Silence The Pianos And With Muffled Drum

John Peel has died suddenly of a massive heart attack. I didn’t listen to him as regularly as I did the Breezeblock, which I am now profoundly regretting. I wasn’t expecting him to die at 65. I was expecting him to be showcasing the latest developments in chainsaw folk techno well into his 90s.

The thing is, I don’t have to have listened to him 3 times a week to feel as if I’ve lost a hero. Perhaps I’m just generally in an overemotional frame of mind (see previous post), but for the first time in my life I’m listening to Teenage Kicks with tears in my eyes.


  1. Like you, I don’t feel I really listened enough, I’m certainly not a devotee.. but I drove out of work feeling shocked and have been tearful at every play of “Teenage Kicks” I’ve heard since.

    It’s a funny thing to say, but for someone I barely listened to, it does feel like a loss.

  2. (Just a couple more thoughts I’m jotting down here after my initial shock last night.)

    It’s the loss of his spirit I feel most. I couldn’t always share his taste in music – who could? Next to him I’m a Jessica Simpson fan.

    But the spirit that you never stop exploring, never stagnate in your musical genre comfort zones, never decide that “there’s been no good music since the ____s” and give up looking for new sounds…John Peel epitomised the kind of music fan I have always wanted to be.

    Ask the average music listener to name a superstar DJ and they’ll probably say Sasha or something. But in the entire landscape of popular music, Sasha is a blade of grass and John Peel was, I don’t know, a continent. The world has just lost its superstar DJ in John Peel and I don’t know who can ever replace him.

  3. I heard about this after a seminar yesterday. Its kind of resulted in the sort of “shit . . . impotence” feeling that I had when I heard that Douglas Adams had died.

  4. Yup. Local act, but not sure if it was the Pagans, Padres or Oddfellows. Quite some time ago as well.

  5. Oddfellows, I think.

    michelle – continuing the sentiment, I think it was Franz Ferdinand [but could have been the White Stripes] who referred to him as “the only important DJ in the world”

  6. Today’s papers say it was The Padres and Force Vomit.

    I wish I was in London right now. No one here (that is, no one that I actually interact with in my daily life) has a clue about him.

    I’m rather shocked by just how sad I feel. I don’t think I’ve felt so sad about the death of someone I didn’t know since Mother Teresa. Elliott Smith was a big shock too, yes, but the ramifications of losing John Peel are getting to me more.

  7. i really like the poem you have used for the title of this entry (all though like the pleb that i am i only discovered it through 4 weddings + a funeral)

    i think John Peel would like us all to play the drum loudly in his honour.

  8. Glad you like the title, Brian. It seemed appropriate. And you are right about playing the drum loudly in John Peel’s honour too. Indeed, in my next post I will link to a Knifehandchop Peel Session, which involves very very loud drums.

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