The selections from this show came from a 90 minute recording posted from about halfway through the programme. I came up with 8 selections that I would have kept on a mixtape of which only 1 of them is unavailable for sharing or at least unavailable for sharing in the form I would like. The Divine Comedy were a very different beast when they started out, from the urbane, lounge pop outfit that they had success as. Neil Hannon was always a Cole Porter in waiting, but his deliciously sophisticated lyrics were, on the band's initial recordings, backed by a Byrds-like jangle. Peel played their 12" single Timewatching on this night, a gloriously urgent tune about aging, but alas all that can currently be shared is the slower re-recording from a few years later. I get impatient with it but will include it for any Divine Comedy fans who chance upon this blog.
The Divine Comedy - a little faster please!
This was a fairly momentous Peel show because for the only time in its history, the Festive 50 was abandoned by Peel, who, depressed by the slow trickle of entries which had been coming in through the month and which would have lead to any entry receiving a handful of votes getting placed in the chart, decided to abort it and instead choose his own favourite records and sessions of the year. The Festive 50 would return the next year and the 1991 chart would be broadcast at the rate of one entry per show through the first half of 1993. I have to say that having heard the Peel choices, I could have happily let him go on selecting "best ofs" for the rest of his life. It was the only true reflection of the breadth of music he played year on year.
The programme was also memorable for news of a rock star death and Peel indulging in a rare piece of tribute playing as a result.