— 27th October 2004
Well, you may or may not know that I’ve been in the process of re-applying for my job over the last 4 weeks. I’ll not go into the painful elongated details of the thing sufficed to say I managed to cling onto my job and in the main I’m happy about that fact. I can’t say the company I work for comes out of the the whole thing with flying colours.
Another thing which has happened is that John Peel has died.
I’ve been listening to the radio programmes, and reading the web pages and generally gorging myself on the communal grief for the past day or so and I like many (I think) find myself surprisingly shocked and dismayed that the death of a man, I generally regarded to be entirely peripheral to my life, should have such a profound effect on me.
Firstly he was an incredibly nice person. I wasn’t someone who stayed up late on teenage nights to listen and be enhanced. I must admit to be one of those shallow few who listened once or twice and was put off by the eclecticism, the noise, the weirdness. If anything I feel I was really familiarised with the man through the good fortune of me often standing the kitchen (cooking or washing up) on a Saturday morning while Home Truths was on.
The one thing I always admired more than anything was his ability to talk to someone about the most horrific tragedy, or terrible misfortune in a way which neither patronised them or sunk to the terrible false-tan-Kilroy depths of melodrama and fake sympathy we’re so used from the media in general. That isn’t just down to the fact he was a nice guy, there’s something more to it than that.
The other thing is that regardless of his contribution, (which is not doubt immense and will no doubt me subject to ongoing hyperbole as the years go buy) the one thing you can say about him was his valued the art over comercialism. In a music industry (and a world) which is increasingly obsessed with fame and money at the expense of artistic freedom and progress it is a chilling thought that that one of the reasons Peel is (and will be) so revered is that he truly and sincerely championed excellence in his preferred art form above all else.
Is it really so strange?
Well, yes frankly, it was...