What to say if you liked it
An affectionate biography of the great broadcaster.
What to say if you didn’t like it
The fat trimmed clumsily from all the shows John Peel ever appeared in and tossed together with all the care of a food blender.
What was good about it?
• The laconic manner in which Peel transmitted real feeling through the most innocuous of phrases. The best here was dripping with closeted derision: “And then DLT will be along with the Breakfast Show.”
• Professional cockney comic Phill Jupitus revealed he in fact went to boarding school. Perhaps like Peel, he has lost his middle-class accent too.
• The impressive list of contributors, which included Johnny Marr, Nick Cave, Alan Hansen and John Humphrys.
• Peel’s reason for not talking too much (“The more I talk, the less records I can play), which made him a living antidote to the toxic verbosity of his mostly loathsome peers.
• Peel’s self-conscious bopping in a tent at the Glastonbury Festival in 2003, where he glared at a retreating camera from the corner of his eye.
What was bad about it?
• While the tributes were all very nice, we’d seen them two months previously.
• Because Peel was such a well-loved public figure, very few of the tributes told you something new about the late DJ and seemed as uniform and impersonal as flowers laid on a grave.
• Phill Jupitus referring to the awful records that Peel would frequently play (“Three minutes of feedback and a Scottish accent screaming at you.”). We took this as sacrilegious criticism of the Jesus & Mary Chain’s classic Psychocandy album.