The John Peel Archive: day one

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I have had plenty of hits to the site today, largely due to the amount of material about John Peel that I have written over the years. As soon as I checked my phone at 6.30am this morning there were messages about the launch of the John Peel Archive and it has dominated my social media feeds all day.
You probably all know the background by now, but if you don't, please watch the intro to the archive site and read this piece by Alexis Petridis in the Guardian.

I had quite a long shift today and I thought I might browse some of the archive in my break. I was down to work in the BBC's recently renamed John Peel Wing and ironically I could not get the archives to display properly in my browser! I had to wait until I got back to have a look at them. They have chosen to release the archive lists in alphabetical order, and today saw the first 100 A's online. Whilst a lot of them can be played via streaming services, not all of them can, and I was particularly excited to see Acid Mothers Today double album 'Freak Out' in there with full artwork photos, only to find that the audio is unavailable. Having said that, John's typewritten cards are included with each album and that is a very lovely touch.

As you may expect, there is loads to explore and there is very little overlap with my own collection. I have the A.C. Acoustics EP and LP, both A.R. Kane LPs and one of the Action Swingers albums. The wonderful thing about having this archive made public is that, many years after he has gone, John Peel is helping us discover 'new' or unheard music. I am currently listening to an album called 'Alien Registration' by A.M.P. Studio from this archive, which I have never heard of and I'm quite enjoying (it's pretty ambient by the way).

On a personal note, the most exciting bit of this was finding a long lost track by A.C. Marias called 'One of Our Girls Has Gone Missing' which I once taped off the radio onto a cassette that is long gone. The peel archive now links to the whole album on Spotify, and I've embedded the song below.

Finally, the very best thing is that these archives are going to be released gradually, with a chunk appearing EACH WEEK until October. If you squint you can see that Boo Radleys 'Every Heaven' is sitting on the B shelves, which just makes me wonder what other delights are coming up. This is going to be fun.

Visit the archive here and you can browse some Peel sessions, selected radio shows and videos, as well as the album racks.

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