You can blame John Peel.He often mumbled and this made it difficult to get hold of the records he played. You just try ordering a yodelling death metal band whose name might start with a 'T' or a 'B'. We began by phoning Radio One, asking important questions like "what's the name of that band Peel played on Saturday after he did the one at the wrong speed?" The nice old dear on the switchboard soon got fed up with this routine and just us put us through to Peel.
We asked for a copy of his tracklistings. He asked us to come up for a chat. We did that. Peel took us out for a pint and a snack and agreed to supply us with his tracklistings. So, we started a four page mag called 'Peel Papers'. Published monthly, it had the Peel tracklists and a few reviews.
Within six months we were using the Job Club at Dingwall Road, Croydon to produce a sixteen page fanzine. We pretended that we were photocopying cvs and posting job applications out. Peel Papers relocated to a back garden shed when we got too cocky and a record label, trying to buy ad space, got all shouty and confused when the Job Club switchboard insisted that they knew nothing about copy deadlines or the price of spot colour.
Then Peel died and we thought we'd pack it in, but a vaguely famous person pointed out that interesting music didn't die with a man who played a lot of it. We thought "she's quite famous and obviously very perceptive". We also liked all the free albums and getting into gigs for free.
So we became Unpeeled and carried on. Carried on welcoming all kinds of music and writing all sorts of things about it. We don't embrace fashion, can barely spell 'trend' and still cling to the notion that an Opinion-Former is something that's never used, but looks cool in a modern kitchen.
The writing is done by an ever changing gaggle of people who prefer to hide from unemployment, imminent exams or reality by listening to artists they've never heard of. They're all told to write whatever they like. It seems to work. Contributors have gone on to work for the BBC, edit the NME, become a performance poet, become a comedy writer and even go on to write for 'proper' magazines.
Or, how to love music and stay cross...