John Peel’s Record Collection

It’s been floating around the blogotwitfaceosphere since Monday, but only really had a look now at the John Peel’s Record Collection site. Love the videos and photos, and small peek into his amazing collection. I hope at some point they allow access to the entire archive as a database, I’m sure some really good uses that could be put to (even if the site just goes and finds tracks off YouTube that would be good).

The downside is obvious – I think fans (well myself, extrapolated ;-) hoped to be able to look through the whole collection, although obviously lack of funds means that’s quite a big ask (BBC? Hello?). Also the lack of info about sessions and shows – it’s rather incomplete, for that I’d suggest the John Peel Wiki, which also has full shows that were lovingly taped by fans back in the day.

The lack of complete Peel shows reminds me – I wonder if with all the frequency/bandwidth that the BBC et al now has with the switchover, will they start nichecasting – ie. creating small stations about one subject or show, with maybe subscription basis. I think a good one to start with would be John Peel – I could imagine a station made up just of John Peel shows from different eras, I’d subscribe, and I think a lot of people would. Really the future isn’t a few main channels, or making them all 3D/HD, the idea of  a monoculture is dead –  it’s a lot of niche digital subscription channels serving everyone.

Oh and if you’re interested in his record collection and John Peel in general, and his famous ‘star’ system, watch this documentary for his 60th birthday where he explains it:

Steve Albini on John Peel, Sonic Youth and how GQ & Fashion should Fail

Steve Albini, everyone’s favourite ‘don’t give a fuck’ misanthrope this side of Mark E, was interviewed in GQ a few years back. Yes THAT GQ – I missed it then but a link to a quote is doing the rounds again and I tracked down the interview. It’s funny, and right on the money and is talking about the same themes as I was in the Radio Musicola podcast. For instance he talks about John Peel:

“For example, when John Peel died, that closed a pretty important chapter of radio in England. The BBC is a miracle, but John Peel was one of the things that kept it human.”

and

“His work ethic was absolutely incredible. He made it a point of pride to listen to every record that anyone sent him. He would listen literally to dozens of records a day. He said something once that I thought was really profound: He said that no one would bother making a record and sending it to him if they thought it was shitty. Obviously, to the people making those records, they are important. If he doesn’t get it as a listener, if he didn’t like it in some way, that’s his fault, not the fault of the people who did something important to them. That’s a pretty amazing, humble insight for someone like him to have. A lot of radio professionals kind of feel like they know the game, they know what’s good. His way of looking at it was much more selfless: there was this culture of bands creating music and he was getting to audition some of it. Then he could spread it out to the rest of the world if it struck his fancy. Just because he didn’t like something didn’t mean it was bad. He was just deaf to it.”

And I agree, as a grunge fan of his analysis of Chumbawamba and especially Sonic Youth, their ‘it’s OK to sign major’ lead to a lot of heartache and I’ve never rated them as a band…also they gave Peely the runaround after they went major about doing Peel Sessions, which is why I don’t think there are any later ones. He also talks about The End of Radio, which I played in the podcast also, and welcomes the rise of the internet for independent bands. Check it out.

(image by Sarah Masters, link via Eve Massacre)

Nice guys aren’t losers!

Well if you’re Eddy Temple-Morris you are since his band is called the Losers ;-)

His article about the nice guy in the music industry is very revealing. In an industry where bad boy types and beefs create good copy (always thought the love for Oasis after the first LP wasn’t the music but the good pull quotes), and there are a lot of egos you can see where ‘nice’ can be an insult. But it’s a collaborative industry – you can’t get to the top alone and like other industries like the ones I’ve worked in you rely on a lot of other people. Being nasty to them eventually will come back to haunt you, and it’s very true the maxim that you should be nice to people on the way up, because you’ll see them on the way down.

Also I’d counter the ‘Erol/Justice wouldn’t do that’ argument mentioned in the article with ‘well The Beatles, Joe Strummer and John Peel would’ – there’s probably an even bigger list of those who do stop and sign autographs, who do care as much as time allows – and who are much bigger than the moody bad boy types. Paying attention just for a second means such a lot for the person who wants to interact – reading about the Beatles in Weston Super Mare* today (they stayed in the Royal Pier Hotel which sadly now looks like this) and those girls who met them 50 years ago still remember exactly what they said and what happened, those few seconds. It might be weird for the person getting the attention (I’ve met fans of the podcast in the past and it freaked me a little, wasn’t used to it) but it is important to be polite and gracious.

EddyTM is indeed a nice guy – he played my mashup on the radio then sent me an email with encouragement which I’ll never forget…like those who were played by John Peel and talked to him those few words when it feels like no-one is listening means a lot. And although I’m nowhere in that league, in the very rare occasions I interact with people that like what I do I remember this, that people expect you to be ignoring or aloof, and to try and be accessible and friendly. We all have good days and bad days, but it’s what I aim for.

As regards supporting the ‘nice guys or girls’ – this is what I do here as well. I can’t tell if everyone I post is nice, but certainly those I do know and are good people who I think deserve much more love – there is a little of the British love of the underdog there too – they get my help and attention here. It’s sad that those who aren’t egotistical wankers don’t tend to push their music as violently that those who are, and that NME et al love a moody unsmiling set of guitar heroes over someone more interesting who doesn’t fit the mould.

I think Eddy is a little harsh on Damon Albarn, I think he too is a nice guy but has struggled with that early on, and was as he’s said recently a bit of an arsehole when he was younger…would be interesting to quote that to him and find his response now?

* First revealed today! says the Mirror. Err, if they’d done the most simplest of Google searches they’d have found the Beatles in Weston fan page that says they were published in 2008.

In her eyes, in her eyes

Really being drawn to a lot of 60′s Nuggets and Psychedelic rock recently (as well as proto-punk) – was checking out the 100 Records That Set Fire To The World (Not – as the The Wire article pointed out – these are their ‘great lost classics’) after frenchbloke linked to a follow-up on Twitter.

Working through the list and it’s surprising what I like – I think I knew of Bob Graettinger’s work with Stan Kenton, I was definitely aware of the myth, but City of Glass/Thermoplyae is an amazingly mad work, a Big Band Jazz Band goes modern classical, atonal, strange. Not a fan of Jazz (a lot of the free/modern jazz in this list can go twiddle elsewhere) but I kind of like this. I think.

Other ones new to me are Son House (well sort of – as an avid radio listener you tend to get the likes of Son House always played on 6Music or Radio 3 etc – Andy Kershaw just wouldn’t leave Son House alone years back, and sure John Peel played him regularly too) and Dr John’s early stuff where he’s not all Dixie Bow-Tie Nawlins tribute act but doing the swampy hoodoo thing, a bit variable in the fashion of overlong Fela Kuti length ‘jams’ but mostly I like.

On the psych tip so far we have Pearls Before Swine (bagpipes? In psych rock? Woah) and the above “The United States of America’ who have just the right level of Radiophonic swoopage and acid-fry lyrics, reminds me of White Noise. Through the Rabbit Hole, indeed.

Currently at 1969…will delve further, it’s like an exploration into musics I rarely listen to.

EDIT: And Phil Ochs…love Rehearsals for Retirement (the song) but this one is too deliciously true not to post – Love Me, I’m A Liberal. Funny but also says in song what I’ve been trying to say to/about Liberals for years…


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