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john peel Quotes

John Peel Quotes

Birth Date: 1939-08-30 (Wednesday, August 30th, 1939)
Date of Death: 2004-11-12 (Friday, November 12th, 2004)



    • Somebody was trying to tell me that CDs are better than vinyl because they don't have any surface noise. I said, 'Listen, mate, life has surface noise'.
    • I don't like encores. It's like, if you see a great painting, you don't want an extra bit painted on the side.
    • If Elvis were alive today, I think he'd really understand happy hardcore.
    • That's exactly the sort of record I like, lots of bad-tempered guitar playing that you can leap about splintering the furniture to.
    • On my recent course of antibiotics, every record sounded like that. (After playing an excerpt from 'Hairway to Steven' by Butthole Surfers)
    • I have an outstanding wife.
    • On being told by a fan 'meeting you is like a dream', Peel replied 'You ought to get some bigger dreams, son.'
    • I wish I was covered in fur... or feathers... or something more interesting than just fat.
    • In case you're wondering who this funny old bloke is, I'm the one who comes on Radio 1 late at night and plays records made by sulky Belgian art students in basements dying of TB. (Peel's compering debut on teen chart-music show 'Top Of The Pops')
    • Sheila has just shuffled into the kitchen, she's walking with a stick and wearing a hat to cover a rather unsightly scar but she's never looked more beautiful than she does now. (On his wife, after her surgery for a brain tumour)
    • (After playing 'Higher State Of Consciousness' by Josh Wink for the second time:) I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that sounded better when I played it the other night, at the wrong speed.
    • (On the band Big Black:) Once a week I drive a nail through my foot to remind myself of the stupidity of not going to see them when I had the chance.
    • I think I was a handy safety valve for some time. If people called up to complain about the safe and predictable nature of the station's playlist, someone could always tell them, 'Well you can always listen to John Peel. He plays strange discs.'
    • In earlier days there were times when senior management at Radio One seemed to be rather surprised that I walked upright and used knives and forks.
    • On one occasion Kid Jensen, Paul Burnett and myself - not a carefully honed fighting team, but nonetheless filled with drink - we went down and waited in the underground carpark at the BBC for the opportunity to beat up Simon Bates. Fortunately he didn't turn up, or we might have suffered an embarrassing reverse, as he's probably stronger than us.
    • I get letters from people who say 'I hadn't listened to your programme for twelve years, and I was driving home the other night and heard something I thought was fantastic. I've listened every night since, and it was just how it used to be.' Sometimes kids write in and say, 'I was listening to your programme in my bedroom the other night when I was doing my homework, and my mum came in and said, 'What are you listening to?' I said, 'John Peel,' and she said, 'Oh, I used to listen to him when I was your age.'' It's nice being woven into people's lives in that way.
    • Climbing into bed with Sheila and doing what we call wrapping - she's only five foot, and I kind of wrap round her and immediately I feel at peace. (Asked 'What's your heaven?')
    • 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 'BoltThrower'... (John terrorising radio one's lunchtime audience while standing in for a sick DJ.)
    • I never make stupid mistakes. Only very, very clever ones.
    • You can either see it as selfless dedication to public service broadcasting, or a shocking lack of ambition. (On his career at Radio One)
    • People ask me, 'what was the best year for music?' I always say, this year is the best year for music. Prior to that it was the previous year.
    • Yes I can, mate, I can take your awful CD out of the machine & throw it as far away from this studio as is humanly possible.' (Responding to the title of a Chris Isaak single, Can't Do A Thing To Stop Me, he was required to play when standing in for a sick colleague in 1993.)
    • You know, Aretha Franklin can make any old rubbish sound good, and I think she just has.' (After an Aretha Franklin duet with George Michael on 'Top of the Pops'.)
    • People like Mike Read and DLT would often complain that they couldn't go anywhere without being recognized, but of course would go everywhere in a tartan suit carrying a guitar, so they would have attracted attention in a lunatic asylum. In the streets of London, people would go, 'Who the fuck is that? Isn't that that Mike Read bloke?'
    • People sometimes ask me what I do this show for. I don't do it for the credibility or the cool, I don't do it for the major record labels, I don't do it for the music industry... I do it for people like (pause) The Undertones. (After playing The Undertones debut EP for the second time)
    • ...and at number seven, those Sun City Boys, Queen. (during 'Top of the Pops' chart rundown - referring to Queen's performance at the Sun City resort in South Africa, contrary to the boycott of the then-apartheid state)
    • I'll play you another track from that LP before the end of the programme, cause I rather like it, I must admit. It's also the kind of record which gets people writing in to say 'I shall never listen to your programme again!' ... that kind of thing... and in a rather perverse way I enjoy that, which is why there's only about twenty of us left. We have a secret handshake and a tie and everything. We can recognize each other in the street.
