John Peel’s influence, his tenacity and support for difference was well known and felt deeply by many in the experimental music scene in Australia. I had first heard of John Peel in the late 70s when community broadcasters, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s 2JJ began playing avant garde pop and little known experimental musical genres to their listeners.
However, it was not until I sat down to listen to Andreas Ammer and FM Einheit’s Radio Inferno that I heard Mr Peel’s voice for the first time. It had such distinctive nuances I felt it had been with me most of my conscious listening life. But growing up in Australia many of us were as far from his voice as he was from ours.
From Radio Inferno on his voice appeared throughout the following 15 years as a kind of collage, fragments bursting out of broken car speakers on a road from Brisbane to Sydney, the Peel sessions captured to much played cassettes and memorable introductions to the few MP3s of the more resent of Peel’s sessions found buried on the internet.
If John Peel were to have left a legacy for myself alone it would be his love of difference: the sheer lucidity that comes with having found the soul stirring there, amidst the ruin of dreams.