Mon 5 Mar
words: MAB JONES
John Peel’s Shed isn’t really about John Peel’s Shed. But the fact of it is that the idol’s garden abode is indirectly responsible for what is, now, a wonderful evening’s entertainment.
Winning a box of records from the afromentioned building led John Osborne, a poet who would modestly describe himself as someone who simply enjoys “listening to loud music, reading, and writing”, to pen a best-selling book, which then became a popular BBC Radio 4 series, which then became this acclaimed stage show. The event, needless to say, is packed with people, from all walks of life: Peel fans, fellow ‘radio heads’, a few of us performance poets, people who, like the younger Osborne, perhaps find themselves working in dull office jobs and seeking solace and satisfaction in the wonderful worlds discovered between the dials.
With clear enthusiam and an endearing lack of pretension, Osborne weaves personal anecdote, the stories behind the records, band facts, snippets of music, and recollections from favourite stations to create a show that is disarmingly intimate, sweetly nostalgic, and entirely engaging. The warm glow from the lamp onstage is not half as bright as Osborne’s obvious love of, well, “loud music, reading, and writing”. Afterwards, we were generously invited to examine the records themselves, and Osborne’s competition-winning slogan, about Peel himself – “Records you want to hear, played by a man who wants you to hear them” – came springing to mind. A man after John Peel’s heart, this is. Highly recommended.