October 30, 2004



Here are Douglas Wolk and Carl Wilson, both with memories and links, and a friend of John Shaw's who remembers things about Peel, Rod Stewart and Yoko's blood. Andrew Beaujon with a good Peel primer in the Washington Post and two memory posts of his own, here and here.

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October 28, 2004



More Peel tributes here from Andrew O'Hagan in the Telegraph and here at NYLPM.

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October 27, 2004

“BEST OF 2005”


All existing, actual records have been excised. 100% fake now.

1. Paul Wall “Something Is Wrong My Car And I am The Last Person In The World Who Would Know What It Is” (Narner)
2. Chris Martin f/Gwyneth Paltrow “Something Stupid” (Harveytone)
3. 50 Cent “Omnipresence” f/Olivia (G-Unit)
4. Maroon 5 “I Will Bring Your Daughter Home Before 11 PM EST” (J Records)
5. Hoobastank “Another Reason” (J)
6. Fantasia “Believe In People You’ve Never Met (And You Will Feel Better)” (J)
7. Fabolous “Unbothered By Anything” (Atlantic)
8. Fat Joe “I Owe My Career To Scott Storch” (Atlantic)
9. American Idol Runners-Up “Heal The World With Musical Love During This Holiday Season (For The Sudan and Other African Places)” (Unicorp)
10. Missjones “Racism Is Only Supposed To Be About Black People (That’s What MLK Said)” (Sprint)
11. Ryan Cabrera “Dear Ashlee” (Warner & Warner)
12. Michale Bublé “The Stars In The Chai” (EMI)
13. R. Kelly “I See Guns Everywhere, Jesus” (Faith Burger)
14. Usher & Conor Oberst “Purple States (In My Cup)” (Saddle Creek)
15. Toby Keith “He’s Right (I Don’t Need To Hear What He’s Saying)” (Xfredromuck)
16. Brooks & Dunn “I Told You, Dude” (Moderately Daft)
17. J-Kwon “Bananas” (Hot Fudge Sundae remix f/Cassidy, Ludacris, T.I., Bun B., Slim Thug, Pastor Troy, Lil Boosie & Freedom Williams) (So So Def)
18. Goonie Goo “Fucking Crunk Hat” (Boozecorp)
19. Janie Jimboree “Twee Finger” (Adcorp)
20. Lil Jon f/The Musician Most Recently Kicked Out Of Guns ‘n’ Roses “November Rain” (TVT)
21. Dem Franchise Boyz “Muu-Muu’s and Woo-Woo’s” (Twingo)
22. Sara McLachlan “Moisture and Good Health” (Arista)
23. John Ashcroft “The Eagle Takes a Powder” (Crimebutt)
24. Horseknuckle “The Futz” (XL)
25. The Crosslers “So Cross With You” (Chapped Lips)
26. Jay-Z “Back Like Michael” (Roc-a-Fella/Armadale/3M)
27. Usher “This Is My Fifteenth Single” (Jive)
28. Bossfack “The Humpenstein” (CDR45HG)
29. Razilé “Your Love Is Heat” (Sprinkler/EMI)
30. The Libertines “Aw Feck” (Rough Trade)
31. Benbo Lip “Dem Gwan Hock” (Massive B)
32. Natalie Simpson “100% Real” (Universal)
33. Pen Rollings “Nazi Homos Fuck Off” (Bear Family)

1. R. Kelly & Jay-Z Let The Healing Begin (Jive)
2. Courtney Love Available For Bar Mitzvahs and Car Shows (DGC)
3. The Kaiser Chiefs Please Consider Us For The Next iPod Ad (Capitool)
4. Beck Nodelay (DGC)
5. Usher Other Stuff I Didn’t Originally Confess To But Which Is Still Pretty Bad (Special Edition holiday 3-CD set) (Jive)

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Our friend Nick Brooks writes:

