25 October 2010

Keeping it Peel

So, then — #keepingitpeel. There is little I can add to what others have said today (and, indeed, for the past few decades), so here is a simple "thank you" to John Peel for the music I wouldn't have known if not for him, whether I first heard it on his show or not.

Let us delve awhile into the awesome Peel session archive. The selection process has involved weeks of tense, fraught and sometimes violent debate. Blows were exchanged outside the chamber; the upper house thrice rejected the bill; the lower house tried to pass a law forcing the upper house to accept it; the upper house responded with a resolution addressed to the lower house which included the word "poo"; one member embarked on an epic filibuster, expounding for thirty-three hours on how punk died when the Sex Pistols picked up their instruments. Eventually, I had to personally chair an emergency session which broke up not ten minutes before the publication of this very post, and ensure that a decision was arrived at. The following is the result. The members would like it to be known that they are sorry for all the acts they've left out; it's the fault of the other members.

You will notice with some surprise, perhaps, that there are no songs by either The Fall or Half Man Half Biscuit. This is because it has been decided that the prominence of said bands on this site over the last two-and-a-bit years has been excessive and, frankly, embarrassing. Sorry — or, if this is a happy development for you, you're welcome.

Let's have Peel introduce this thing himself...

Mogwai — 'Hunted by a Freak' — from Government Commissions: BBC Sessions 1996-2003

It was during a live session on either Peel's show or The Evening Session that Mogwai played so loud that the Radio 1 automatic emergency broadcast system was activated. The 'gwai's original home was Chemikal Underground, which was founded and is still run by...

The Delgados — 'Accused of Stealing' — from The Complete BBC Peel Sessions

Or The Mighty Delgados, as they're also known. To me, anyway. The Delgados may have named themselves after a cyclist, but Alun Woodward's sporting affections have their limits. "Football is pish," he claimed in between songs on Live at the Fruitmarket, "all footballers are dicks". Seconds earlier, Emma Pollock had declared her love for Queen's Park, though for all I know, that may be the Glaswegian equivalent of saying you saw the Sex Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade Hall.

Datblygu — 'Gwlad ar Fy Nghefn' ('Land on my back') — from The Peel Sessions 1987-1993

'Gwlad ar Fy Nghefn' is a Welsh "national anthem in reverse", for which I'll have to take Ankst's word until I get my hands on the Wyau/Pyst/Libertino double CD package and check the translations out for myself. The video seems to bear the description out, and I'd wager that the title is one of those bilingual puns David R. Edwards was apparently so fond of: gwlad means land in the nounal sense.

Datblygu sang the original version of...

Super Furry Animals — 'Y Teimlad' (The feeling)

...which Super Furrys performed live on Peel's show in 1998. And here is the original — not a session track, but merely included here for the sake of comparison and awesomeness:

Now, I know what you're thinking: "Oh, Fredo, keep talking dirty about the sleevenotes to a CD reissue from a not-especially-popular Welsh-language band who split up fifteen years ago! Please?!" But onwards we must press...

XTC — 'Radios in Motion'

I include this mainly so I can link to the band's rendition of this song on The Old Grey Whistle Test. Andrei Arshavin is the Russian for Andy Partridge.

Also, does Slavoj Žižek remind anyone else of José Mourinho?

No? Oh, okay.

Blur — 'Country Sad Ballad Man'

In 1997, Peel had the idea of surprising the hell out of his neighbours by inviting Blur to play at his house. Thus was born a plan, and sessions from Peel Acres became a semi-regular feature thereafter. This, incidentally, is the only song from this session not to appear on the Bustin' + Dronin' collection.

*shrugs shoulders*

Damon Albarn pretended to like football for a spell in the '90s, and could often be found at Stamford Bridge, natch.

Elastica — 'Line Up' — from The Radio One Sessions

Ah, Damon and Justine, together again. Dab that tear.

What those who went on about how Elastica ripped off Wire and The Stranglers fail to acknowledge is that they improved on said bands, and managed to do so without going on about Trotsky as if he was good AIDS.

And no, this doesn't sound like 'I Am The Fly'.

Look, it just doesn't, okay?

I Am Kloot — 'Twist' — from BBC Radio 1 John Peel Sessions

Hi to all the Early Doors fans.

The Sultans of Ping FC — 'Give Him a Ball (and a Yard of Grass)'

A tribute to Clough. According to Wikipedia, the reformed Ping have a bass player called Ian Olney. I'm going to rashly leap to the foolish conclusion that it really is the Ian Olney.

This track, along with many other Sultans goodies, can be found at Shimmy Shammy Sultans.

The Slits — 'Difficult Fun' — from The Peel Sessions

Many people have sworn by The Slits' first two Peel sessions, including the man himself. Just don't hate me for thinking that their debut album, Cut, is better. Here's something from the third session instead. Ari Up is another gone too soon; I'm thankful for a world that had room for The Slits. I've posted the 'Typical Girls' video somewhere around her before, and sure why not again?

And that's your lot. Ta-ra.


Why are you looking at me like that?

Wait a second — why are you looking past me like that?

Why are — no! Stop looking at it! Stop looking at that line! Stop looking right now! There's nothing on the other side! There isn't another side! There isn't even a line! I'm telling you — look, here, now, this really isn— I swear, if you so much as think about thinking about whatever it is you're thinking about doing which you can't actually do because there's nothing to do it to anyway, I'm going to—


Oh! My secret shame! My ... not-so-secret secret sh...

Ugh, I can't keep this going. Come in, come in, make yourself at home. Cup of tea? Just mind you don't knock anything over. I learned how to make blinky text especially for this, I'll have you know.

The Fall — All tracks from The Complete Peel Sessions

'New Puritan'



'Athlete Cured'


Peel. The Fall. Etc.

These session tracks are all, I believe, better than their respective LP counterparts (though in the case of 'Winter', it's a close call). Pat Nevin knows.

'Blindness' was the soundtrack to a piece of telly a few years ago that was almost as hilariously incongruous as the fact that Nicklas Bendtner is about to father royalty. It featured Robert Wotsit out of Jimmy Wotsit And The Wotsits on Later... with Jools Holland doing some handclappy thing — while standing on a carpet — followed by an almighty bastard of a bassline, during which an elderly gentleman, whoever he is, proceeded to mess with the band's equipment and burble into the mic in a manner suggesting that drink may have been taken.

Half Man Half Biscuit

'The Best Things In Life'

'Song of Encouragement for the Orme Ascent'

'4AD3DCD / Yipps (My Baby Got The)'

'Twenty-Four Hour Garage People'

'For What Is Chatteris...'


All of these songs are to be found at the excellent hmhb.co.uk. '4AD3DCD / Yipps (My Baby Got The)' isn't a session track, but is taken from the 1998 Meltdown festival, which was curated by Peel. It's included here not least because I wish there really was an album called Julio Sings Your Favourite Ultra Sur Chants. The singular 'Epiphany' is otherwise unreleased, and, along with 'Chatteris', formed part of the band's last Peel session.

And that really is your lot. I'm sure you will join me in thanking Webbie for organising the whole thing. It's been tremendous fun for me, and hopefully it's been tolerable for you. G'night.


Elliott 25/10/10 10:55 PM  

Thanks Webbie! I knew about a few of those bands, but Mr. Peel never made it across the Atlantic. And as for SFA, I think of "something comes from nothing" everytime Mario Balotelli tries to dribble at three defenders and gets dispossessed.

Webbie @ Football and Music 26/10/10 1:45 AM  

Hello this is Webbie's wife here. Webbie can't come to comment right now because he's err... feeling unwell.. (give me that bottle, give it !)

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