John Peel was my second father

Posted by: Newswalle

Nearly 10 years later, Mary Anne Hobbs still can not explain why John Peel decided to give his early birthday present ever. It was a gift to celebrate his 65th: a neon sign that "Dream Dad" described in pink cursive, by a craftsman 72-year-old from Birmingham, the last job, it was agreed, very special job before retirement. For Hobbs, whose father committed suicide years earlier, after a decade of depression and alcohol abuse, the oldest radio station, an alternative, dear father had become, and she wanted him to know.

The original plan was for them to deliver the gift to Peel Acres – Suffolk house he shared with his wife Sheila and their children -. If they suddenly decided from aholiday in Peru back in October 2004, but Hobbs could not wait until the return of Peel. Just before boarding the plane, into a corner they drove him in a boardroom on Radio 1 Has the light is turned on, turn the signs and "pushed" the pitch black room. His reaction was generally underestimated. "This is good news, Mary Anne," he said softly before he asked if he could keep the extension cord.

"The decision to give the signal before it was the craziest thing because she died in Peru," said Hobbs, 50, who is a DJ on BBC Radio 6 Music. As we all know, shell back to Cusco in a coffin after he as a nation of music lovers to delete a heart attack, prompting Radio 1 plans, a day of mourning in commemoration.

Hobbs cries when she recalls the time the couple then went to a tapas bar in Russia in Great Portland Street. Peel as John Lennon said, will be used at the height of his fame, not love more than riding the tube to the end of the line. "I used to love it when the people in the car, and I thought: 'My God, does that man like John Lennon, but it can not be him!'" He says.

"We had the most remarkable conversation feel. Itself like the last supper for me. Was the last time I saw him." She tries to wipe away the tears, but in the end their expulsion eyeliner before a redundant apology. "I'm sorry. I still think it is very strange, because if I had hung on the plan, and thought, no, I have to suppress my feelings," he has never seen the light, and I 've never seen that night. "I'm very glad I had the opportunity to explain in detail with him for the last time in huge neon letters."

She is silent. "Each room was heated and brought an incredible sense of parenting in a very unconventional way. Much of it was instead sit and advice as a therapist, he would tell a funny story through stories, stories that are both catastrophic and fun.."

The two had an instant connection in the year 1997, when it Hobbs Radio 1 controller Matthew Bannister then as part of the cleansing Smashy and Nicey generation. Connecting through their shared love of the Scottish band Mogwai: one of Peel favorite stories is his Hobbs reject an exclusive interview with Michael Stipe in Glastonbury for an interview with Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai.

Such a move was ballsy as a man who refused to sell, she says. "What he represented to me than all that he stood, than anything else, it would be: do not sell what you really believe in. all the way up to his death, he worked out that way and I've always really admired has. almost exactly those who are sanctified. "

For Hobbs, the family is more than just genetics. Throughout his life, from his teenage years grew up in the small town of Garstang in Lancashire, she has always tried orsometimes alternatives to their blood relatives attached. "It's interesting how family is defined, the way we around a fence around it. Youlook But beyond these traditional boundaries often something deep and significant among the people who SETOF to share the same circumstances the same environment," she says .

John Peel sign with neon Mary Anne Hobbs dream father had made specially for the 65th birthday.

Born in 1964 in Preston to a primary school teacher and mother agronomist, Hobbs and his younger brother, father and sister had an unusual education. At that time, Garstang was still a village, before it was extended from Lancaster a city like the nearby university.

The family had a menagerie of animals, including a family of three donkeys, which could only control his mother. His sister was in horses; his brother was an artist. But Mary Anne passion was always music – a problem because his father, a tempestuous man, refused to allow the music in the house. "No one really understands why music was banned in the house," she says. "I had a lot of 78s and a gramophone with a big horn, but the records that they had had all the shots of old steam trains and sound. He would not in the house, so that all of the contemporary music CD. Obviously, they didn 't buy stop me going out to punk records and hide in my sock drawer, but always find them and crush them. I do not understand to this day why, but he did not want in the house. "

They feed on music in secret. "I had a transistor radio the size of a can of sardines. Listening in bed with the covers used on the top of my head, pull it."

