Saturday, 29 November 2008


Its not an anniversary, I guess if anything the Festive 50 approaches and it gets you thinking, but for me it was the mention of Culture in the top 5 that got me thinking.

I think since Peels death its become even more apparent of just how valuable he was and how much his contribution is missed. No one has feasibly taken his place as he couldn’t be replaced, DJ’s of a similar ilk are just faceless facsimiles and have not got a clue what eclectic means.

I first listened to Peel as a pimply faced youth in the throws of a Frankie Goes To Hollywood fixation who was devoted to Smash Hits. Invariably I used to go to bed listening to a cassette but once I decided to listen to the radio, late night radio was a bit of a netherworld I had no inclination to jump into, but jump I did and in one evening I heard The Ramones and John Peel and a short lived platonic love affair started with one and an affair lasting decades started with the other.

My favourite peel moment that I would love to track down and listen to again is from around 89, the festive 50 is due on and he is playing records and he reads out a note that he has received from a young girl, for the sake of this story and as my memory isn’t so good, lets call her Sally, and the note goes on to say she is 13 or 14 and no one she knows of listens to Peel, no one she knows of likes the music she likes, she is not even supposed to listen to Peel as her step dad will tell her off, at the end of the note, Peels says Sally, it’s tough being 13, this ones for you, and he plays Teenage Kicks. A real marvellous moment.

I listened to the Festive 50 religiously during the late 80’s and 90’s usually ended up recording it as I had missed so many of the songs that made up the 50, and in the days when he played the best sessions of the year during the same show also introduced me to a lot of wonderful music, from the sessions The Siddeleys and The Passmore Sisters, from the festive 50, Bill is Dead by The Fall and On Tape by The Pooh Sticks, to name one or two.

Soon the Christmas Radio Times will be out and that always meant flicking towards the back to find out when the festive 50 was on, its rather sad that we don’t have that any more, John not able to gauge what records had touched his listeners hearts for that year, what the pig had voted for, how high my favourite bands had got, all of that no more.

So this year I will think of my favourites of the year, it won’t be sent anywhere, just here.

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