It’s funny, but with each year that passes after John Peel’s death, the more it seems like a watermark moment. It was the 6th anniversary of his death yesterday, and, having spent most nights of my teenage years falling asleep listening to his show, I still miss him.
But the music he played was the most important part, and his maxim – that there is little merit in consistency – is now mine, and the reason I began ANBAD. Following his death, the new music world changed out of all recognition.
Music blogs superseded radio shows and the NME – in immediacy and reach, at least – and I often wonder how John Peel, as the de facto pivot around which all new music in the UK swivelled – would have fitted in.
I doubt he would have worried. That wasn’t his way. He would have gone on playing bands to thrill the kids and trouble their parents. Bands, indeed, like Antwerp, whose song Yupik is the sound to accompany that formless feeling when emerging from a dream into a half-awake state.
Yupik could be played backwards or – in Peel’s clumsy hands – at the wrong speed, and it would still sound as beautifully unconnected, distant and soporific. This is not the traditional definition of a good song, but in today’s infinitely-faceted musical world, it’s probably as high praise as can be handed out.
Finally, a secret. Whenever I’m unsure if a band should appear on ANBAD, my acid test is, “Would John Peel have played this?”. I know that he would have played Antwerp.