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Friday, November 12, 2004

Marking a funeral

Not the one that took place in Palestine, but rather that of John Peel, veteren BBC radio presenter who died last month. Although he is best known here for his role in the world of popular music I first got to "know" John Peel rather late in the day with the Home Truths programme. This was basically just a radio programme on a Saturday morning about ordinary life. Funny stories, serious stories, quirky stories, sad stories, happy stories, truly bizarre stories, a collage of life in Britain and of the British people. He threaded the disparate materials together with a deft touch and self-deprecating wit.

But he is best known for his work on BBC Radio 1, but his true genius is that he appealed to everyone, the young and the old. He never stopped smiling, never stopped seeing the funny side. You might call him a celebrity, except that he everything that celebrity is not. There was no ritzy feel, no airs, nothing was skin-deep. He was himself, not trying to prove things or get attention. He was a man, who had achieved his boyhood dreams, and who retained a childish glee at the wonder of the world.

He died suddenly last month whilst on holiday in Peru, his wife at his side. He will be missed by many millions of us who have listened to his voice across the years.

Eternal rest.

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