Extract from the autobiography Margrave Of The Marshes by John Peel with members of his family…
“Disposing of the demos is just about the most depressing aspect of what we’ll laughingly call ‘my work.’ They come, in the main, to the BBC address and from all over the world. There was one from Peru in ysterday’s mail here at home. A few weeks ago, in the spirit of research, I counted how many demos had come in that day. There were 158. Now, assuming each one to be 15 minutes long, that’s 100 hours of listening out of a week containing 168 hours. Deducting from that the number of hours spent sleeping or trying to get to sleep (56), that leaves 12 hours a week for easting, drinking, going to the lavvy, watching TV, listening to records, typing running-orders, looking in wonder at our grandson Archie, and dancing naked in the copse next to our house. Common sense would tell you this means that not every demo gets heard.
Last night I was moodily carrying boxes of CDs – most heard, some unheard, all at least a year old – to the skip in the driveway. Amongst these are letters from and photographs of the bands. These letters make you want to listen to their music again, hoping against hope that you’d missed something the first time, that you’d be able to phone right away and ask them whether the band was still together and whether they’d mind if you played a track on the radio. Sometimes I get to do this, but not often. So, I’m sorry, Mip, Autolump, Amber Views, What’s That?, 84 Days, Bitten By A Monkey, Wake-Up Call, Pocket Gods and thousands of others. I hope – I really do hope that one of these days you’ll be able to visit me in the Stowmarket Home for the Bewildered and shout ‘Listen, you old twat. You were wrong about us.’
Finally, as a service to aspiring musicians, Louise Kattenhorn, currently my Radio 1 producer, and I are working on a list of things not to write in any press release you might be planning to include with your demos. For now, consider these: avoid the word ‘jazz’, don’t claim a lifelong admiration for the New York Dolls, the MC5 or the Stooges (this will mean you are almost certainly either Swedish or German, wear leathers and are in your late thirties) and, if possible, don’t have a saxophone player in your band. That should be enough to get you thinking, I imagine…”