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Date: 14/11/04

A Last Word?

OK, I'll try to make this the last time I go on about John Peel. But the man was a towering presence in the lives of many of us, and it's only now really coming home to me what a huge chasm there is in my cultural life now there will be no more programmes, no more sessions...

...and no more Festive Fifty either, although Peel's own view of that might have been one of relief, so much work did it involve. Oh, Radio One are going to do one anyway, hosted by the unknown club DJ they've got in John's time-slot now, but it won't be - can't ever be - the same.

(Just for the sake of the unknowing: the Festive Fifty was a chart, compiled from the votes of listeners, which listed the favourite fifty tracks of the year, be they album tracks, singles, or pieces from the many Peel Sessions broadcast during the year. So now you know)

I've decided to to a sort of chart of my own, but in it I list fifty tracks which I associate very strongly with John Peel. They are all tracks I heard on his show, and which I would have been highly unlikely to hear anywhere else (with the odd exception).

I've called it the Final Fifty, and you can see it here.

I corresponded with The Man a few times (more frequently in the last three years, after I got on-line), and was always quite moved that a man with so much to do would take the time to reply (something which was S.O.P. with him, judging from the comments I've seen around the place since his passing). The first time was in March 1987, and I've included my letter (in which you can see what a crawl-arsing bastard I was) and his brief, but entertaining, reply. This I'm sure he typed himself (he must have been really hammering the keys, because the other side of the paper is like Braille!).

Click on the image below to see them.

Thumbnail images of correspondence between me and John Peel