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Perverted by Language: John Peel introduces The Fall… over and over and over and over again
09:49 am


John Peel
The Fall

“Apparently, there are some people out there who don’t love the Fall,” John Peel once said on his BBC Radio One program. “I spurn them with my toe.”

The Fall did 24 live sessions for legendary BBC Radio broadcaster John Peel, more than any other act. The group were his favorite band and he was a tireless champion of Mark E. Smith’s music, although apparently Smith was ambivalent about “Fuckin’ John Peel” in return, opining that he was “the fuckin’ worst, he’s worse than Tony Blackburn [Peel’s fellow BBC Radio 1 DJ] ever was. Bastard.”

Peel didn’t mind and brushed off the insult, noting that Smith was not perhaps “in perfect working order at the moment” (that was an understatement when Peel was still alive, and more true today) and adding that “the band have given me intense pleasure over the years, I still love ‘em madly.”

Here then, is an entire hour of John Peel introducing The Fall…

“The Fall, The Fall, Fall there, Mark E.Smith and The Fall, Fall, The Fall…”

It’s… hypnotic.

Via Holy Moly!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Hear the 1978 sampling record championed by John Peel, Throbbing Gristle and Julian Cope

The second release on the tiny English label Waldo’s Records was a 45 credited to one “Nigel Simpkins.” The three songs on X. ENC. (1978), Simpkins’ only record, organized alien found-sound collages around a single, insistent drum loop. In the single’s fold-out liner notes, beneath numerous shots of the pseudonymous musician with his face obscured, a note from Waldo himself alluded darkly to the mystery man’s recent troubles in the music biz: “Nigel,” whoever he was, was forced to record incognito “to avoid 3 years of lawyer trouble he’d just left behind him, after leaving his previous band.”

Waldo was goofing. As it turned out, the man behind the shades was Martin “Cally” Callomon, a member of The Bears (see Waldo’s first release) and the Tea Set (see Waldo’s third release), who would soon manage the mighty Julian Cope and, later, the estate of Nick Drake. Cope remembers the impact of the Nigel Simpkins 45 in his second memoir, Repossessed:

[...] Cally Callomon had a punk pedigree, an experimental pedigree, a Krautrock pedigree, the lot. He knew his music because he had lived it. For fuck’s sake—this man was Nigel Simpkins.

Nigel Simpkins had released the first ever sampling record in 1978, to tremendous applause from the underground scene. ‘Time’s Encounter’ [the A-side of X. ENC.] had taken a drum demonstration record and added snippets of every hip record in the world to its Krautrock stew. Neu! Can, Stockhausen, SAHB, Amon Duul 2, Meryl Fankauser [sic], Dr. Z, Soeur Sourire, Metal Urbain, Doctors of Madness, Runaways, Residents, George Harrison’s Wonderwall Music, Pierre Henry, Charles Ives, Dashiell Hedayat’s Obsolete, Hymie Kangaroo Downstein’s classic Australian glam album Forgotten Starboy, it was all on that record, even Godley & Cream’s [sic] Consequences and the T. Dream freakout from Sci-Finance, where Lulu finds the guy’s head on the hot beach. The sleeve featured “Nigel” as a guy with Madcap Laughs-period Syd Barrett hair, wearing seven pairs of shades at the same time—it was an image that Robyn Hitchcock would copy a year or so later.

‘Time’s Encounter’ had sold truckloads and never been off the John Peel show, though Cally treated it as an inspired joke at best. What? Throbbing Gristle had cited it as one of the most forward-looking 45s of its time and everybody had run to cop some of its trip. Planks all, said Cally.

Admittedly, even after narrowing Cope’s list of sources down to those that actually existed, I can’t identify note one when I listen to X. ENC. However, I don’t listen to this 36-year-old disc to hear familiar samples—I listen to it because it resembles a crude field recording from a society that does not yet exist, and so sounds more futuristic to my ears than any EDM.

X. ENC. side A: “Times Encounter”

X. ENC. side B: “Scattered Strategies” and “Oblique References”

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Anarchy in the UK (for real): British establishment’s fear of an ACTUAL punk rock revolution, 1977
07:25 am


John Peel
Pete Shelley

To get an idea of how seriously certain sections of the British Establishment feared the threat of Punk Rock, take a look at this incredible piece of archival televison from 1977. It’s an edition of the BBC’s Brass Tacks, a current affairs series in which reporter Brian Trueman (also famed for classic kids’ shows Chorlton and the Wheelies and Danger Mouse) introduced a brief film on Punk, and then hosted a live studio debate between some of the youngsters featured in the piece—along with Buzzcocks’ Pete Shelley and Radio One DJ John Peel—arguing the toss with a selection of town councillors, from London, Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow. These councillors were out to ban Punk from various inner city venues. There was also comment from the press and Pastor John Cooper, who wanted everyone to come to Jesus. Alleluia.

