Stowaway Heroes – John Peel

This week’s stowaway hero really is somebody who needs no introduction. John Peel remains a household name, not just in the UK, although people further afield may not quite be sure why he’s so special. A highly influential BBC Radio 1 DJ for five decades, I’ve always thought it was fair to say that he was single-handedly the inspiration for the radio station BBC 6 Music as well.

His blissful semi-professionalism was a wonderful part of his show, as he regularly played records at the wrong speed, and often made them sound much better in the process. It’s tempting to wonder if that might be why he championed the Cuban Boys (see here if you don’t know what I’m talking about).

An early champion of Joy Division, they appeared twice on his show and were played many more times. Here he is with the sad announcement of Ian Curtis‘s death in May 1980:

Pretty much any act worth their salt appeared on his show at some point, and you could pick any of them to showcase just how good the show was. Here’s my choice, The Human League, performing Being Boiled in 1978:

Sadly, Peel left us much too soon, dying in 2004, aged 65 – and while that would have made him nearly 80 at the time of writing, the world was a much richer place with his show in it. We all have different reasons to like Peel, but there’s really no way that he can’t be one of our stowaway heroes.

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Some recommendations (from 2004)

Another post from my personal archives, published on my old website on 24th March 2004. A decade on, I still haven’t seen The Beach, only I no longer have a video player, which is quite a good excuse.

Firstly, films. I’ve been catching up on some of the things I recorded over Christmas, so I can now officially recommend Galaxy Quest, which I’d heard absolutely nothing about before I saw it, but it’s highly enjoyable. Plunkett & Macleane is quite good too, mixing 90s gansta films with the old highwayman legends. And among others, I’ve still got The Beach to watch, which I recorded last summer some time…

I’m currently in the middle of two books: George Orwell‘s The Road to Wigan Pier, which is good and highly recommended, and a book about global warming by someone called Paul Brown (the book’s called Global Warming, rather imaginitively [sic]). How very studious…

Finally, music. The latest Air album, Talkie Walkie is wonderful, and I saw them live in February, where they were very good, even in spite of having to play in Birmingham. Also, I came across a wonderful compilation from last autumn lurking in a bargain bin, called Robopop Vol. 1, which features tracks by White TownKomputer, Client, Vic Twenty and Spray (formerly the Cuban Boys), among many others. Additionally, the last Sparks album Lil’ Beethoven is out again with extra tracks on it, and it’s really rather good.

There’s not been a lot of decent TV recently, except an interesting docu-drama on the Stephen Downing case, from which I learnt that Bakewell is a hotbed of criminal activity, where everyone talks with a Yorkshire accent. Interesting.

Music for the Masses 5 – 15 December 1999

The last show before Christmas 1999 was on Bay Radio on December 15th, and took an entirely non-festive turn. It continued after the New Year, so we’ll pick things up again in a few weeks’ time.

show5a

Tracks played on the fifth show, Wed 15 Dec 1999, from 11am-1pm

Tracks taken from the playlist (Total 12 tracks). A indicates A-list (7 tracks); B indicates B-list (3 tracks) and C indicates C-list (2 tracks). S indicates the Single of the Week. R indicates tracks taken from my own collection (Total 10 tracks). L is dem dere tracks out of the drawer (Total 4 tracks).

  • 1. David Bowie “Thursday’s Child” L
  • 2. Longpigs “The Frank Sonata” A
  • 3. White Town “Your Woman” R
  • 4. New Order “Ruined in a Day” (K-Klass Mix) R
  • 5. Corrs “Radio” A
  • 6. Lighthouse Family “High” L
  • 7. Cuban Boys “Cognoscenti vs. Intelligentsia” A
  • 8. Peach “On My Own” R
  • 9. James “We’re Going To Miss You” S
  • 10. Europe “The Final Countdown 2000” A
  • 11. Erasure “Always” R
  • 12. Bob Marley & Funkstar Deluxe “Rainbow Country” B
  • 13. Beck “Sexxlaws” C
  • 14. Nine Inch Nails “We’re in this Together” B
  • 15. Stereophonics “Local Boy in the Photograph” L
  • 16. Pet Shop Boys “You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk” R
  • 17. Saint Etienne “I Was Born on Christmas Day” R
  • 18. Mr. Hankey “The Christmas Poo” A
  • 19. Human League “Stay With Me Tonight” R
  • 20. Rhinocerose “La Guitaristic House Organisation” B
  • 21. Tom Jones & Cerys “Baby it’s Cold Outside” A
  • 22. Charlatans “My Beautiful Friend” A
  • 23. Kraftwerk “The Model” R
  • 24. O.M.D. “Enola Gay” R
  • 25. William Orbit “Barber’s Adagio for Strings” L
  • 26. Robbie Williams “She’s the One” C
  • 27. Shamen “Ebeneezer Goode” R

Producer: None.

Notes: Not at all bad. Anyway, there’s definitely a conspiracy going on somewhere here, because it would appear that either I do a good show every other week, and alternate, doing a bad one every other other week, or I do my best shows in the face of adversity. Well, at any rate, that was probably my best yet, even though I had to set the studio up myself (which I almost managed too), meaning I didn’t start on time, and also my first link consisted of dead air, since the mic lead wasn’t working. Also, we would appear to have new equipment, just to make my life more complicated… aah well, ne’er mind, eh?

