Monday, November 06, 2006

Peel: Shuffler or saint?

The still-fairly-new Guardian music blogs are currently debating the role of John Peel. Was he creative, or did he just play people's stuff?

Says one "as far as I know, he never created a single thing of value."

The question, surely, is what you value and what you count creating: did Dandelion records not count as a creation? Did the curatorial role behind the Peel Sessions not count as valuable in its own right?

As is often the way on the web, though, the debate starts to sink into farce quite quickly:

My objection to the cult of Peel is not that he wasn't important, but that his much vaunted "eclecticism" was actually much narrower than is commonly believed. Yes, he championed a wealth of genres, but he rarely if ever gave airtime to industrial music pioneers like Throbbing Gristle, nor did he show any interest in or sympathy for free jazz and improvisation.

He didn't play any free jazz? Bloody hell - it's a wonder his corpse wasn't dragged through the streets before being given to small children to play football with. We love the way this commentator (richardrj) suggests that because he didn't play Throbbing Gristle or free jazz, that somehow makes his claims to be ecclectic (based on little more than embracing prog, punk, goth, acid, township jive, acoustic, new acoustic, 50s rock, psychobilly, lo-fi, riot grrl, grunge, indie, shambling, and a few others) to be little more than fraud.


Anonymous said...

i'm the accused, richardrj. just seen this. read my post. i'm not saying he wasn't eclectic, just that he could have been more so. face it, not playing industrial and free jazz are pretty glaring omissions. and why do you think my comment was farcical? is yours any less so?

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

Hello, richardj.

The faricial element was to complain that someone wasn't eclectic enough because there were a few genres you believe that he missed out on. It's like going to Harrods and complaining its range isn't wide because it doesn't offer elephant foot umbrella stands, large bottles of A1 steak sauce or busts of Albanian presidents.

Besides, the claims that he didn't play industrial music aren't even accurate - Laibach did sessions for him.

Improvised free jazz I can't vouch for, admittedly...

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