There is nothing in broadcasting history quite like the collection of Peel Sessions recorded by the late Vivian Stanshall for John Peel between 1975 and 1990. These stories of Sir Henry Rawlinson and the cast of grotesques that inhabit Rawlinson End, all rendered in Stanshall’s lavish prose with his rich fruity voice have been, like a lot of things, all but forgotten since the deaths of Stanshall in 1991 and Peel in 2004.
Lines like “A pale Sun poked impudent marmalade fingers through the grizzled lattice glass and sent the shadows scurrying, like convent girls menaced by a tramp…”
deserve to be disinterred from the dank, unloved corners of the internet and broadcast across the Aire Valley into the welcoming earholes of our avid audience of 4 people, some of whom I’m actually not related to.
And so they were, or one of them was, from 1977, on When Big Joan Sets Up this week alongside raggedly distorted Roy Orbsion covers, frenzied Dancehall about chickens and a raft of rude words.