It seems pretty amazing, but today is the first anniversary of John Peel's death. Much has been said in the press in the last year about how much influence this man had in the music business. Any fan of 'left field' music owes him a huge debt of gratitude. He was one of the first to play punk on the radio and he championed so many bands it's hard to know where to start. I do know this, he had a huge part to play in my musical education.
A few weeks after his death I went to a couple of gigs. I saw Low at the Scala in London and Teenage Fanclub up in Cambridge. Both bands dedicated their sets to John. Two bands, two completely different types of music. The support band at the Low gig, Ella Guru also dedicated their set to John. He had just started to listening to them and was playing theire excellent first album on his show.
I was priviliged enough to attend John's funeral. I never met him but I was off work on the day and Bury St Edmunds, where the funeral was held, was only a couple of hours drive away so I drove up there. As you can imagine there was a massive crowd outside waiting patiently to get into the cathedral for the service. I never imagined I'd get in as there were so many people there but I did. It was a very moving service and one that celebrated John's life. As the coffin moved off to be interned The Undertones' Teenage Kicks was played (which John always said was his favourite record) and as the coffin left the cathedral the crowd outside broke into applause which spread into the cathedral itself. It might not seem to be particularly appropriate to applaud at a funeral but in this case it just seemed so right. I'm sure John would have approved. It was a day I won't ever forget.
I'm now 40 and i'm still going to gigs and still looking forward to see what the next new band sound like. It's something that John installed in me (maybe it was already there and he just kick started it). I aim to keep doing that for as long as I have a breath in my body. If I can be looking forward to seeing a bunch of youngsters in a new band at 65 I'll be happy.