    • The people you don't actually know and who don't know you...when you turn up, and of course they're expecting you to look like one of Echo & The Bunnymen or something like that, and when you turn up looking like Echo & The Bunnymen's dad who hasn't been well for very many years, one can almost sense... the disappointment is almost tangible you know, which is why I tend to lurk here in the studios and not venture forth. It's like the 'Elephant Man' you know, bag over the head, that kind of stuff.
    • I'm back from Crete, a gorgeous golden brown. If you could see me I'm sure you would want to dance around me.
    • While that was going on my gums started bleeding. I'm not exactly sure what the significance of this is, perhaps it's the prelude to a religious experience. I certainly hope not.
    • Why am I laughing? I don't know... it's incipient madness, that's what it is. I'm quite looking forward to that actually, as I drift into an unattractive middle-age. I quite like the idea of waking up one morning quite plainly mad, I mean not dangerously mad, but just mad enough to be sent off somewhere where I can just sit and watch television and eat Indian meals for the rest of my life. I should be entirely happy doing that. You know, just waking up one morning imagining that you're something like an umbrella stand or something like that, and I find it quite an attractive prospect, I must say.
    • Well, me too, at times, I have to admit, I'm a victim of the pressures of modern life. I know that one of these days something's going to snap in my head and I'll start imagining that I'm a two and a half mile section of the East Lancs Road or something - or Phil Collins, whichever is the least interesting. (after playing 'Rat Race' by Sizzler)
    • (after playing 'How will I know when I'm really in love ?' by XXOO) - Your hat will fall off! I thought everybody knew that.
    • (after playing 'Scream Like an Angel' by Brilliant) - How do these people know what an angel screams like? Answer me that. On one side of a paper only.
    • (after playing 'Chant Down Babylon' by Hugh Griffith) - Well at our house, before we go to bed every night, we always chant down Babylon for five or ten minutes, and yet it's still there in the morning.
    • (after playing 'Carnival of Damocles' by In Excelsis) - I'm not entirely sure Damocles was the kind of chap who went to Carnivals much, but that's the title of it.
    • (after playing 'I Need Someone Tonight' by A Certain Ratio) - Ah, I do like a deeply meaningful lyric, although I suppose if you need someone tonight, it is a meaningful lyric.
    • (after playing 'This Sinking Feeling' by The The) - That's The The and on the record it says 'With every kick in the face and every hurdle you pass the rewards get greater', and if you've been passing hurdles you should see your doctor as soon as you possibly can.
    • Now this is... talk about not being able to pronounce things, I'm in real trouble with this next one, because the name of the band... well it's spelt K-U-K-L. Now how would you pronounce that? I mean given that it's some kind of nordic language that you're not entirely familiar with. Well I checked around a bit, with people who know the band and they said, well, it's pronounced 'Curcle'. So I said 'Curcle', I mean that seems, you know, feasible... daft, but feasible... so K-U-K-L, Curcle, so I went ahead and that's what I said when I did a radio programme featuring this domestically, and a member of the band phoned up and said 'No, it's not Curcle at all, it's...' he didn't say it like this at all but he said '... it's pronounced Krchk'. And I said, well how can it be pronounced Krchk, I said, cause there's no 'R' in it... there's an 'L'... and the 'L' is at the end, you know, all that kind of thing. Anyway, he says it's Krchk, so this is Krchk, and frankly the title of the piece I have no intention at all of trying to pronounce, it's spelt S-O-N-G-U-L-L and it's almost certainly pronounced 'Lester'. (plays the record) That's Kukl, pronounced Krchk and this is John Peel's Music, pronounced 'Excuse me, but isn't that my ladder?'
    • (after playing 'In a Rut' by The Ruts) - I think it's fair to say that modern music is back in that rut again, actually, lots of beautiful youths in meaningful trousers.
    • (after playing 'Sanctuary' by Vex) - That's Vex and on the back of the sleeve it says 'four individuals with no set ideals making music to provoke thought' - and the thought which most immediately comes to me is that it's almost time that we've had enough records like that.
    • The name of the next artiste appears to be Daniel Ponce but it's actually pronounced, I think, Pon-che, and the track itself is called Bastardo Cuentos which translates approximately as 'Oh no, not another Spanish referee'.