Okay, this all may sound like the comic ingredients to some grand mockumentary, but these fears over the political aspect of Punk Rock and the potential for anarchy in the streets of Britain were all very real at the time. As Brian Trueman says in his introduction:

“Punk Rock is more feared than Russian Communism.”

But why? What the fuck were these people thinking? What were they scared of?

Well, to start with, 1970s Britain was in a mess. It had high unemployment, 3-day working weeks, nationwide power cuts, tax was at astronomic levels, food shortages, and strikes were commonplace, and the Labor government feared a revolution was imminent.

To explain why this all came about, let’s rewind the tape to a mass demonstration at Grosvenor Square, London, March 1968. This was where an anti-Vietnam War rally erupted into a massive pitched battle between protesters and the police. Outside of the American Embassy 200 people were arrested; 86 were injured; 50 were taken to hospital, half of which were police officers. The Labor government of the day, were stunned that a group of protestors could cause such disorder, and near anarchy, that could have led (they believed) to a mini-revolution on the streets of London.

In fear of such anarchy ever happening again, the government decided to take action. At first, ministers considered sending troops out into the streets. But after some reassuring words from Special Branch, Chief Inspector Conrad Hepworth Dixon, they were convinced that the boys in blue could handle any trouble. Dixon was allowed to set up a new police force: the Special Demonstration Squad.

This was no ordinary police operation, the SDS had permission to be literally a law unto itself, where its officers could operate under deep cover, and infiltrate left-wing, fringe organizations and youth groups, with the sole purpose of working as spies and agents provocateurs. Harold Wilson’s government agreed to pay for this operation directly out of Treasury funds.

The SDS carried on its undercover activities against any organizations that they believed threatened Britain’s social order. This include animal rights organizations, unions, and anti-Nazi, and anti-racism groups. They were also allegedly involved in the planting incendiary devices at branches of department store Debenhams in Luton, Harrow and Romford in 1987; and one member was later involved in writing the pamphlet that led to the famous “McLibel” trial of the 1990s.

The workings of the SDS were on a “need to know basis,” and only a handful of police knew exactly what this little club were up to. But their presence fueled genuine fears amongst the British Establishment that there were “Reds under the beds,” and that revolution was a literal stone’s throw away.

This was all going on behind-the-scenes, while out front, muppets like the councillors and journalists lined-up on this program, pushed the hysteria of Punk Rock riots and civil disobedience, that reflected the very genuine fears at the heart of the UK Establishment. (Note London councillor Bernard Brook-Partridge mention of “MI5 blacklists.”)

So, that’s the background to this fascinating archive of the year that politicians (and even the BBC) thought Punk Rock was a torch-bearer for bloody revolution.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The Beginning of Doves: Live Marc Bolan performance from 1967
06:08 pm


Marc Bolan
John Peel
T. Rex

John Peel intros this early on—and I do mean really early on, he’d just left John’s Children—performance by his chum Marc Bolan’s brand new “little group,” Tyrannosaurus Rex.

After a single disastrous gig with a four-piece rock group, Bolan slimmed the act down to just himself and wild-man bongo player Steve Peregrin Took.

The duo are seen here performing in the legendary psychedelic nightclub, Middle Earth in late 1967. Tyrannosaurus Rex were one of the most regular acts to play the club, along with Soft Machine, Tomorrow, The Deviants and the Graham Bond Organization.

The number, “Sarah Crazy Childe,” was a John’s Children b-side written by Marc.

If there’s an earlier clip of Tyrannosaurus Rex, I’ve not seen it.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Sheer Bloody Joy of Supergrass: Live in concert on Spanish TV from 1999

It must have been brilliant to have been in Supergrass. No, not for the teeth ‘n’ smiles of their classic single “Alright”, but rather for the sheer bloody quality of their music between 1993 and 2010, as heard in performance, and over 26 singles and 6 superb studio albums. There was an energy and infectious joy about guitarist and lead singer, Gaz Coombes (who looked like he might be Jack Black’s handsome, younger brother); Mick Quinn, bass and vocals; and Danny Goffey, drums and vocals; and Rob Coombes, keyboards.

