He didn't get where he is today by stealing somebody else's catchphrase.


I miss John Peel. I really do.

I miss his love of independent music, his fumbles, his playing of tracks at the wrong speed despite having been a DJ for years. I miss his candour and honesty. But most of all, I miss his Festive Fifty.

For the uninitiated, the Festive Fifty is a listeners radio chart that John Peel used to play around Christmas time. It wasn't based upon record sales, but listeners personal choices on the best indie tracks of the year. For me, it became a formative part of my music education. I would tape it off the radio and still be listening to in in April of the following year. I still have one tape even now.

Nobody has filled in the gap he left. It's a big, big shame. He's probably the only "celebrity" that I truly mourned the passing of.

However, I was pleased to see that Radio One still keep a Festive Fifty Shrine, in honour of Mr P. I was clicking around on the site a few days ago, reliving some nostalgia, which led to me finding a torrent containing old radio recordings. It was something of a surprise to find it, but it appears someone encoded it all from a few ratty C120s. Bless 'em. You may wish to have a look on your favourite torrent site for a compilation.

A brief google will show you that there's actually a lot of encoded John Peel material out there. It's gratifying to see. I doubt the BBC will actually object to these, on the basis that the quality is generally mono and bobbins. It's more nostalgia than a genuine desire to infringe copyright - and I doubt most of these will ever become available for purchase.

For those that would like to hear a few of my favourite selection, click some of the links below - you can hear some better fidelity versions on YouTube. My favourite year was 1990 - those that got into that chart formed a good chunk of the music taste I have today. In meantime, I shall be listening to these over Christmas and reliving a bit of nostalgia. Sometimes it's good to look back.

Sample music clips: One, two, three and four.
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