Monday, 25 October 2010

VI (Or, Right Place, Right Time, Wrong Speed)

Six years ago, John Robert Parker Ravenscroft passed away whilst on holiday in Peru, shortly after an expidition to Machu Piccu.
It's hard to measure the impact of the former radio presenter without making it a personal story; for me, Peel was the elder brother or cool uncle I never had, listening to his show was like hanging out with said imaginary sibling and having the run of his record collection.
I used to sit next to the radio with a pen and pad, writing down bands and comitting them to memory in the pre internet days when finding new music meant dedication.
Aside to my personal story, Peel's impact on underground metal in the UK can never be underestimated.
Stories abound of the Peel family turning up en masse for gigs at The Mermaid in Birmingham to watch proto grind gigs from ENT and Napalm Death, without Peel's support, Scum would have probably never been released.
Intrigued by the nascent Grind/Death scene, over a twelve month period in 87/88 Peel invited the great and the good from the UK to record sessions for BBC Radio and he broadcast them on his show.
Later released on Strange Fruit as "Hardcore Holocaust", check out this track list:
Stupids - Heard It All Before
Stupids - Dog Log
Electro Hippies - Sheep
Electro Hippies - Chickens
Electro Hippies - Mother
Extreme Noise Terror - False Profit
Extreme Noise Terror - Another Nail In The Coffin
Extreme Noise Terror - Carry On Screaming
Extreme Noise Terror - Conned Through Life
Bolt Thrower - Attack In The Aftermath
Bolt Thrower - Psychological Warfare
Intense Degree - Skate Bored
Intense Degree - Intense Degree
Intense Degree - Day Dreams
Intense Degree - Bursting
Unseen Terror - Voice Your Opinion
Napalm Death - Moral Crusade
Napalm Death - M.A.D.
Napalm Death - Divine Death
Napalm Death - Control
Doctor And The Crippens - Pink Machine Gun
Doctor And The Crippens - The Garden Centre Murders
Doctor And The Crippens - Skin Tight
Doom - Exploitation
Doom - No Religion
Also recorded where the likes of Bolt Thrower et al, and Peel's attention hurtled the UK Hardcore bands to the front of the NME and into the nation's subconscious.
Without Peel, grindcore would have stayed so far underground that I probably wouldn't be talking about it now.

My favourite Peel moment happened a long time ago when I was in work, back before I was in charge and we used to listen to the radio when the boss had gone out.
Eternal numb-nut and MTV favourite Lisa I'anson was off air for the dinnertime show for some reason, and for some reason known only to the BBC bigwigs they brought in Peely who played, in the middle of the day, whatever he wanted.
After one song, he came out with the following gem, around 12.30pm on a Wednesday afternoon:

I’ve had several complaints today, all asking to bring back Lisa I’Anson. This next record is for you, Mr Simpson of Plymouth. It’s Bolt Thrower....

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