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Date: 26/10/04

The End Of All Songs?

OK, let's get this into some sort of perspective. The sky has not fallen, and the sun will probably rise tomorrow.

So why do I feel so devastated at the death of someone I'd never met?

Photo of John Peel

John Peel, probably the greatest DJ in the history of radio, died on Monday night at the age of 65. He suffered a heart attack at the hotel where he was staying in Cuzco, Peru. He leaves his wife, Sheila (who was there with him on an eagerly-anticipated working holiday), sons William and Thomas, daughters Alexandra and Florence, and grandson Archie.

He also leaves behind a gap in the world of radio which none today could possibly fill. In the age of demographics and the fear-laden ethos of "we'll try this for a couple of weeks and, if it doesn't work, we'll pretend we never broadcast it" which has flowed over music radio like the outpourings of a gigantic corporate cess-pit in the past few years, there is simply no room for presenters who put the music first - any kind of music. As such, this is truly the end of an era.

I won't go on - I did that in a piece elsewhere on this site on the occasion of his 65th birthday less than two months ago. Which only makes today's news all the more shocking.

I heard it during the afternoon. When I came home from work, I didn't bother to unpack my shopping or take my coat off. There was only one tribute possible: I went over to the hi-fi and played The Undertones' Teenage Kicks. LOUDLY. I somehow don't think I'm the only one to have done that today.

I find it impossible to compose my thoughts and feelings into any sort of sense (even by the limited usefulness of that word on this site), so I'll say no more, other than:

"A teenage dream's so hard to beat"

And you never really did reach puberty, did you?

Goodnight John.

With love, gratitude and grief.

The Judge