the celebrations
I break down"
John Peel
30 August 1939 - 25 October 2004

Well it's that time of year again where we all remember the late great John Peel and how British broadcasting is all the poorer for this loss. Can it really be five years since the evening I was stopped dead in my tracks on the stairs when I heard the terrible news of his untimely passing coming from my landlord's TV? I recently listened to some old radio shows of his that I still have on my iPod it can often bring a smile to my face when I hear the three occasions where he mentioned me or my friend Raymone from the South of France or Yara from Mexico or with some Peelesque witticism . Quite often back in the days of dial up interweb we'd all be sat there in our respective homes either side of the Atlantic ocean listening to him play fuck knows what. The Atlantic was our reeeeaaallllly big coffee table as we sat there IM-ing each other with what we thought about the tracks the thing is with his playlists was that if you absolutely hated the three minute thirty of some Germans banging metal tubes and/or screaming then just wait because the next one would be better. It was through him that I discovered a lot of bands and rediscovered others. Peel sessions excluded I think it would be impossible to calculate the amount of groups or artists that he'd given me since 1978 when I first discovered that the radio carried on past the time my parents insisted I went to bed and the delight headphones can bring you. The two main artists that I remember most though would have been Madness' Peel session in Aug 1979 I can't remember what it was exactly what caught my ear about it because so much more music has happened to me since. But I suppose it was a bit different from the normal punk and post punk around at the time. It was certainly different enough for me to notice in my formative years. The other was when the late John Walters, John Peel's then producer, came bounding into the studio late for the start of the show explaining the fact that he'd just seen live this wonderful artist called Billy Bragg, whom (if I recall it correctly) he then played. I also remember the Smiths but I think I missed the first session and heard David Kid Jensen play them first one evening as we travelled to get a Chinese meal from the next town over and then caught one of the many times they repeated the session. PJ Harvey is another artist he introduced me to. There have been many more artists that I liked but the ravages of time have taken their toll on my memory and I no longer remember where I heard them first. . But suffice to say that my iPod is a testament to the fact that if John Peel taught me anything it was to listen to diverse music and try to hear new stuff as often as possible and above all share it all.

Speaking of which here's the music. All are Peel related, either groups he championed or introduced live. Obviously I can't upload every group he championed otherwise I'd be writing this for another couple of hours or so at least so make do with what you get here, download them all and play them loud and remember a great DJ.

Billy Bragg - Back to Basics
The Buzzcocks - Spiral Scratch EP
David Bowie - In Concert 1973 John Peel
Half Man Half Biscuit - Peel Session 1999
Humble Pie - BBC Sessions
Various Artists - The Pig's Big '78's
Various Artists - John Peel A Tribute
Joy Division - Peel Sessions 1979
Various Artists - Festive Fifty 1989
Madness - Peel Session 1979
Various Artists - Right Time Wrong Speed
The Wedding Present - Peel Sessions (1992 - 1995)
TheFaces - Live Paris Theatre 1973
The Fall - Grotesque (After Gramme)

That's all for now.

3 Oct 2009

"You know, now we get worried about what we say
We shouldn't be that way
You know, I don't care who comes,
cos as far as I'm concerned,
Its, eggs bacon beans and a fried slice"

You know I'm quite happily minding my own beeswax enjoying the world in colour, when something happens to make you sit up and take notice of the old monochrome world. Yes, it's time for the semi frequent Norfolk bashing again. Well not much of one really (sorry to disappoint) but I'm really getting happy about following Naaaaaaaarch city FC again as this season they seem to have pulled their collective fingers out and manage to cobble a few good results together. Thereby doubling the club record of one win in a row to two a record that going by many many years of following the club will long be held. I was shocked at the fact that Naaaaaarch managed to score 5 goals in one match, I was so shocked at the result on the BBC 1 show late Saturday night I had to have a lie down for eight hours. I have dusted off my old scarves and bobble hat and now proudly tell people I support Naaaaaarch City rather than hang my head in shame, although after the first game where we got royally rogered 6-1 I did have my 'Barnstoneworth!' moment of rage.
However this wasn't what got me interested in North Norfolk (if anything ever did of course) but after wondering why I haven't heard from my lickle sister for several months has she been constantly drunk all this time? I just was bored so I YouTubed the town of North Walsham and got a rather interesting flyover video someone had posted. You see the whole town and in my mind had it been the eighties then I would have quite happily accepted it as the view from a lone Russian bomber paying a visit and dropping a little present on us and I would have been incinerated along with my Madness record collection and ten speed racer. Then I got a video of Christmas time in North Walsham and coudn't get the rendition of 'away in a manger' out of my bloody head until exorcised with a little help from AC/DC.
However this wasn't what got me interested in Norfolk either. What did was the random bolt out of the blue where a beautiful woman I used to love but didn't feel I had what she needed for a good life and so distanced my self from her physically and geographically added me to her Facebook. And some things get better with age she is the living proof. To tell you the truth I was about to delete my facebook account as I got a little bored with it after all I have mastered the FarmVille app with 4 million coins and climbing and I just spend too much time on it as well. I always thought that people were best remembered in memory as what they were. Because I always go back to the Charles Dickens story of the woman he loved but didn't get involved with but many years later when his own marriage had gone awry he found out that she was a widow now and he went to see her. But she was no longer the great beauty that he had remembered fondly but a worn out old woman. I suppose that you could argue that he didn't really love her and that he held on to a forlorn hope of happiness with something that could never be. A theme I am all too familiar with. Still, a man can dream maybe in another life I get to win this time? For a long time I couldn't listen to The Jam's 'A Bitterest Pill' without picturing her, her husband and my forms in the various parts in the video playing in my mind. But anyway it's all water under the bridge and builds character and as I've said before I have the best built character I know I wouldn't mind a little bit of crumbling facade every now and then thank you.

The music is Kraftwerk - Autobahn and a load of Trojan singles from the early period of the label. Enjoy.