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The Olivetti Chronicles Paperback – 21 May 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Review

"As warm and funny as the man himself." (Choice Magazine)

"Fit to burst with colourful commentary... he crams in references to music that will have you in hysterics over his sumptuously structured prose." (Martha De Lacey, London Lite)

"What makes the Olivetti Chronicles stand out is that it contains his voice rather than anyone else's... It helps (and is entertaining) to imagine Peel speaking these pieces, and then they become very fine indeed." (Metro)

"This entertaining book is essential reading for Peel fans." (Zavvi music book reviews)

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The selected wit and wisdom of a national treasure

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I loved the last John Peel book, Margrave of the Marshes, and was horribly sad to think there could never be another one. Well, happily, I was wrong. Here is another one. A whole volume of Mr Peel's finest writings from over the years on all sorts of brilliant, bizarre and very Peelie subjects. A complete and utter joy from start to finish. You need this in your life!
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By A. I. McCulloch TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 29 Dec. 2008
Format: Hardcover
One of the joys of listening to both John Peel's Music (as I did in the 70s and 80s on BFBS) and Home Truths was that you were never sure what was coming next. In listing the articles alphabetically, rather than chronologically, John's family have captured that experience in print. The vagaries of titling lead one from Disc to Sounds to The Guardian, The Independent and The Radio Times, hopping in time from the early 70s to pieces written shortly before John's death. These then, are non-chronological chronicles. Very Peelian.

John's writing style matured with him; some of the early pieces are very much of their time, with bizarre phrases thrown in at random. John never missed the chance to talk football, specifically Liverpool, so many pieces lead one unexpectedly in that direction. There is a good index, which will no doubt prove useful as one tries to track down an amusing comment to read again.

Margrave of the Marshes, John's biography, was and is a wonderful book, all the more remarkable for being only partially written by John. This is pure John. I couldn't help wondering if there would be more to come. Not too many of John's Radio Times columns were featured, and I can remember that they were the reason I chose the RT over 'the other listings magazines that are available'. Many weeks I wiped away tears at John's musings. Could the family - or the BBC - have something else yet to come for us?
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By Doccox TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Aug. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Olivetti Chronicles
So named after the defunct , superannuated typewriter on which the late ,lamented John Peel – DJ Extraordinaire – wrote his articles on contemporary music , his visitations to music festivals and gigs and other sundry items ( ofetn of a personal nature and particularly relating to Liverpool football club).
This is a collection of such writings , lovingly assembled by his wife (aka Pig) and the family. They are ordered alphabetically rather than chronologically and sadly ( or sensibly) omit John’s early 60’s scribbling for the flower power journals
Whereas his autobiography ( Margrave of the Marshes) – initially from his memories up until his death in 2004 in Peru ( then completed by his family) – covers the structure of his life , this book collects together his scribbling and thoughts published in short articles – a worthy supplement giving insights into the strengths , weaknesses and prejudices of a simple man who did great things by ignoring the conventional “hyping” of established bands and artists , giving new bands their chance at fame and introducing the rest of us peasants to new possibilities in music.
Well worth a read ( illuminating and often very amusing) and a worthy supplement to “ Margrave of the Marshes”
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Format: Hardcover
I read the article entitled Ipswich, from this collection the other day, on the basis that i was born and brought up there. It details a Peel DJ gig in the town....in which nobody turns up. He is back home and having his dinner by 9.30 having turned the wheels of steel to no-one at all. This just about sums up my disdain for my home town in terms of cultural pursuits and its inability to embrace anything at all beyond Jim Davidson and Frankie & Benny style chain diners. Its a black hole for entertainment and enjoyment. So its funny that Peel should have lived so close to it. Whats the rest of the book like? What do you think? Its Peel. He's the don. Stick it on your chuffing christmas list.
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By Eugene Onegin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
If you read this book which I strongly recommend that you do, you will discover why John Peel was so widely loved and respected and why his death was such a loss for so many. It is not because this volume will introduce you to a great writer because on a technical level, the fluency and syntax of a Peel article could be a touch ecentric to say the least, but because the words still ooze the inexhaustible enthusiasm Peel had for life and, above all, music. And what a range of music he enjoyed anything from Captain Beefheart and punk satirists Half Man, Half Biscuit through Michael Jackson and Prince to Mike Oldfield and Rachmaninov. All of these artists and many more are discussed in these pages with the wit and perception that catergorised his radio programmes. However, what came over to me reading these short articles for magazines as diverse as Radio Times and Bike is the fact that Peel believed music was one of life's pleasures and one should take it seriously enough to afford passionate advocacy to the good and have the courage to call rubbish rubbish. As he writes in one of his articles, his aim was not simply to reflect what you were listening to, but to bring music that you had not come across to your attention because he thought it deserving. There are certainly some glorious observations on show here my personal favourite being his analysis of glam Heavy Rockers AC/DC's concert as 'a crowded and extremely good-natured masturbation ritual'. Plenty of laughs then, but also more serious pieces such as 'Rock's in Trouble' or his end of year pieces in The Listener which wittily but intelligently offered a commentary on the previous 12 months music. My only regret finishing this anthology is that will be no more new thoughts from John Peel's pen. Rather than losing him so young, we need a lot more who share his catholic taste, shrewd judgement and love of something beyond the ordinary.
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