Another year, another year without John Peel on the radio. Those flat Scouse tones enunciating huge enthusiasm for the widest range of music you could imagine. No snobbery, just pure interest in what's out there. Between Peel, the Evening Session and Mark and Lard's evening show, my musical tastes went from nothing to almost everything in a year or two. Shame that Radio 1 is now a bilge pipe for the worst manufactured junk: it's just an extension of major label PR departments rather than a critical and informed outlet.
John Peel's Festive 50 lists of his and his listeners' favourite tracks look - with the exception of the nosebleed techno he came to love - like my shelves of records. I even got a request played on his show once (a Gorky's Zygotic Mynci song), and he took the time to note that I shared a surname with his producer, leading to a little gentle banter. Happy Days…
If you want to celebrate John Peel's influence, you could do worse than go to a Nightingales gig (on tour now, at the 100 Club in London tonight): my friends were Peel's favourite band, alongside The Fall and The Wedding Present. The difference is that The Fall are an angry parody of a band and the Weddoes are now a sad cabaret act, whereas the Gales are writing some of their best ever music.
Here are some of the tracks from the 2004 Festive 50 list, the year he died.
Sluts of Trust: 'Leave You Wanting More'. Stroppy, shout, angular: everything he loved (and wasn't).
Ballboy and Laura: 'I Lost You But I Found Country Music' (wryness from the band which also sang 'All The Records On The Radio Are Shite'):
For his electronic side, XBooty's remix of Laurie Anderson's 'O Superman':
And from the comedy section, Allo Darlin's 'Henry Rollins Don't Dance': Peel died before this came out, but he'd have liked it.