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I'd forgotten I'd written this until now. Just seeing this makes me feel a little bit emotional. There still is no replacement for him yet.


I have just finished this book and I am left feeling very emotional by it. How can I begin to explain how important John Peel was to me? As a lover of music, his show educated me so much and he opened my eyes to so many styles of music throughout my life. As a broadcaster, you knew he was being his own self. As a person, he seemed to me incredibly endearing, humble and witty.

I still remember where I was when I heard the news. I was in a car with Boo, who I work with in my day job at Alive magazine, delivering our rather fine gig guide to Saltaire, near Bradford (little did I know at the time that this was where his wife Sheila was from). My Ryan Adams tape had just ended, so I pressed eject and caught the last few moments of a song before Colin Murray announced that they had some very sad news. I was surprised at just how much it upset me. I'd always been a bit disdainful of the public displays of grief over the death of Princess Diana, but there I was utterly shocked and upset over the death of a man I never knew.

So, this is the book John was working on when he died. What can I say? John's part of the book is pure John. You can hear his voice in your head as he tells you his life story. It is everything you would want it to be - moving, engrossing, unpretentious and very funny. His widow Sheila and their children all got together to research the rest of his life and then Sheila finished the book off. My heart goes out to his family for this and I must express my strong gratitude for what must have been a very difficult labour of love.

No-one else could have finished this book other than Sheila and John's dry sense of humour and skill with an anecdote appear to have rubbed off on her very well. In fact, this approach benefits the book, as John managed to cover most of his life before Sheila and getting a different point of view for the second half somehow adds to the books feeling of authenticity.

Never does the book get boring at any point. It is touching, sad, very funny and full of wonderful anecdotes. Anything other than a wonderful book would, quite frankly, have been unacceptable but between them, John & Sheila have managed to deliver the book that had to be written and that we needed to read. Now all we need is that young buck John always feared would suddenly turn up and take his place to finally materialise.

Review By Ned Netherwood

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