Like everyone else, I first heard Supergrass through John Peel, who played their opener “Caught by the Fuzz” with zealous dedication. He went on to list it at number 5 in his Festive Fifty for 1994. The song told the semi-autobiographical tale of Gaz being nicked for possession of marijuana, when he was 15. It happened when he driving home one night, and was pulled over by the police:

“I stuck the hash down my pants,but I had it in a little metal tin. I was standing on the pavement, and the tin just went all the way down my trousers and landed on the pavement with a ting. The copper went, ‘What’s that, son?’”

It was perfectly pitched, capturing teenage angst and its bravado brilliantly, and was “exactly what being a teenager sounds like.”

With a musical introduction like that, I knew Supergrass would never disappoint - and they never did. Well, until they split up, that is. (Though I still await the release of their Krautrock inspired 7th album…)

In 1999, Supergrass played a short gig on Spanish television’s Radio 3, introducing material from their third album, as well as previous hits.

01. “Mary
02. “Pumpin on Your Stereo
03. “Moving
04. “Alright
05. “Late in the Day
06. “Richard III
07. “Caught by the Fuzz

Gaz Coombes has just released his first solo album Here Comes the Bombs, which he describes as “11 little sonic explosions.”


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
John Peel’s Record Collection: Online from tomorrow, May 1st

John Peel’s Record Collection will go online tomorrow, 1st May. The John Peel Center for Creative Arts will start uploading details of the DJ’s famed collection. Each week 100 discs will be made available, covering every genre of music, and unveiling 2,600 albums over the coming 6 months.

Tom Barker, Director of the John Peel Center for Creative Arts explains:

Each of these releases of 100 records will be accompanied by one mini documentary video of a featured artiste for that week. These are pretty special, as the artistes have been chosen by Sheila, John’s wife, and their children - so they are all artistes who meant something to John and his family.

When you come to the website you will see John Peel’s home studio, from which you will be able to access the contents of the record collection as it is added each week, as well as other videos added each week, photos, peel sessions and radio shows. Once in the collection you will be able to move up and down the shelves of the record collection, picking out certain choice records and going through the first 100 as though you were standing in front of the shelves in John’s studio.

You will be able to see the hand-typed cards that John diligently typed for every album in the collection, the record sleeves, as well as listening to tracks via spotify and itunes where available.

And because we know that John meant a great deal to many people, we will be helping you to connect with other music lovers and Peel fans through our John Peel Archive social media accounts. Look out for never-before seen material, like letters to John, being exclusively released via social media. This will also be a great way to stay up to date with new material being released each week - so please do ‘follow’, ‘like’ and say hello - we want to hear from you and your stories of John.

In our heads throughout the planning process, has been making sure that we do John (and his fans) proud and ensure that the legacy of this legendary man lives on.

We hope you like the John Peel Archive - and that John would have done too.

Check the site from tomorrow on to see what goodies will be uploaded.

Updates will be tweeted on the John Peel Archive .

John Peel on Facebook, G Plus and Pinterest

Now here’s a John Peel Day Mix made by ttfb.

01. “Itchy Cut” - Cowcube
02. “New Rose”  - The Damned
03. “The Voice Of John Peel” - Delia Derbyshire
04. “O Superman” - Dan The Drummer
05. “Hard Row” - The Black Keys
06. “Cuntry Music” - Listen With Sarah
07. “Diddy Wah Diddy” - The Magic Band
08. “Shotgun Funeral” - Party Of One
09. “High Resolution” - Dj Rupture
10. “Two Sevens Clash” - Culture
11. “Death Letter” - Son House
12. “The Classical” - Pavement
13. “Groovin’ With Mr Bloe” / “Green Eyed Loco Man” - The Fall
14. “YMCA” - Galactic Symposium
15. “The Light At The End Of The Tunnel (Is The Light Of An Oncoming Train)” - Half Man Half Biscuit
16. “My Radio Sounds Different In The Dark”  - The Would Bes
17. “The Kill” - Napalm Death
18. “Live At Maida Vale” (Excerpt) - Jeff Mills
19. “Abridged Too Far” - People Like Us
20. “Speed” - Pico
21. “Roy Walker” - Belle And Sebastian
22. “Doctor ?” / “Chime” - Orbital
23. “Dr Dre Buys A Pint Of Milk” - Grandmaster Gareth
24. “Tokyo Registration Office” - Hyper Kinako
25. “Dracula Mountain” - Lightning Bolt
26. “The Nation Needs You” - The Cuban Boys
27. “John Peel Is Not Enough” - Clsm

John Peel Day mix by Ttfb on Mixcloud


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
John Peel’s Record Collection to become on-line interactive museum

John Peel’s record collection, described as “one of the most revered record collections in the world”, will soon be made available as part of an interactive online museum, funded by the BBC and the Arts Council. The John Peel Center for Creative Arts and its project partner Eye Film and Television have been granted funding for the project and given exclusive access by the family to Peel’s personal record collection, which includes over 25,000 LPs, 40,000 singles and many thousands of CDs.

