Gathan Beaga

tribute

John Peel is dead. This is sad news.

He and his Radio 1 show were instrumental in the prominence of many of the bands I have come to love over my more than 20 years of personal journeying through sound. I owe some kind of karmic debt for that, I think: without him there’d be little of the music that supported and eased my high school and university years.

World-wide, people would send in scratchy demos in the hope that the great man would pick it up, give it a spin, and decide to broadcast it. Thus his show played the stuff others would not touch, and as a result was by turns compelling; bizarre; exciting and unlistenable. You never knew what he would come up with next. But it was always worth checking it out.

And you’d never believe that here was a man as old as your parents (or older). It’s just that his warmth and good humour, and a genuine affection for the music, gave him a permanently youthful air.

I’ll miss that voice.