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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Tuesday, November 15, 2005
    I got somethin' I want to tell the whole world
    Last night's Channel 4 documentary Inside John Peel's record box revealed the 140 7" singles which Peel treasured so much he kept them separate from the thousands of others he had (except, no Fall ones - his complete collection of their massive output had a special place on his shelves unique to any group). Of these titles (full list reproduced by The Times here), I have those which probably everyone's got (Teenage Kicks, of course, and The Beatles' Come Together, Octopus's Garden and Something), one which I'm embarrassed about (The Nice: The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack), one often covered by The Fall live (The Move: I Can Hear the Grass Grow - perhaps The Fall connection is why it's in the box) and a few White Stripes ones (Peel had twelve White Stripes disks in the box; Jack White was duly humbled).

    And one, which I still have on a treasured, hissy old cassette taped off a Peel show in 1985, Drag Racing by Big Stick. It's surreal, scary, sexy, and all over in barely a minute - in short, everything I imagine drag racing to be. A gasoline-rich breeze. Peel played it a lot at the time, and it's evidently endured for him. For me, it's a very welcome blast from the past, and mining Big Stick's website for more gems I rediscover another favourite of mine which I owe to Peel's exposure: the exemplary Jesus was Born on an Indian Reservation. Which may not be strictly true, but hints at one great truth about Jesus, also very true for Big Stick and for John Peel: they are outsiders, all. Glorious, liberating outsiders.