Thursday, November 30, 2006

'Margrave of the Marshes' by John Peel and Sheila Ravenscroft

30 November 2006

John Peel had only completed the first part of his autobiography before he died suddenly in Peru in October 2004. ‘Margrave of the Marshes’ was completed by his wife, Sheila, and is very much ‘a game of two halves’. After reading the introduction by their four children I was worried I was going to find the whole experience too sad and tearful but once you get into the book it is fascinating, entertaining and very funny. You can really hear Peel’s distinctive voice in his writing and his rambling style and constant digressions mean that, although his part of the narrative finishes in 1964 (as he heads towards a Mexican brothel!), he manages to include many more recent anecdotes. It is actually quite refreshing and revealing to then get Sheila’s perspective – embellished with quotes from John’s diary. There are some great ‘Zelig’ moments – with John standing in the background at various historic events. There are also some very familiar old friends – like the story of the Bay City Rollers on an island in a lake in Mallory Park. This is the story of popular music through the second half of the twentieth century. This is the story of the development of music broadcasting. This is the story of the trials and tribulations of Liverpool Football Club. This is the story of a slightly portly, bearded, balding gentleman in a comfortable pullover. But above all this is the story of an enduring, loving marriage.



Post a Comment

<< Home