"I hung out with Peel during one of his radio shows in December '88. I was over in London for Christmas. I was on the perpetual plan at UC Berkeley, and worked as on air DJ at KALX 90.7FM - "The B Side" Tuesdays and and "Arts in Review" Thursdays 9am to noon. The Tuesday show was my selfish blast of British things: My Bloody Valentine, Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, House of Love, Lilac Time, Tim Simenon, Acid Jazz, Sundays, 14 Iced Bears. You get the picture. The Thursday show was in-studio interviews with actors, directors, and dancers with shows on in the Bay Area, outlined with jazz and blues records. For my London break, I had managed to convince the program director at KALX to let me take a portable tape deck with me in the hopes that I would score some interviews. I lucked out, bagging Stephen "Don't call me 'Tin Tin'" Duffy, Ian McKellen and John Peel. Various messages left with various levels of interns and assistants resulted in a bored-sounding assistant telling me to be in the lobby of the station just before his show that night.

Arriving early, I was greeted by the porter and shown where to wait. Five minutes before airtime, the front doors swung open and in walked a ball of curry and lager smell. I heard "You must be the bloody Yank!" Next thing I knew, I was in his wake on the way upstairs. The incoming mail for just that day was overflowing in a locker big enough for a years worth of my personal mail. He said that every single submission would get a listen, and I knew he was telling the truth.

He wanted to vet me a little and asked to see a station playlist (top 30 most-played songs of past month). Evidently I and the station passed some sort of test. He told me to come in the studio and hang out during the show and promised to talk into my microphone during some of the songs. So with less than three minutes before his first on air mic break, he sat down, said hello to his engineer in the adjoining studio and did a test of the mic with some silly warm up stuff. Suddenly, he was looking at the clock, flicking a switch and going out live with "I'm sitting here with a yank from one of those College Radio stations in the states, Hopefully we can play some music he likes tonight!" He then signalled the engineer and a live version of "Destroy the Heart" by House of Love took off. It was playing so loud that the walls were shaking. This was obviously how he liked to hear music.

I noticed the TV at his desk playing a soccer game and asked him about it. He was a massive Liverpool fan and had the BBC figure out a satellite hook up so he never missed a single game if they were playing during a show. I told him Liverpool were my team as well. He looked at me like I was taking the piss. I then recited the starting line up of the 1977 European Cup Final winning team. Next thing I knew, he was reaching back to open two cans of lager and offer me one. The next two hours passed in a blur, Peel hitting his mic breaks with relish and using me as bait for ongoing riff about hoping the yanks will like/get understand this song. I got him to turn down level in studio for some good interview stuff and funny station ID's: "49, Fat but Fun. This is John Peel. When I'm in the Bay Area I only listen to KALX 90.7FM". He then signed off and walked me into office area throwing piles of BBC stuff and label promos into my bag and telling me to play it loud no matter what. Back in Berkeley, I edited the evening into 15 minutes and made of show of John Peel—hits from bands he'd been instrumental in helping along, and clips from my interview with him. He was such a great force of the business. Not a false note of self-promotion or bullshit about him. In fact, his only negative remarks that night were directed at DJs who were more focused on a future TV career than the music they were playing. I thank him for caring, and for playing it loud."

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October 26, 2004


John Peel is dead. He was one of my heroes. I thought of him often, and not simply as an adjunct to, or outgrowth of, the music he played. I loved his sunrise march of enthusiasms. I loved that his native decency never made him a scold. I have long tried to imitate his best qualities, especially his gentle but unmovable decision to do his thing, day in and day out, unfuckwitably and joyfully. If it is possible to love someone you've never met and with whom you have no empirical connection—and I don't think it is—then I loved John Peel.

Everybody talks open-mided. Peel was the only open-minded DJ I ever actually heard being open-minded in a public space. I include in this slightly weepy sample everybody I grew up on and worshiped: early Meg Griffin on WPIX, Afrika Islam on WHBI, WNYU's New Afternoon show in the early 1980s, anybody on WFMU. (Mixtapes are excluded, not for lack of love but for lack of audience.) There was a reason I carted around all those boxes of unlistened-to cassettes from house to house in the early 90s, then listened to them, then transferred favorite cuts to—eek—DAT. Peel was the one.

