Football and Music

If they do go through with the threat and do kill 6 Music, as Yoda would say: “There is another…”

The other is Dandelion Radio, an online radio station which was inspired by John Peel.

The idea for the station (named after the record label that Peel ran) started around 2003. After some discussion on a web group and eventual meetings, a plan was put in place to create an online radio where the music played is in the spirit of the legendary man. They didn’t want a set playlist, they wanted to keep it Peel and they do this by finding and playing new music. The station went live in 2006 and just like 6 Music and others you can tune in any time of the day or night to listen to their broadcasts.

One of the DJ’s on the station is Mark Whitby and all through this month on his show there will be an extended segment dedicated to football and music:

‘You can’t beat a good football song…There aren’t many of ‘em though’. So said the great John Peel on playing ‘Strachan’ by The Hitchers back in 1997. It was chiefly this moment that made me play the track in my monthly Peel Back & Sniff feature in my June Dandelion Radio show, which I’ve rather crudely labelled a World Cup ‘special’.

Challenged to include an hour or more’s worth of football-themed music for the show, I’ve obliged and, in doing so, had ample time to contemplate why, relatively speaking, the two chief obsessions in my life are so often such an ill-fitting match and yet, when it does work, the results are pretty fantastic.
Dandelion Radio
Maybe that’s something inherent in the nature of football itself, which can be more glorious than anything else in life, yet so often the experience is one of mundane anticipation. The best football music works in this area of strange and uncanny realism. Anything over-celebratory (which is what most football songs are or aspire to be) is crap. When it works, it articulates something about the game’s melancholy, its difficult truths, its perversities.

In the last eighty minutes of the three hour show, I yield to this unsettling realm of twisted human spirit. Attila The Stockbroker reflects on the one moment Brighton & Hove Albion’s apparent glory, cruelly snatched away by Gary Bailey’s legs, in ‘And Smith Must Score’. Barcelona celebrate Kasey Kellar under a barrage of 30 Brazilian shots on goal. Dandelion favourite Pete Green meditates on the brief honeymoon of the on-loan journeyman footballer in ‘The Ballad of Phil Jevons’. Brazilians Marijohn & the Jacks glorify, not Pele or Zico, but Fio Maravilha, who once refused to score an open goal because it was too easy.

We find, also, those elements of football’s dark underbelly that the post-90 World Cup post-Gascoigne’s tears tourists, still high on Nick Hornby and World In Motion, deny and decry. But the vicious recriminations of The Vichy Government’s ‘Poor Little Chelsea Fan’ and the urban destruction that follows a missed penalty in Paul Elstak’s ‘You’re A Hardcore Hooligan’ are, whatever people like to believe, as much a part of the beautiful game as Sultans Of Ping FC’s ‘Give Him A Ball (And A Yard Of Grass)’. As my late Old Trafford colleague Tony Wilson noted, that towering bank of blood-hungry vandals that made up the bulk of the Stretford End in the seventies, was as much a source of the modern mass appeal of Manchester United as Busby, Best or Law.

Such dichotomies aren’t just part of the game’s appeal; they ARE its appeal. So somehow I, without a nationalist bone in my body, can still get off on The Pocket Gods’ appropriation of Land Of Hope & Glory; it’s a world where Switzerland’s Vanilla Muffins can make a song about Spanish supporters of Fulham FC; where the vindictive ‘Chaucher enforcer’ holds sway over school football field creativity in Zen Baseballbat’s ‘I Am The Champion Concrete Mixer.’

You can hear my show streaming every day at different times throughout June at The schedule on the website will show you exactly when it’s on. I’ve also got an exclusive session from Nickname: Rebel and a whole load of other non-football themed stuff as well.

And to get more of yer World Cup fill, you’ll live to regret not visiting Football and Music and Fantasy Cheaters League sooner rather than later.

Elsewhere on Dandelion Radio this month you can hear the third part of the wonderful Errors gig Andy Morrison’s been playing. Greg Healey has sessions include Farmer Joe & The Ignorant Corpses, Wire Mother and Autorotation, while Rachael Neimann’s got poet Rebecca Willmott along to pick some favourite records. And Mark Cunliffe’s got the new Lianne Hall album as his featured album – not to be missed.

Some music from a couple of bands mentioned above…

» Marijohn & The Jacks – Fio Maravilha

» Barcelona – Kasey Keller

» The Pocket Gods – Come On England (No Nookie or Playstation)

According to the Dandelion Radio schedule, the next broadcast of his show will be at 21:00 BST on Saturday, then 18:00 BST on Sunday.

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