I’ve been trying to catch up with some of my non techie reading of late. which means I’ve finally got around to read Margrave of the Marshes. This started out as John Peel’s autobiography but sadly died before he got anyway near completing it, so John’s second wife of 30+ years famously known as Pig and their four children took on the challenge of completing it.
The result is a fabulous read full fascinating and entertaining anecdotes. Although there is a definite cut between where John got to and where Sheila and the children picked up the book manages to convey a lot about John as a person rather than necessarily every little detail. Fortunately it appears that John long kept a personal diary in which he wrote some of his very personal feelings which appears to have helped provide balance in describing things from John’s perspective.
The book is only very roughly chronological. John’s writing would pick up on themes and jump around in time describing related things before eventually returning to chronological events. One of my favourite anecdotes, which maybe influenced by the fact that my wife is currently pregnant with our first child was when Sheila wrote about when the children went off to University. Many parents I’m sure send their children at university ‘care packages’ that probably contained things they feel their children need or should have. John naturally did the same thing, except the care packages contained CDs which would be labelled as what he thought the child would like, should like and should play just to annoy everyone else.
If you want a book that more describes John’s background and how he came to become the national (possibly even international institution), then you’re better off reading Mick Wall’s John Peel. But if you want to get some insight into the man’s life and passions – then this is the book for you.