Suppose it's about time that I added something new here. The time is almost upon us to pay tribute to that founding father of many NOOLers record collections, Mr John Robert Parker Ravenscroft, sadly no longer with us but never far from our thoughts.
Much was said in the media about the impact that John Peel had on popular (and unpopular!) music, and how his 4 helpings of the unpredictable each week shaped so many lives over such a long period of time. I was one such Peel devotee, often listening in with transistor under pillow in the mid-late 70s when I was a young lad. Despite having listened intently to Peel for a couple of years, nothing had really grabbed me as being essential listening though until Valentine's night 1979. Maybe I was bemoaning my non-carded fate that night, but the yearning voice uttering "guess these dreams always end....." had an instant effect. I taped the repeat broadcast, and from then on kept an ear and eye out for anything about this Joy Division band in the press and on the radio. I couldn't understand why Transmission wasn't a massive commercial success, believing for a while that Ian's dance in the Something Else BBC performance had put people off buying the record. "He must be on drugs", said my mother. Little did we know.
Over the years, I taped the Festive Fifty and made it a personal mission to buy as many records by the bands who fascinated me as possible. It wasn't just Joy Division and New Order that John Peel brought to my ears, but The Smiths, The Fall, Husker Du, The Wedding Present, Cocteau Twins and even The Strokes first came to my attention thanks to Peelie. That's a hell of a lot of records and hours spent listening to the radio over the years, and it is amazing to think how much influence one man was able to have on my life. Besides my family, I would wager that John Peel contributed more to the way my life has unfolded than any other individual, without even realising that.
Of course I'm not alone, hundreds here on NOOL and hundreds of thousands of fellow travellers across the world have all had their lives enriched by the soothing tones of John Peel, and together we remember Peelie on October 13th.
Across the UK (and I daresay the world), a series of events will be taking place to celebrate the life and work of John Peel. New Order of course kick it off the night before with an intimate show at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. My band Digital will be doing their bit for the celebrations on Thursday 13th, with a special gig at London's newest indie venue, The Good Ship at Kilburn. We'll be doing two sets of songs, one consisting purely of early Joy Division material, and one set of greatest hits. Inbetween these two performances there will be a set by an up-and-coming band from Reading called Hedorah, who are beginning to create a good impression with their blend of light and dark.
We'd love to see you there, we'll be handing out flyers before the New Order gig.