Frank Prendergast of Eye Film and Television said in a press release:

“The idea is to digitally recreate John’s home studio and record collection, which users will be able to interact with and contribute to, whilst viewing Peel’s personal notes, archive performances and new filmed interviews with musicians.”

Sheila Ravenscroft, Peel’s wife and Patron of the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts said:

“We’re very happy that we’ve finally found a way to make John’s amazing collection available to his fans, as he would have wanted. This project is only the beginning of something very exciting.”

The project will run from May to October across PCs, smartphones, tablets, internet connected TVs and will also be available as a red button, video on demand service via Freeview HD. Read the full press release here.

While we look forward to hearing Mr Peel’s fine collection of discs, here is a little something he made earlier, Rock Bottom, a short and horrifying music show on the worst records/songs ever performed on Top of the Pops. Made as part of the BBC’s TV Hell night in 1992, this show reveals the horrific truth that these ghastly records (Jimmy Osmond, The Wurzels, Black Lace) represent the public’s taste in popular music more than Peel’s favored Captain Beefeheart, Frank Zappa or even his beloved Undertones ever did. O, the horror, the horror.

Previously on Dangerous Minds

Happy John Peel Day!

Via Louder Than War

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘The Artist Formerly Known As Captain Beefheart’ - the complete documentary

Captain Beefheart t-shirt by Black And White T-shirts

This excellent documentary from 1997, narrated by John Peel and shown as part of a commemorative BBC Peel Night, has been online for a while but finally arrives in one 50 minute long piece thanks to uploader abrahamisagreatman. You may have seen this before, but it’s definitely worth another watch:

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Happy John Peel day!

John Peel died seven years ago today.

As mainstream radio in the UK gets steadily worse, as exposure opportunities for the genuinely interesting and different quickly disappear, and as lowest common denominator fodder like X Factor begins to limit the power of music in the popular imagination, he is missed now more than ever.

In the absence of one unifying national media platform it’s unlikely that we will ever see his like again, though I feel that through his influence, and the proliferation of music websites and blogs, we are all a bit Peelie now. Proof of the man’s legacy is that the anniversary of his passing has become an annual day of celebration, with gigs, radio shows, record fairs and even specific releases happening in his honor, every 25th of October. And this is a good thing, a very good thing.

So in memoriam, here’s a clip from a 2005 BBC program where various artists and radio djs posthumously rifle through his (typically eclectic) record box:

John Peel’s Record Box


After the jump, John Peel’s ‘Sound of the Suburbs’, Jimi Hendrix playing a Radio 1 jingle for Peel’s show in the late 60s, Peel on the assassination of JFK (which he reported on from Dallas for the Liverpool Echo), and an interview where Peel talks about the influence of punk, how its natural home is in the suburbs, and how scenes get co-opted by a jaded music press…

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Will there ever be another John Peel?
10:52 am


Jarvis Cocker
John Peel

The great greatest British disc jockey, John Peel would have been 72-years-old today.

In the years since Peel’s death, there has been no one, absolutely no one, who has stepped into his shoes to do what he could do. You’d think that it would be the case that some new golden-eared music fanatic for a new generation would come along and tell us all what’s good to listen to, but clearly—and sadly—that’s not happened. This is a testament, of course, to just how culturally influential this one man truly was.

In the clip below, Jarvis Cocker tells a charming anecdote of a star-struck youthful meeting with Peel that led to a “Peel Session” for Pulp in 1982.

Via the awesome Sabotage Times

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Rock and roll family trees: NY Punk rock
04:10 pm


John Peel
Peter Frame
New York punk rock

Narrated by the legendary John Peel and based on music writer Peter Frame’s extensive rock and roll family trees, this 1995 documentary features some tasty interviews with members of The NY Dolls, Patti Smith, Blondie, The Ramones, Television, Talking Heads, Richard Hell, Jayne County and more.

If you’re like me, you can’t get enough of that New York punk rock.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Ivor Cutler: Looking for the Truth with a Pin

Ivor Cutler was a poet, humorist, singer/song-writer, and performer, who was, by his own admission, “never knowingly understood.” Born into a Jewish middle-class family, in Glasgow’s south side, Cutler claimed his life was shaped by the birth of younger brother:

“He took my place as the center of the Universe. Without that I would not have been so screwed up as I am and therefore as creative. Without a kid brother I would have been quite dull, I think.”

