I think there must be very few people in Britain under 40 who wouldn’t like to have John Peel for an uncle. I’m assuming that his actual nephews and neices might have a slightly more informed view of the matter, but for the rest of us he appears to be just about the coolest and most laid back sextaguanarian around.
I’m still enjoying Word, and its interview with the old boy just served to confirm my prejudices about him. Not least of his endearing qualities is the fact that you have to listen closely to work out that he’s actually pretty well-informed about a host of unexpected things. This, as opposed to most Radio 1 DJs, where you’d just have to listen for a very long time.
In the course of the ambling interview, Peel amiably sums up his attitude to life with the wholesome throwaway, “Do as you would be done by is all of the law”.
Nothing new there, you’d think. And you’d be right, except that he’s arriving at this well-thumbed Home Truths-style homily via the words of the self-proclaimed most evil man in the world, and Leaminton Spa’s most famous son, Aleister Crowley. It takes a particular and delightfully ironic mind to recoup “Do as thou wilt is the whole of the law” and slot it into something the Women’s Institute would find bland.
And, now that Mr Peel has been reinvented as a Radio 4 presenter on the indescribably cosy Home Truths, it makes a decent metaphor for his career, to boot.