Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Oliver!: John Peel Show - BBC Radio 1 (Saturday 28 March 1992)

I turned 16 years old on 27 March 1992 (cards and presents to the usual address next year please, fans).  I didn’t spend it going mad on a moped or losing my virginity at the earliest opportunity.  Instead I went for dinner with my parents and watched a double-bill of the Doctor Who videos for Logopolis and Castrovalva.  One of the boys acting in Oliver!, Toby Haynes, was a Doctor Who fan and actually lent me videos of Who stories recorded off the television in the mid-80s.  It was like having access to YouTube, a decade and a half in advance.  My whole memory of that period can be boiled down into a series of word associations: new house, foolish romanticism, stage make-up, spring sunshine and 1980s Doctor Who.
John Peel broadcast a show on March 27, but all the available files failed the minimum time-limit test  (as near to a single side of a C-90 tape as possible), so we have had to skip on to Saturday 28 March 1992 instead.  My birthday isn’t particularly well served by the Peel share universe.  There are plenty of years where no record of what Peel broadcast on March 27 has shown up, or the files are very short.  1979 and 1980 provide some decent running times, but I’ll have to wait till 1993, when I was performing in a production of Peter Shaffer’s play, Equus to have a birthday Peel show to savour.

Selections from this show were taken from a 93 minute long file.  A news bulletin contained news about the 1992 General Election, only 2 weeks away at this point.  Des Wilson, campaign manager for the Liberal Democrats, implored the two main parties to focus more attention on Europe.  It was where our future was, according to him....  On that tack, I’m currently reading this and it’s shaping up to be a classic of its kind.

There were several tracks that I would have been interested to share had they been available.  They included:

Brother Blue - Ons Het Hautuley - my notes describe this as an example of 60s South African skiffle, which sees discordant accordion played alongside a traditional soukous guitar line.  Peel had two copies of the record and had given one to Andy Kershaw.  Very difficult to find any record of it online, so may qualify as one of Peel’s rarest records.

Cul-de-Sac - Cant- this was the B-side of their 7-inch single, Sakhalin.  With its mixture of varispeeded organ and supermarket Muzak guitar, Peel preferred this instrumental to the A-side.  I agree with him, Sakhalin starts off well, but outstays its welcome.  He referred to Cul-de-Sac as a “String-a-Longs for the 1990s”.

Piss - Nightmare - Peel adored this all-girl Japanese punk band and the loss of the Women’s Liberation album on which they contributed pained him later in the decade by all accounts.  This was the first of their tracks to make any impression on me, supposedly because of a comedy vocal and hints of melody through the thrash.

Rise From the Dead - Full of Dirty Money - More Japanese rock goodness and I liked the start, which was fortunate as that was all I heard due to the tape on the file running out.

Falling from favour were:

The Wedding Present - Silver Shorts - on first hearing, this was a cinch to be included.  However, it lost its sheen on subsequent listens.  I feel bad about this, because the only post I’ve deleted from this blog was for The Wedding Present’s superb Blue Eyes (nothing that they had done, just I was a bit too open in what I discussed about myself and ended up causing un-nessecary distress to a loved one).  Perhaps Blue Eyes, which seems magnified in status because of its deletion, set standards that need to be met by this band if they are to feature here again. I certainly hope so, because Blue Eyes told me just why The Wedding Present mattered to so many.

Augustus Pablo - Black Gunn - it was Rob Da Bank’s Early Morning Dub Appreciation Society which first introduced me to the brilliance of Augustus Pablo.  I think some residual appreciation from that may have led to Black Gunn being earmarked for inclusion, but there was always a question mark next to it.  Despite the charming, music-box like quality given to the glockenspiel part, the ennui was palpable.

Happy birthdayish

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