I used to run around saying that Brian Eno was my hero, but that was until I tried reading . . . the Vertical Color of Sound, and realized that saying so was unseemly when my intellect was so vastly inferior to Eno's.
Easier, then, I figured, to marvel at the life put together by Peel, who, while sharp enough, was no unassailable genius to us plebes, and became a beacon for the rest of us only through his enthusiasm for, and love of, music.
It's amazing how balkanized music can become, and how freely even the most passionate of music lovers will help the process along. The folkies wouldn't listen to psych, and the hippies wouldn't listen to folk. The punks hated the hippies, too, and would grow into their disdain for heavy metal. These days, music is either "urban" or not, and the twain don't often fuckin' meet.
And we all know that guy who listens *only* to skacore, or to drone metal, or to reggae . . . .
Peel transcended all that bullshit. He was a champion of T Rex, and of Napalm Death, of Roy Harper and of Billy Bragg, of Robert Wyatt and Cat Power and Orbital and New Order and PJ Harvey and UB40 and The Fall, like mixing your peas with your mashed potatoes, Peel didn't mind 'cause it all went to the same place.
Peel loved music the way it should be loved, without prejudice, and though it's a struggle, ever since I became aware of the man, I have endeavored to follow his lead in that regard.
The other, funnier, thing about Peel after the shining example he set is that he was frequently a klutz on air, banging the desk, knocking over the mike, popping the wrong cart in at the wrong time, forgetting the name of that band's album. But it all emanated from his guileless enthusiasm, and was so therefore wonderful . . . and wonderfully hilarious.
Here are a few of my favorite Peel moments caught on air. They serve me well in traffic and at the grocery store, but I do not have an exceptional collection. You could probably spend your life finding more.
John Peel Bangs The Desk.mp3
John Peel Gets To Meet Genesis
John Peel Iced Towels.mp3
John Peel BLUUUARGH.mp3
Various bitrates don't matter for the okenspay ordway I don't think
File under: Spoken Word, Hero Worship