John Peel’s Shed
Intimate musings on the joy of radio
This article is from 2011.
In 2002 author John Osborne won a competition to write the best two-sentence description of John Peel’s radio show and win a box of the DJ’s records. ‘Songs you want to hear. Played by a man who wants you to hear them.’ earned Osborne the prize, and he proudly displays some of the vinyls on the floor of the faux living room he uses as his set.
As he talks he glances at these albums, looking to them for reassurance as he flicks through a series of anecdotes, observations and opinions – telling jokes, creating romantic anticlimaxes, and investigating how even Scott Mills can play a meaningful role in a human’s life. His love for radio is evident, and mixed with palpable shyness, even his memory of something as recent and innocuous as receiving his first digital radio sends nostalgic shivers down the spine. Osborne’s endearingly low-key wisdom does sit alongside duller material on his own contribution to East Anglian community radio, but in a handful of his most witty and passionate moments he shows how a lifetime of tuning in to great broadcasters can teach the listener a thing or two about audience connection.
Underbelly, 0844 545 8252, until 28 Aug (not 15), 5.30pm, £9–£10.50 (£8–£9.50).