He played huge, cheesy pop records; happy hardcore records ten years off the boil; The Fall when he couldn't think of anything else (a default move I endorse); African guitar pop (lots of it); every indie band ever; and plenty of major label bands long gone sour for hipsters but still perfectly OK for Peel. He talked about his family and included them in his work in an organic and respectful way. He was the first radio DJ to play Ui. We recorded a session for him in 1999—one of the highlights of my time with the band—but we never met him. And as Justine pointed out in an email to me, I would not have met several close friends if Peel hadn't played our tiny records and linked us together, at least in abeyance, over the air.

For more illumination and less mush, please see Gerard. Check here for a great MP3 of Peel interviewing our friend Rhodri Marsden (late of the mighty Gag), when he was 17 years old. He is no longer 17. Here is a piece by Paul Morley about Peel, which parallels my own assumptions of Peel's immortality. Here is one NME piece, with tributes from musical types, and here is another, with quotes from Tony Blair even.

Obits, etc:


The Herald

New York Times


London Times

Andy Kershaw says the BCC was wearing Peel out.

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October 25, 2004



Out with "Four Singles," and in with "1979," a piece about The Clash's London Calling.

I haven't been updating much. This means nothing. There is a stack of half-baked entries waiting for a turn in the oven. Soon, they will become treats for you, the loyal clickers and lookers.

The real cookies? Sticker Shock. (Hit refresh a bunch of times. Randomination!)

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October 21, 2004




We're going apple picking.

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October 19, 2004



Please make sure Cabaret Voltaire's "Yashar" (John Robie remix) is playing in the background when you read this article.

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A recent exchange between friends:

AMERICAN: Can my friend bring her small dog to your house in Italy?

ITALIAN: This is the dog really small and quite? If it is, the small and quite dog can come.

AMERICAN: I will write to the dog's owner to make sure the dog is quiet. I know it is small but have to check on quiet because I do not know the dog.

ITALIAN: Dear friend, many thanks at you! For the dog, his quiet is above all for you. If in the special silence of the night he begin to bark at the wild little animal in the wood, what we do? I will be sorry for you.

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October 17, 2004



Sam and I were there last night. I'll have more to say in the next day or so. For now, an admission: It really isn't any fun to watch an entire ballpark go limp. I couldn't blame the 11th-hour attempt, as seen below, to extinguish the Yankees. Thick traffic and vomiting bears around Copley Place defeated this plan.


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October 11, 2004



Oy, you, Nat. Get the FUCK AWAY from me with that song. I don't care if your band can play it on stilts, I don't care if you namecheck Keats and drum machines, I just need you to stop. Maybe you and bro-ski would like to open an Asian fusion noodle shop, since that's all anyone is doing in London. But check this right here: Nelly Furtado IS NOT DEAD and Lauryn Hill is BACK. Return their steezes to coat check and shove off. Now.

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October 09, 2004



The b-boys of grime wear baseball hats and quilted jackets, sometimes in the version of baseball jackets, but none of it ever looks hip-hop. And why? Because they stand straight and conserve motion and the pants never sag completely. They should love this, and themselves, and stay the course. They are on to something.

A girl threw up in Leicester Square, attended by two City Guardians and a friend who rubbed her arms hopefully. Many people here throw up. It feels generically rowdy, like a positive consensus around voluble carousing has grown up and it is not only AWOL fratpoles who wiggle around sozzled and impudent. Also, Busaba Eathai is fabulous low-priced Thai. But, like you, all I could hear through dinner was "A Bomb In Wardour Street." A P O C A L Y P S E, apocalypse, but only wine is served.

God, I love my second city here, my dream home deferred, my lock box.