Being so usurped, the young Cutler attempted to bash his brother’s brains in with a poker. Thankfully, an observant aunt stopped him. As more siblings were born, another brother and two sisters, Cutler’s resentment lessened after he discovered poetry and music. When he was five, he discovered politics after witnessing the bare-foot poverty of his school friends, and aligned himself to the Left thereafter.

After school, he worked at various jobs before he settled as a school teacher, teaching 7-11-year-olds music and poetry. His work with children inspired and reinforced his own unique view of the world:

He recalled how, in an art class, “one boy drew an ass that didn’t have four legs, but 14. I asked him why and he said it looked better that way. I wanted to lift him out of his cage and put my arms around him, but my intellect told me not to, which was lucky, because I probably would have been sent to prison.”

In the 1950s, Cutler started submitting his poetry to magazines and radio, and soon became a favorite on the BBC. His poetry was filled with “childlike wonder of the world”, created through the process of “bypassing the intellect.” He was, by his own account, a “stupid genius,” , as the London Times explained

Such genius derived from his ability to view life from the opposite direction to that taken by society, and his ability to empathise with the implications of that viewpoint, as in his one-sentence poem: “A fly crouching in a sandwich cannot comprehend why it has become more than ordinarily vulnerable.”

Cutler had a cult following of loyal fans, which included John Lennon and Paul McCartney, who cast him in their The Magical Mystery Tour film; DJ John Peel, who devotedly played Cutler’s releases; Morrissey and more recently Alan McGee and Oasis.

Ivor Cutler: Looking for Truth with a Pin was made shortly before Cutler died. The program has contributions from Paul McCartney, Robert Wyatt, Billy Connolly and Alex Kapranos, and is a fitting testament to the great man, who made life so much more fun. More interesting. More mysterious.

Admittedly, he might not be everyones cup of warmth, but as Cutler said himself:

“Those who come to my gigs probably see life as a child would. It’s those who are busy making themselves into grown-ups, avoiding being a child — they’re the ones who don’t enjoy it.”

I hope you enjoy.

More truth from Mr Cutler’s pin, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
John Peel interviews Mick Farren about the underground press

Fantastic! Vintage interview with Dangerous Minds pal Mick Farren (seen here with ex-wife Joy) conducted by John Peel!

Here the legendary Mr. Farren discusses how “the authorities” would pressure printers not to deal with the International Times or the underground press as a means of suppressing it. Towards the end, he sketches out how an underground economy would work. What a thrill to see this. Imagine if rock stars today were this smart!

When Mick gets back to me about this interview (not mentioned in his autobiography Give the Anarchist a Cigarette) I will update this post.

Via Blog to Comm

More Mick Farren on Dangerous Minds

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Chance’: Joy Division’s early version of the classic track ‘Atmosphere’, 1979

This track “Chance” by Joy Division popped up on You Tube today - it’s listed as an “Unofficial Release - from the Piccadilly Radio session 4th June 1979.” “Chance” is an early version of the song that would later become “Atmosphere”.

According to Shadowplay a website dedicated to all of Joy Division’s recordings, the lyrics to “Chance” vary from “Atmosphere”:


Walk in silence
Walk away in silence
See the danger - always danger
Endless talking - life rebuilding
Don’t walk away - face the danger

Walk in silence
Don’t walk away in silence
See the danger - always danger
Rules are broken - false emotions
Don’t walk away

People like you find it easy
Always in tune - walking on air
They’re hunting in packs
By the rivers, through the streets
It may happen soon
Then maybe you’ll care
Walk away
Walk away from danger


Walk in silence
Don’t walk away in silence
See the danger - always danger
Endless talking - life rebuilding
Don’t walk away

Walk in silence
Don’t turn away in silence
Your confusion - my illusion
Worn like a mask of self-hate
Confronts and then dies
[or on the Effenaar live version:
  Corrupts and then dies]
Don’t walk away

People like you find it easy
Naked to see - walking on air
Hunting by the rivers
Through the streets, every corner
Abandoned too soon
Set down with due care
Don’t walk away - in silence
Don’t walk away

The Piccadilly Radio also version has the following additional words:

I’m - I’m just crossing the line - just crossing the line
Trying to get back - right where I was
Back where I was - see me crossing the line
Don’t walk away—

Peter Hook allegedly claimed “Atmosphere” was Joy Division’s best song, not surprising then that it was voted the Greatest Song of the Millennium by listeners to the late and lamented John Peel’s BBC radio show.

Bonus clips of ‘Atmosphere’ and ‘Digital’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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