John Peel Show on Radio 1, which opened his mind heard of the possibility of life beyond Lancashire. "I remember every night trying to find the man who looked like she had found to be an alternate universe. Ithought a goal," found a kind of utopia and must be there. "

Hobbs hasto fluently speak for a living, but she is visibly uncomfortable and evasive when it. Around his father "My father was a very complicated man," she says carefully, as we speak in a cafe in Manchester. "His mood could darken and can change his mind, as he entered the room. When he reached the middle of the room, the atmosphere could have changed 180 degrees., When he made a decision that was absolute. He was very, very dominant, when we were younger. Was your house and your rules, so I went 15 years-and-a-half., I thought, 'I'm old enough to earn money, so I'm going now. "

She was part way through his senior year of high school when she left home and was picked up by Ann Oldroyd, a single mother near Calder Ok, held an open house for abandoned children and street dogs in the area.

Oldroyd, Hobbs says, was not a surrogate father, but "free royal rebel, a real character, a very poetic woman, a spirit who came very close to living in a very unconventional way. Lived in a house with no wallpaper, no carpet I can speak no furniture. did not even remember how we managed to eat out every night, but we did. She had wonderful children of her own, but the house was full of young people that they felt I could help. "

He adds: "She has inspired me in the same way it has Peel It showed me that there was another way, and you did not have to, could find their own way of life a little differently or be radical … different from the way that the rest of the company Rolls ".

It is a philosophy that has stayed with Hobbs: last month birthday was celebrated her50th fly on a whim to Los Angeles, then click on your favorite club.

Oldroyd Hobbs held until 16 years old when he left school with three levels Oy got a job in a factory packaging to pay eggs in week 39 – enough to get her own apartment.

At 18, she decided to move to London and live in a bus in a parking lot with a heavy metal band called Heretic – your "family". Working for a band, he thought, would be the way to your dream job ajournalist ("do nothing so conventional as going to Preston and review of the concert and in sending").

After a year, wrote to the editor of your favorite magazine, all sounds, it says about his adventures in the parking lot and on the road with Heretic. I was enough to invite you for an interview, fascinated. There he began a successful career in music journalism, including the first UK cover story interviews with Nirvana and the Happy Mondays.

In May 1993, he was in the magazine Select works when her mother called and said that his father committed suicide.

"He was very sick," he says now, calmand together. "He was clinically depressed. Had many different types of treatment. Had some pretty … ah, actually better not to talk about it. Lets say was clinically depressed and had problems with alcohol. Tried for many, many years, all conceivable form of therapy and treatment for him, but was not successful. not. despite symptoms that are very, very dark think was, is still a big surprise when something like this happens. "

Asked if he was violent, she struggles to find words before he said. "The times were very different then" Later, the e-mails that say, "I have to come to terms with the fact that my father was very ill, and the symptoms of his disease had consequences for me as hisdaughter, but I always still love iForgive and for all. "

In the mid-90s he had segued into radio, a founding member of the alternative station XFM before they cooked by Radio 1. In 2010, she announced that she left the station to take a job at Media student at the University of Sheffield. What was seen by many as a surprising move was undoubtedly his, to stay their faith best by a tacit Peel true. The application for the job was the result of a "silent promise," she says made at the funeral of Peel.

"One of the reasons why I went to the University of Sheffield, as I have the asilent promise John to reflect at his funeral. Istood in the Cathedral how lucky I had been there, the recipient of much of his wisdom in the course of years she had spent with him on Radio 1. thought that at some point I have the opportunity to pass on their wisdom to the next generation to create. So if I quit Radio 1, I went to the University of Sheffield do with any intention. 'm really like her torch to the next generation of broadcasters, passed a little of your courage stocks to look for. "

In January, he went back to the BBC to the weekend breakfast show on 6 Music and DJs they still host Allaround the world. But not a day goes by without her thinking of her father's dream. "I still miss John every DAYOFWEEK my life," she says. "I think everyone does."

• Mary Anne Hobbs is about his love for John Peel and unconventional families in the school of life in Conway Hall in London on 22 June in conversation