Saturday, August 7, 2010

John Peel in Dallas


 

Fillerzine | August 26, 2009

John Peel, recorded June 23,1996:

"I went over there the beginning-to-middle of 1960. The first radio programs I did were on a station called WRR in Dallas and they had a rhythm & blues program called Kats Karavan, spelled inevitably with two K's. I'd gotten some British LPs of blues and rhythm & blues stuff that were only available in Britain, or in Europe anyway, so I went along and played them some of those records and they put me on the radio to talk about them. I thought they'd probably put me on there because of my extraordinary knowledge of the music, but I think in fact they probably put me on there because they found my accent very entertaining because in those days I used to talk a bit like Prince Charles." ...

"This was not the day that Lee Harvey Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby; it was a few days before that. It was when he was kind-of presented to the press as the man who'd been arrested and charged. And, I mean, it was just one of those things that -- Earlier on when the assassination first happened, and I'd been - I used to work here for an insurance company on Central Expressway, so I was able to get into town pretty quickly. I was an office boy, so I could come and go as I pleased, and so when I heard about the assassination, it was announced on the P.A. in the office, and I just drove into town and went to the police cordon and told the policeman, I said, "I'm from The Liverpool Echo" and instead of telling me to piss-off, he let me through. It's one of those things which sounds so bizarre. And I walked down - I didn't go to the grassy knoll - I just stood on the other side of the road and kind of watched what was going on until frankly it became boring. It's hard to imagine that it did, but after I stood there about 40 minutes and watching people scurrying about, so I then went and made what I'd said kind-of retrospectively true and phoned The Liverpool Echo, and funnily they weren't terribly interested. I thought, Cripes, here's my chance because I've always wanted to be in journalism, so I thought, hey, this is my chance to get into journalism. I could be The Liverpool Echo's "Man in Dallas", but they really didn't care. So I was a bit wounded by that, but then that night a mate of mine and I had been driving around and were trying to figure out what to do, and at the end of the evening I said, why don't we go down to the police headquarters and see what's going on. And we got down there, and I said to this policeman, I said "what's happening?" And he said, "Well, actually there's a press conference down here," pointing to a flight of steps into the basement of the building - "there's a press conference in here in a few minutes." And I said, "Well, actually I'm from The Liverpool Echo and this is my photographer," and we went down there. I mean, we didn't have a pen or paper or camera between us, but we went in there anyway. It's a story that I've told so often that you get to the point where you don't really believe it yourself, it just seems so unlikely. But then in one of the bits of film of that press conference, we were all standing in this room and they had the identification parade in the basement of this building and they said - Henry Wade said - that this is the man that's been charged in the assassination of President Kennedy, and they brought in Lee Harvey Oswald. And he stood there looking slightly puzzled and alarmed for a while, and then was taken away again. In one of the films of this, which they showed on British television, they showed that Jack Ruby was in the room as well - which I didn't know he was until I saw this film they sort-of panned across the room and in the last few frames you can see me and my friend Bob standing there looking like tourists." ...

"None at all, no. I wish, I don't know, y'know, I think, I mean, everybody else does, but I think we'll probably never know the truth."

John Peel, interview recorded June 23, 1996. Published Sept. 1996 (Filler #5). Soundtrack music "Comment Naissent des Meduses" from "Science is Fiction," written & performed by Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan, James McNew (Yo La Tengo).

For full interview transcript, visit: http://tinyurl.com/n82mc4

 

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