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October 08, 2004



In for Number 3, Aaliyah, is Utada. No, not right—she's coming in for Tori Bjorkissette, carrying two corked Timbaland bats (not actually that good but...) and talking about "gene pools." Also, coming in for Number 43, Metallica, is Mastodon.

And in for everybody is number 21, Bob Dylan. I wrote a brief note on Chronicles, but there's so much more to say. Dude is ridonculous. (The non-believers all cave, eventually.) Such compact, funny burners. Believes nothing, enjoys everything. A short Cliff's Notes breakdown to follow.

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Hello, Londoners. I will be in your city from tomorrow, the 9th, through the 12th. Talk to me on the email if there is anything I should know or do.

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[Walking to school.]

"I need to show my bunny everything. Look. A parking lot. A terrible Hummer. A piece of metal. Wait, my bunny can comb my hair."

[Hey, now you have a new hairdo.]

"No, no, no. Only girls have hairdos. I just have hair. Just hair. All over my head."

[Dinner. Younger quiet, the elder speaks.]

"It seems weird for such a gentle person like Wanda to get her ears pierced. It’s like for somebody who’s not going into fashion and isn’t trying to look their best and isn’t decorating themselves but is just a regular person who might go anywhere. It’s like getting hit by a baseball. First, you’re just this regular person, and then you grow up and look—you’re getting hit by a baseball. And it’s like Wanda. She’s just a regular person, and then here she is getting her ears pierced."

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October 06, 2004



Faith didn't come up last night, but it did give me a donut this morning. At 9:02 AM, as I neared the intersection of Chambers and West Broadway, a man handed me a Krispy Kreme and a postcard. Being a New Yorker, I ate the free food and pocketed the postcard. I took a right and walked down Chambers to Taylor's, my coffee spot. I started to open the door, but a woman cut me off and asked me to sign a release form. "They're filming and you might end up on camera," she said. Being a New Yorker, I fully expect my muffin shop to end up on a reality show, and I am not surprised when it does. The camerapeople were dormant, talking about the debate. I got my coffee, unfilmed, and headed for the train. Another man handed me another Krispy Kreme. Being a New Yorker, I told him to fuck off with his mind control donuts. Once is fine—twice, you're up to something.

And he was up to something! Namely, pimping for a church called Mosaic Manhattan Church. They don't like guilt but they do like donuts. Now when my kids begin a sentence with "We're Jewish and Mom is Jewish," they can complete it with "and Dad's a Mosaicist!"

When the donuts run out, I'm going to back the Cathars.

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October 05, 2004



It's generous of Jessica to think that I am not sleepwalking or lost. I certainly agree with her that it's odd to produce children only to avoid them, but I reject any exceptional status. Had you seen me this morning, you would have seen a beaten 37-year-old man dragging a big boy down the street, both of them miserable. The boy, for reasons only available in the phrase "I don't want to be hot," was refusing to wear more than a single long-sleeved shirt when the sharp wind was saying "This fall shit is on and clothes are a must." The message was so clear that the same boy was tucking his hands up into his sleeves and holding my hand through his shirt, stuck in the trenches of his pride and refusing to put on the new PS 150 sweatshirt in his bag, the very same one he was thrilled to have because two of his friends also have it.

I was exhausted by all of it—my own stupid tenacity, hanging on to the idea that a child should wear a sweatshirt in the cold, not least because I told him to; and his equally tenacious commitment to refusal, the two of us marching down the street like rain clouds.

Being a dad is killingly hard, and as often as I judge semi-Dads and their "lunch-with-Daddy-except-he's-on-his-cell-phone-oops-one-minute" idea of parenting, I'd be fucked if my burnt nerve moments of yelling and substandard attention were submitted to real scrutiny.

Think fifty-seven times before getting into this game. And parents—don't hate or discriminate. Folks without kids are probably doing everybody a big, humane favor. I mean, honestly—how many people you can think of that you actually would encourage to bear and raise children?

