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Dundee Stu

Teenage dreams, so hard to beat

27 October 2004

I don't really suppose that I was any different from hundreds of thousands of teenagers the length and breadth of the country. I'm sure there were countless thousands who used to sit in their bedrooms holding their tape recorder microphone to the radio between 10pm and midnight every weekday (except Friday). It was a ritual for me. I lived on a small island, and it was virtually impossible to get a hold of the music John Peel played - our only record shop was Woolworths, where you were more likely to get handed the keys to a new Ferrari than you ever were of finding any records by Stiff Little Fingers, UK Subs, Teardrop Explodes, Joy Division or Spizz (in any of their manifestations). So, as 'punk teenagers' back in the late-1970s, we lived for the John Peel show on the radio. We suspected that he collaborated in our illegal home taping too because, of all the DJs on the radio, he was the only one who waited a respectable time after the song had finished before speaking, and never spoke once the music had started - even when he played the wrong song (as he quite often did). John Peel was more than just a DJ: it was he, through his Radio 1 show, who introduced me to the music that has had a profound affect on my life, then and now. While other DJs were playing disco and glam, Peelie was bringing us New York punk and hip-hop; he championed exciting new British bands, from the punk-pop Undertones to the sub-Goth Cure and Joy Division, and even the anarcho-punk Crass. It is said that his favourite song was The Undertones' "Teenage Kicks" - a song that, for me, holds so many memories of pubescent fumblings in the shelters of Rothesay. Teenage Kicks is also one of my favourites, and was the song playing on the tape we made for the delivery room when Liam entered this world. Recently marginalised by the BBC, Peelie nevertheless continued to champion new music to the end, and died of a heart attack on a working holiday in Peru at the age of 65. So long, Uncle John, and thank you for the music.

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Dan Chusid28-Oct-2005 04:52
Though I grew up in the shadow of NYC, Peel had an effect
on what I listened to as well. I sought out copies of New Musical
Express and Melody Maker (weeks old by the time they arrived)
and caught up on the latest sounds via NY radio and Scott Muni's
show "Things From England", which no doubt picked up on Peel's
I'm sure I've got that Undertones single somewhere 'round here
and memories of seeing them live in the city still echo through
the cobwebs of my brain.
- DC
Rene Hales27-Oct-2005 21:59
I agree! A fantastic tribute. It is so interesting how our lives are intertwined with our music and memories--even songs my grandmother sang when I was a kid and she was cutting up with us. I found myself dancing around the kitchen the other day, singing and thinking of her and her cut-up ways.--Rene
Cheryl Hawkins29-Oct-2004 21:41
This is a wonderful tribute.
wpmadden29-Oct-2004 06:04
great tribute to a great DJ, he will be missed
very nice sentiment indeed, thank you
I volunteer DJ once a week, and I found as many track from
Peel Sessions as I could fit
Karen Leaf29-Oct-2004 02:44
So very touching Stewart. Thanks for sharing.
Dominic Kite28-Oct-2004 12:32
Nicely done Stu, as the Fall said "What an impossibly sad day."
Wenche Aune28-Oct-2004 08:13
Great tribute
Jude Marion28-Oct-2004 04:35
Very nice tribute!
Guest 28-Oct-2004 03:04
Nice, appropriate image and tribute! Well done...
Elaine (etfitz)27-Oct-2004 23:21
Wonderful image and nice tribute!
Gavin27-Oct-2004 22:44
He will be missed :( Nice shot btw.
Pedro Libório27-Oct-2004 20:04
quite great colors and mood here Stewart!!!
Well when you arrive we will arrange something !!!
northstar3727-Oct-2004 18:58
I wasn't that keen on the stuff he played, really. But I liked him and his quirky, un-pretentious ways.
Leo Charette27-Oct-2004 17:28
Another well crafted word, and a very nice tribune. Well done.
Argishti Khachik27-Oct-2004 17:09
Very well done Stu.!
Robin Reid27-Oct-2004 13:32
Well done!
Ray :)27-Oct-2004 13:32
Good words there, Stu. As for the song, I find it very graphic and I visualise a number of monochrome images in my head to illustrate its feel.
Gary Blanchette27-Oct-2004 12:54
Great Tribute!
laine8227-Oct-2004 10:00
Hard to part with people of our youth.
Larry Ahern27-Oct-2004 09:51
Well done.
Guest 27-Oct-2004 09:30
Nice one Stewart, certainly a loss.
Linda Alstead27-Oct-2004 09:13
Everything you say I relate to - I was lucky growing up in West London where you can get EVERYTHING but still Peelie's show was a must. I'm gutted at the news.
Zak27-Oct-2004 09:12
nice tribute!