Keeping It Peel: Teenage Kicker Conspiracy

by Tony Walsh | Longfella

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Now published in my debut full collection 'SEX & LOVE & ROCK&ROLL' available to buy with free P&P at: longfella.co.uk/sexandloveandrockandroll.html

A tribute poem to the late, great and hugely influential DJ John Peel. I wrote this (on site, under pressure!) when I was website Poet In Residence for Glastonbury Festival 2011 and first performed it live on BBC6Music during an interview with Cerys Matthews. I later performed it on the Jo Whiley show on BBC Radio 2 and Jo also played it on John Peel Day and segued straight from the poem's climactic nod to the Undertones' Teenage Kicks to that iconic tune - John Peel's favourite song and the basis for the inscription on his headstone. Such an honour! The poem's title "Teenage Kicker Conspiracy" is of, course, a reference to both the Undertones and The Mighty Fall as John famously referred to his other favourite band.

My idea for the poem was that I'd heard John eulogised for his support to a myriad of music scenes, but never for his massive support to poetry, particularly performance poetry. I grew up listening to Peel and it was there that I first heard poets like John Cooper Clarke, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Ivor Cutler, John Hegley, Attila the Stockbroker and Joolz plus dozens of lyricists who were a massive influence on my writing and indeed my life. And so to quote the end of the poem:

"...You see, music is grateful and they've had chance to show it
But I'd like to say thanks on behalf of the poets

And you told us of Walters, The Kop and your wife
While every night this dj was saving my life
And you’re missed on the wireless and Glastonbury telly
And it’s just not the same without Peel in his wellies
So I just wanna tell you, wanna tell you tonight
And say thanks for the kicks, John, mate, right through the night
Well alright!"

My full interview on BBC6Music and the live rendition of the poem can still be heard on the BBC Best of Glastonbury website at www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00ht7c0 Hilariously, on John Peel Day it was showing in the Top 5 most played with Beyonce, Coldplay, Me, U2 and Elbow! I'd like to think that John would have had a little chuckle at that. on.fb.me/SEtLyM

Cheers, John. RIP, sir. And THANK YOU!

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released June 29, 2011
Wriiten and performed by Tony Walsh | Longfella www.longfella.co.uk

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Tony Walsh | Longfella Manchester, UK

Tony Walsh, aka Longfella is "one of the UK's most renowned performance poets." In 2011 he was website poet in residence at Glastonbury Festival from where his work was featured on BBC1, BBCRadio2, BBC6Music and in Q magazine.


Tony's acclaimed debut collection, SEX & LOVE & ROCK&ROLL is available now from: longfella.co.uk/sexandloveandrockandroll.html

"Fired and inspiring" John Hegley
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