The 25th October marks the anniversary of the untimely death of the world’s greatest (and indisputably so) radio DJ John Peel. Every year on this day the man behind the blog #keepingItPeel (and the Twitter account @keepingitpeel) becomes the organisational hub that links a whole host of events celebrating the man together. He also encourages everyone with a blog / twitter account / Facebook page to join in.
As it’s now just two weeks till this years #keepingitpeel day we thought it probably as good a time as any to have a chat with him about this years Peel Day & #keepingitpeel in general.
Louder Than War: So I guess we should start at the beginning with a bit of pre #KeepingItPeel stuff. When did you first begin listening to Peelâs show & how did you become hooked on it?
#Keeping It Peel: Like everybody else it was years and years ago. Listening to the radio late at night under the covers. I had an ear peace and used to fall asleep with his show on. I went through loads of batteries! Peelie admittedly played alot of crap but occasionally youâd hear a song that stood out. Iâd be nodding off and suddenly be wide awake when this happened.
Louder Than War: What did you learn from Peel in regards to how you listen to music now? I know personally pretty much my whole approach to how I listen to music is based on what I learnt from him.
Louder Than War: Right, onto #Keepingitpeel. When did you start it & why?
#KeepingItPeel: In 2007 I commemorated the annual John Peel Day on my other gig over at www.footballandmusic.co.uk. Then a year later BBC Radio 1 (who started it all a year after his passing) did nothing. There were still a number of independent John Peel Day events going on, but from the Beeb… silence.
2009 rolled around and once again the BBC seemed to have forgotten this event. And sadly by the looks of things, so did many others. But I still remembered.
Then around August of 2010 I had the idea of the hashtag of #keepingitpeel and also the blog #keepingitpeel to help raise awareness of the day. I chose October 25th because thatâs the day we lost him and I wanted this to be separate from John Peel Day – that was for the bands who played. October 25th is for us who listened…
Louder Than War: What was the original vision for it?
#KeepingItPeel: Simply to keep his memory alive and to play the songs/bands we discovered thanks to him.
Louder Than War: How has it developed following that original vision?
#KeepingItPeel: Last year was huge. The event was mentioned in all sorts of newspapers and I think, ironically, on the BBC.
Louder Than War: Stupid question really, but why do you think itâs important to keep the memory of Peel alive?
#KeepingItPeel: He was a pioneer and has become a reminder that we should listen like he did.
Louder Than War: How do people get involved?
#KeepingItPeel: Simply by posting on your blog (if you have one) your favourite Peel Session tracks. If you are on Twitter the hashtag’s #keepingitpeel and a mention or link to your favourite Peel Session.. if you are on Facebook, post a link to a video, audio… etc.
Louder Than War: Who is taking part (apart from everyone, obviously)?
#KeepingItPeel: Have a look at the list of participants from last year.
It was none stop all day. Especially with Twitter where the hashtag was top trending in the UK.
Hopefully weâll get the same this year, but with the Daily Mail and their witch hunt I think it might be quieter.
Louder Than War: You did brilliant work on twitter last year retweeting as many mentions of Peel as you could, will you be setting yourself up for another marathon this year?
#KeepingItPeel: As mentioned above it might not be as busy. Weâll see how it goes.
Louder Than War: Were you pretty overwhelmed with the number of people who tweeted about Peel last year? Why do you think he had such a profound effect on so many peopleâs lives?
#KeepingItPeel: Nearly! He had such a big effect because of the music. He played and we discovered so much music & so many bands because of him.
Louder Than War: Do you get people from all over the world approaching you to host events or is it exclusively UK?
#KeepingItPeel:Donât get asked to host anything, but I do get tweets and emails from all over the place from people organising something. Last year there were events in Holland, Spain and the USA.
Peelie still has a great memory for people in South America too.
Louder Than War: Am I right in thinking you live in Australia? If so do you find people there who know about him?
#KeepingItPeel: Iâm in the USA (British Expat) and people know about him thanks to the Peel Sessions that were released on CD. He was also broadcast on the World Service and some of his shows were on college radio.
#KeepingItPeel: Anything else youâd like to add?
Have a read of the music blogs which are KeepingItPeel but are also still looking and listening for new artists. With the web there are now millions of ways to find new music. These are the places to start.
A reminder, this years #keepingitpeel day will be on 25th October. You can find out information & keep up to date with Peel related events on the #keepingitpeel blog here. Following @keepingitpeel is also a good idea & there’s also a Facebook page too here.