I think about John Peel too much for someone who rarely listened to his show, way back when. (I did, however, listen to a lot of Home Truths, his Radio 4 show about families and, well, life; it was filled with his gentle humor and understatedness, and it was a way of connecting to my mother across the Atlantic, who listened to it, too.) But the Peel myth looms large in my head — a man who became famous, if not beloved, because he stayed true to his own taste and rarely compromised it, instead introducing new music and new ideas to people continuously, including himself.
I often find myself wondering who the John Peel of [Insert Media Here] is, looking to find someone who could be trusted as a tastemaker in the same way in different fields, but the older I get, the more I realize that any true John Peel of today wouldn’t look anything like John Peel. It’s that whole contradictory thing, again; what we’re looking for doesn’t look like what we expected. Instead, they’re out there — a gender neutral term because, let’s be honest, the likelihood of a new John Peel being male is very small indeed — looking like themselves and doing their own thing, waiting to find their audience, or for their audience to find them.
There’s something very reassuring about that thought, to me.