    • (after playing 'Another Black Friday' by The C.U.B.S.) - It's called 'Another Black Friday' and the press of it has been good as far as I can tell: 'the best production at the present time','a rise to new musical directions', 'a brilliant fusion of body and brain' ... I don't know, that sounds like a motorcycle accident.
    • 'Party Line' by Abbreviated Sealing, and of course whenever I criticize the name of a band somebody will write in and say 'Of course what you don't realize is that it's a quote from Jean Jacques Pissoir's Vortex - A Threnody', and it may well be so.
    • That's Stump and that's another track in the forthcoming Peel Sessions EP series, if you see what I mean. It's not quite that but I'm not gonna try and reconstruct the sentence in front of you.
    • And from Richard, one of the three pieces of mail which arrived this week, and it says 'Look out for the German all-female ensemble called Breast. Have they made any records?' Well if they have I certainly wouldn't be able to play them on the BBC, not with a name like that, because at the BBC nobody has breasts of course. But here at BFBS they look at things very differently. I've got quite a reasonable set of breasts myself actually.
    • Kevin (one of the engineers), our man in the studded leather bracelets and AC/DC tour jacket says that they sound like a very sick Judas Priest, but of course in my estimation Judas Priest sound like a very sick Judas Priest.
    • Here's an oldie which I always enjoy, you probably loathe it, I don't know, don't really care. It's my programme, not yours.
    • And this week's programme is being engineered by Nicky, whose loveliness is enough to drive fat men to drink, but in her defence she'll come and have a drink with you while you do it. But Kevin has dropped into the studio to tell me that he's just been to see, in the last week, Yes and Status Quo. So representatives from the Peel Foundation are taking him outside for a full frontal lobotomy in the hope that something can be done to improve his emotional condition.
    • A card from Michael, and he says, could I play a record for his friend who has just come back from Nepal after two and a half years where he's been talking with the stones. I'm not entirely sure this isn't a medical condition actually, Michael. If the stones have been talking back to him, then I think we have real cause for concern.
    • And Kay wrote to me from Bielefeld, where he or she is stationed. He or she or uncommited, I don't know.
    • My day started off particularly well with a phonecall from Richard in Germany who told me, he says 'Do you want any wine? My father owns a vineyard.' Owns a vineyard??!! So I said 'Next time I come to Germany I shall come and stay with you - probably for several years'. (plays a record) I'm always very pleased to get letters or indeed phonecalls from anybody whose family own vineyards - or Mercedes Benz dealerships, or, because I have so many children, a toilet paper factory as well, if you want to get in touch.
    • One of the highpoints of my weekend in Berlin was the Atonal-Festival, and we weren't there for very long, it was just a lot of people shrieking really, banging instruments in a rather random fashion... But a young woman there did seem to show some kind of vague sexual interest in me, and like twenty years ago I should've been most gratified by this and probably tried to do something about it. But of course when you've deteriorated to the point that I've deteriorated to, you become a little uneasy. And I wondered, like, is she a dedicated sociologist who is prepared to stop at nothing to support some half-baked theory she has, or is she smashed out of her head, or is she just plain mad. And I rather suspect that she was smashed out of her head, because trying to get off with me is roughly equivalent to eating all of your meals out of wastebins.
    • (some comments John made on Jamaican pre-releases on recycled vinyl):
    • Rip, Rig & Panic have in fact broken up, because some of them live across the road from my mum. Not that they've told me that they've broken up but I can see them in there and they look broken up.
    • Really needs to be played loud enough to start a civil defence alert.
    • The musical equivalent to those children's TV programmes where you make a model of the Battersea power station out of egg-boxes.
    • (On the ridiculousness of choosing a best band ever) It's like saying which is better; Tuesday or a piece of string?
    • (After playing 'My Darling' by Ivor Cutler): Well if that's an example of Ivor Cutler's reality, just imagine what his dreams must be like.
    • Some very bad trousers indeed.
    • (After playing Napalm Death's one-second song 'You Suffer') Haha, it can't be that short.
    • (After playing 'Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want' by The Smiths): Well, I wanted a video camera for Christmas but I didn't get one.
    • (About to play a track which started very quietly) I've got to keep talking for a few seconds, because it starts so quietly, you see, that we might be interrupted by All Saints, and we wouldn't want that really, would we?
    • Can't believe they gave that greatest Briton shit to Churchill when there's a man among us who still plays Half Man Half Biscuit on the taxpayer's buck.
    • If he ever hits puberty we'll be in trouble.
    • john peel

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