D/B Book Review: John Peel The Olivetti Chronicles

Over the course of his career, John Peel wrote for magazines and newspapers such as the International Times, Sounds, the Observer, Radio Times and Disc.
[audio:Delia Derbyshire with Brian Hodgson – John Peels Voice.mp3|titles=John Peels Voice-Delia Derbyshire with Brian Hodgson] The Olivetti Chronicles gathers many of these articles, as well as unpublished pieces. Interspersed with Peel’s laconic thoughts on shaving and Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells are diary entries, letters, and commentary from Peel’s family. The anthology has been edited by Peel’s wife, Sheila (aka The Pig), and their 4 children.

Although this book has been out since October 2009, making it not so hot off the press anymore, if like me you were lucky enough to receive a copy for Christmas, you might also be reluctantly drawing close to the last pages. Every bit as entertaining as his radio shows were, this wonderful book is packed with hilarious and sometimes disturbing annecdotes from The Life of Peel. With such diverse topics as Sub Pop, Michael Jackson, Chicago House and Viv Stanshal, the book offers a glimpse into an extremely witty mind and is a must for any Peel fans. Theres even a chapter on Berlin Punk. Indeed I only hope there is still enough of his journalism left over to publish another volume of such hilarious tales.

Dad, a sentimental man, insisted on using his Olivetti typewriter to write the majority of the articles contained in this book, despite the fact that it was so ancient that he could rarely find ink for it. As the supply of specially ordered compatible ink ribbons ran dry, he discovered a way to messily rethread the old one and put them in backwards, reusing them until what he had written was barely visible.
William Ravenscroft from Introduction to The Olivetti Chronicles

Out now on Bantam Press.