Friday, November 24, 2006

Peel Session

The love that people feel for the late John Peel is a strange thing, I think I am a little too young and London to understand the depth of feeling for Peel, however, his huge influence is enough for me to see his impact on the British music world and the numerous musicians and DJ’s who I respect. In a London world of pirate stations playing every type of music you can think of the variety of Peel’s amazingly varied radio shows were less necessary than for those whose only radio experience was the BBC radio network or local radio ("do you remember this one by Leo Sayer?", "Of course I do, you played it 10 minutes ago!"), at the time that my non London friends were getting into music I was listening in equal amounts to John Coltrane, Public Enemy, James Brown and Jimi Hendrix whilst tuning into LWR and Kiss on a crappy, scratchy, tinny radio. My hero DJ's and main musical source of crate digging inspiration was firstly Robbie Vincent and then Gilles Peterson, John Peel was a respected but somehow untapped source, I guess I was receiving his musical wisdom through my ten years older sister.
On Thursday night at No More Grey on Redchurch Street I visited the opening of the Harry Pye curated/arranged/conceived tribute exhibition “For Peel”. A queue outside showed that this was going to be a lively one, one of those events that will stay in my addled memory slightly longer than the usual. The gallery was filled with the sounds of punk, reggae and other Peel influenced musical sounds from the DJ in the corner whilst a heaving room of artists, muso’s and other Peel fans chattered, mused and tried hard not to knock the art on the walls and each other flying in all directions. It was an uplifting sight to see such a large variety of people enjoying the art, a great DJ set and Red Stripe. For some time I have not really experienced such an atmosphere at a PV or opening but the sheer variety of young and old, square and hip, arty and muso, high and low made this a great night to just soak up the atmosphere and the sounds played by the suited up DJ. Despite the huge numbers of people obscuring the art I managed to pick out some great art pieces, Bob & Roberta Smith’s ‘I Believe In The Fall’ and Peter Davies ‘Festive 50’ chart listing caught my eye and Cathy Lomax Courtney Love portrait snuck up on me as it peeked at me from over the DJ’s shoulder.
Even without the sounds it is worth taking a look so head over to Redchurch Street and take a look at this worthy tribute to the great man.

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