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"don zimmer? ancient history. so ancient he is probably still sitting in the dugout at tropicana field, wondering when game #163 starts.

seriously though, the yankees this year are an odd bunch. there are the guys I despise but respect (george posada, jeter, rivera), the thin man (giambi—don't do drugs, kids), the man with one hand (kevin brown—seriously kids, don't do drugs), the one in the very charming, very flattering pants (sheffield) and the one player in all pro sports for whom I wish nothing but bad luck (alex rodriguez). I mean torre is granite so I have no reason to believe they won't win, but if it comes down to yankees-dodgers, I'm putting the McCarver pen back through the eye."

Joe Gross:

"Up until only a year or so before his death, my maternal grandfather and grandmother were serious, club-going, stay-out-til-4-AM-in-Miami-and-sometimes-Manhattan jazz fans (my grandmother once described a Sun Ra they saw on Long Island as “the music was as wonderful as the hats,” which is still one of my favorite pieces of music criticism).

Anyway, one of my fondest memories of Xmas ’90 (Xmas ’89?) was bringing home a copy of “Groove is in the Heart.” I put it on the stereo, and my late grandfather (b. 1917) looked up from his paper, which he did so with reluctance at the time, stood up, walked into the back room of my folks' house, and quietly stood in the doorway until the song was finished.

Thick Bahstan accent: “That was a terrific song, Joe. What was the name of the group?”

“Deee-lite, Pop-Pop.”

Returns to chair: “Great, great song.”

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October 04, 2004



Please. Please. Don't bite. It's not polite. (But what else is the Sunday Times doing now but biting the blogsophere? Skanless!)

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PSA 2.0


People ask me, they ask me, they email me and they say:

"How can I be down?"

These are the emails I do not answer. But others email me and they ask:

"Where can I drink vodka and how can I have fresh breath?"

To these people, I say (in my head where they cannot hear me), I say:

"Thank you for asking me a question I can answer."

For drinking, I fucks with Grace on Franklin Street and The Mermaid Inn on Second Avenue. And for fresh breath, nothing tops Eco-Dent's Daily Rinse. That shit will have you believing in yahweh and playing questionable Brazilian records quickfast, that's how hale and frisky your mouth will feel. And when all else fails, buy Deeeeeeeee-lite's World Clique and watch how fast you ask yourself:

"Mashups? What? What was that? I am unable to hear you."

I am here to help and to do no harm. This is my oath. Over here.

Posted by Sasha at 08:11 PM | TrackBack



This time of the year can be especially perilous for members and fans of the Boston Red Stockings organization. Some of these people are our friends and loved ones, and we cannot abandon them to their cruel and inevitable Fate. So, please—if you see a Red Stocking or one of their followers making the motion pictured above, please get professional medical help. Do not giggle. We cannot cure this disease at its root, but we can help the afflicted to stay alive and live fulfilling lives. Stay alert and memorize all emergency phone numbers.

PS: If Pedro rolls up in here with another beaner, his little crew of elves better protect their fucking necks. Don Zimmer DOES NOT PLAY.


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October 03, 2004



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October 01, 2004



Why didn't I have a brief relationship with Cheyne Coates in the late '80s that I might now fondly recall as autumn brings back memories of impulsive gift-giving and long, languorous brunches in the crisp fall air? With Cheyne Coates? Who I've never even met?

Why do I have a thing for the lead singers of bands who inevitably end up in the dollar bin?

Why wasn't Brassy huge?

Why is the guy who programs the videos at the New York Sports Club such a genius?

Why is Ellen Degenres interviewing LL Cool J so adorable?

Does lighting yourself on fire usually work?

Why doesn't everyone simply acknowledge Elizabeth Marvel as the best Stapler To The Wall of Cut Flowers in New York and be done with it?

Why do people apologize for the homophobic clowns in dancehall? How do you put together a case that there is some legitimate need for this "burn chi-chi mon" bullshit?

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It is an odd thing, listening to this and reading this at the same time.

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