Music for the Masses 4 – 8 December 1999

Some radio shows go better than others, and sometimes the audience is more aware than at other times. According to my commentary below, this was a total disaster, but looking at the tracks played at least, it sounds like a pretty good show. Originally broadcast on Bay Radio.

show4br (2)

Tracks played on the fourth show, Wed 8 Dec 1999, from 11am-1pm

Tracks taken from the playlist (Total 12 tracks). A indicates A-list (8 tracks); B indicates B-list (2 tracks) and C indicates C-list (2 tracks). S indicates the Single of the Week. R indicates tracks taken from my own collection (Total 8 tracks). L indicates tracks I played with the general aim of impressing people (Total 7 tracks).

  • 1. Madonna “Nothing Really Matters” L
  • 2. Deep Forest “Boheme” R
  • 3. Robbie Williams “She’s the One” C
  • 4. Cuban Boys “Cognoscenti vs. Intelligentsia” A
  • 5. Beastie Boys “Alive” A
  • 6. Groove Armada “At the River” R
  • 7. James “We’re Going To Miss You” S
  • 8. Depeche Mode “It’s No Good” R
  • 9. Corrs “Radio” A
  • 10. Everything But the Girl “Hatfield 1980” R
  • 11. Robert Miles “Children” R
  • 12. Sparks “When Do I Get To Sing ‘My Way'” (Sticks & Stones Remix) R
  • 13. Solid Gold Chartbusters “I Wanna 1-2-1 With You” L
  • 14. Longpigs “The Frank Sonata” A
  • 15. Fun Lovin’ Criminals “Couldn’t Get It” B
  • 16. Tin Tin Out feat. Emma Bunton “What I Am” L
  • 17. Heaven 17 “Another Big Idea” R
  • 18. Chicane “Saltwater” (Original Mix) R
  • 19. Tom Jones & Cerys “Baby it’s Cold Outside” A
  • 20. Charlatans “My Beautiful Friend” A
  • 21. Basement Jaxx “Rendez-Vu” R
  • 22. Mr. Hankey “The Christmas Poo” A
  • 23. Europe “The Final Countdown 2000” A
  • 24. Nine Inch Nails “We’re in this Together” B
  • 25. Beck “Sexxlaws”
  • 26. Gene “As Good As It Gets” L
  • 27. William Orbit “Barber’s Adagio for Strings” L
  • 28. Jean Michel Jarre “Oxygène 8” R

Producer: None.

Notes: Eeeh dear, let’s see if we can not repeat that performance for a while, shall we children? Well, my defence is “Ugh, I feel bad ” (which I do), and I’m sticking to it… we had two records playing at once; sticky play button problems again; drying up on air… the list goes on and on…

Music for the Masses 2 – 24 November 1999

My second ever radio show took place fifteen years ago today, on Aberystwyth’s student radio station Bay Radio. It may be a little self-indulgent, but as a celebration, this is roughly what the show looked like.

show2br

Tracks played on the second show, Wed 24 Nov 1999, from 11am-1pm

Tracks taken from the playlist (Total 12 tracks). A indicates A-list (6 tracks); B indicates B-list (3 tracks) and C indicates C-list (2 tracks). S indicates the Single of the Week. R indicates tracks taken from my own collection (Total 10 tracks). L indicates tracks we grabbed at random in the vain hope of impressing people (Total 8 tracks).

  • 1. William Orbit “Barber’s Adagio for Strings” L
  • 2. Underworld “Bruce Lee” B
  • 3. Faithless “Salva Mea” R
  • 4. Cassius “Cassius 1999” L
  • 5. Fun Lovin’ Criminals “Couldn’t Get It” B
  • 6. Gene “Town Called Malice” L
  • 7. Offspring “She’s Got Issues” A
  • 8. Dubstar “Stars” R
  • [Advert Break]
  • 9. Blur “No Distance Left To Run” C
  • 10. David Bowie “Thursday’s Child” L
  • 11. Enigma “Beyond The Invisible” R
  • 12. Travis “Turn” L
  • 13. James “I Know What I’m Here For” (Should have been “We’re Going To Miss You” (A)) L
  • 14. Depeche Mode “Enjoy the Silence” R
  • 15. Murry The Hump “Colouring Book” S
  • 16. Grid “Rollercoaster” R
  • 17. Cuban Boys “Cognoscenti vs. Intelligentsia” A
  • 18. White Town “Wanted” (Vince Clarke Remix 2) R
  • 19. Chicane “Offshore” L
  • 20. Massive Attack & Tracey Thorn “Protection” R
  • 21. Groove Armada “I See You Baby” A
  • 22. Apollo 440 “Heart Go Boom” L
  • [Advert Break]
  • 23. Shamen “Move Any Mountain 96” R
  • 24. Younger Younger 28s “Two Timer” B
  • 25. Rialto “Monday Morning 5:19” L
  • 26. O.D.B. “Got Your Money” A
  • 27. Electronic “Disappointed” R
  • 28. Supergrass “Mary” A
  • 29. Monaco “Sweet Lips” R
  • 30. Muse “Muscle Museum” A

Producer: Karl Homer (I can only presume, unofficially)

Notes: Went very badly on the whole, which is a nuisance. That play button on CD1 is annoying, and it wasn’t just my tools that went wrong – I did too. Still, on the whole a slightly better flow, with a slightly more normal amount of chatter.