Been reading the postmortem praise for John Peel, all of it well-deserved. Slate has a nice piece on this legend of British radio.
I first heard Peel around four in the morning. In the little Hell's Kitchen apartment I rented with two friends during my first post-collegiate year. My roomate Sully and I stumbled out of Rudy's, a stridently-divey dive known for its hot dogs and brooding patrons, and came home to play darts until our other roommate insisted we stop. At which point we retired to Sully's room, where we stayed, sitting up, switching eventually to coffee, and savoring the last few hours of night listening to The Smiths or New Order.
Then we went to work. I to my job as a freelance editorial assistant working on K-2 readers for the textbook division of McGraw-Hill. He to some law firm downtown that specialized in tobacco litigation.
I used to wish that America had its own John Peel. I don't anymore because I think we have one in Nic Harcourt on KCRW in Santa Monica. His recorded sessions of up-and-coming bands on the show Morning Becomes Eclectic have made me significantly less envious of British radio listeners, though I'd still love to hear some more Peel sessions.
1 hour ago