Sunday, 9 April 2017

Oliver!: John Peel Show - Radio 1 (Friday 13 March 1992)

A period of upheaval both for myself and John Peel.  My father was a builder and this often meant that our housing situation could change based on his working situation.  More than once, we had moved into a house that he was working on in Falmouth, only to then move on again when it was ready for sale.  By the time I was 16, I had lived in 5 houses in the town.  2 of them had been for a combined period of 12 years, with 3 of them accounting for the remainder of the time.  In 1985, I'd done the whole bathing in a tub in the lounge thing and using a commode because we didn't have a functioning bathroom, in one of the places we had had to move into.  Nevertheless, going into 1992, we had been living in a wonderful house for 7 years.  Grovehill Crescent in Falmouth was perfect for a teenager; the town centre was 3 minutes walk away.  I also had my best mate at the time living at the top of the road, which was great until his parents moved out into the sticks.  He was still in Falmouth, but right out on the outskirts.  To me, outskirts was anywhere that didn't have access to a shop and the sticks were places without streetlights or street names.  I felt he had the worst of both worlds.
I didn't drive and from Grovehill Crescent, it would take ages to walk out there.  You could forget about buses out there as well.  I still saw him, but no way near as frequently.  I felt sorry for him too, because there was nothing out there.  He could walk into Budock Water, but there wasn't much to see there.  Just as I was absorbing the fact that my mate had moved out to something of a local wilderness, my parents told me that we were going to have to do the same thing.  This came about because my Dad and his building partner had been working on a pair of barn conversions that would have been their golden eggs if they could find buyers for them, but the recession of the early 1990s was in full effect by then, and the properties stubbornly refused to sell.  From a business point of view, my parents decided to move out to the barns, so that it might be possible to sell them with us in situ.
It was around this time that we moved out there, and I remember going out there one evening with them to have a look at the property.  Now, this was new ground for me, as it was the first place I'd ever lived in that didn't have either streetlights or a road name formally attached to it.  This was known as Higher Kergilliack and it was the area where you could either go on to villages like Mawnan SmithMabe or back towards Penryn and Falmouth.  We got out of the car, stood on the driveway in the dark, and looked away from the house to where I could see, in the distance, the yellow/orange mushroom cloud of streetlights in Falmouth.  At that moment, I felt incredibly isolated and outside of things.  It's funny isn't it?  You don't think of streetlights when you're surrounded by them, but as soon as you're away from them, they seem to stand for things beyond mere illumination: community, society, home.  Lest it sound like I was in some kind of Falmouth Outback, I should balance things up by saying that my school was only about 10 minutes walk away, and the town centre was about half an hour's walk.  Penryn was even closer.  Indeed,  I found myself going there more often than Falmouth, while we lived at the barn.  Had we been another mile further out then I really would have felt out of the way.  But for the first time in my life, and arguably at the worst possible age, I felt in the geographical margins.  Living in Cornwall, this was nothing new, but I gulped and swallowed hard before going into the barn, putting on a brave face for my folks and enthusiastically choosing my bedroom.

For John Peel, this date meant his first Friday broadcast on Radio 1 since 1978.  There were no incidents of misfortune on the 82 minute recording that I heard, which picked from various parts of the show.  He greeted listeners who may have been unaware of the schedule changes at Radio 1, and who may have switched on expecting Nicky Horne, "You must be having a rotten time" with his usual bag of tricks including an advert for drag racing from American radio circa 1966. By the end of the decade, he would be playing recordings of drag racing from Santa Pod Raceway, a venue where Peel had nearly been killed nine years earlier in the service of Noel Edmonds.

Three tracks would have been included here if they were available, 2 of them from acts sharing the same word as part of their names:

Mighty Force - Dum Dum - in my notes, I said they sounded a bit like The Art of Noise, though their record label described them as"hardcore indie rave".  Peel thought their record was good enough for people to stop watching The Word for.

T-President feat. Jah Whoosh - Living in Ecstasy (Truly Large Mix) - this essentially seems to be the BKS track I couldn't share from the 1/3/92 programme, but with added toasting.

C-Force - Strange Voyage - this is an industrial techno track with a lot of wonderful surprises in it.  You can hear a brief snippet of it in this 1992 mix by DJ Nickey.  It comes in at around 16:43.

Full tracklisting.

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