John Peel Sweet Eating Game The Game On Air

The 25th July 2000 was rather a weird night for us here at Planet Bods Towers. As ever we had tuned into the Peel programme on Radio One. We're not normally ones to blow our own proverbial trumpet, but it was such a a weird night that the tale has to be told...

Listen to audio clip

John invites listeners to send in good websites for bored producer Anita to look at.

It all started with Anita the producer being bored and wanting to view some good web sites. John very kindly put out the request to the public, asking her if she'd looked at one that took the piss out of him recently, whilst also mentioning another, very serious, site which didn't take the piss at all... John tells us it probably should do...

It's at this point that I get worried. Has JP ever seen these pages? Does he think we're taking the pee out of him if he has? Paranoia creeps over the flat - like a paranoid thing that happens to be really paranoid. Or somet...

Listen to audio clip

Pipe, slippers and New Zealand. All in one link - who could ask for more?

A link (or possibly two later) and John is reading about himself on a website, which includes lines about pipes and slippers. Amazingly while John can find this site, my best efforts to track it down have failed! Boo! John moves on to talk about a rather funky folk tune from New Zealand.

Listen to audio clip

Argh! No! They've found these pages! Don't panic! Don't panic!

What seems like it's going to be a harmless link with a musical connection suddenly ends up with Anita running into the studio with a copy of the game. The paranoia that has been shuffling back into its hiding place (i.e. behind the sofa in the main room) suddenly rushes out again. What does John really think of it? Is he mortally offended? Is he about to send the hit men round? Does the rather abrupt way that he moves back to talking about music mean anything? Am I reading far far far too much into this? And just how on Earth did they find the thing anyway? ARGH! Panic overload!

Yes I really am that paranoid. I wanted to run away and hide somewhere very far away. Why? Well I've never had anything to do with my web pages read out on the radio - hey I've never even managed to get a record played on the Peel programme. Mind you, saying that I don't think I've ever tried...

I'm no stranger to radio - I did student radio, and have had numerous bits and bats read out on Mark and Lard. There was even that rather embarrassing time when Mark and Lard were still on the Graveyard Shift, and there was a Dads Army competition where you had to write in answering the question of which three out of ten catchphrases, weren't from Dads Army. I wrote in with the answers, proclaiming that any half-witted, semi-deranged moron could get it (hoping there would be a "Hiya Mark!" from Lard at this point - no luck! They were on holiday when the results were announced...), to which, Competition Meister Mark Kermode proclaimed that this was true and on the basis of my entry proceeded to give the prizes to the three half witted, semi-deranged morons who actually got the answers wrong...

But that was very different. For starters, I'd initiated all those. This one didn't come from me at all, hence causing a real shock to the system...

Listen to audio clip

Argh! He's mentioned my name!

The answers to the question as to what Mr Peel seems to think of it all, appears in the next link, where he completely fails to play a track by the Fall - confounding all those playing at home, who have would have earned a sweet if it had happened...

The paranoia creeps off again, although I was still a gibbering wreck at this point. And who can blame anyone in that situation? Not me.

Listen to audio clip

John Peel doesn't know what a tilde is. Do you?

Rude words a plenty in the next link, along with John and the team managing to know that the wavy symbol in our web address is in fact a tilde. Well who can blame them? It took me about a year to find out what the blasted thing is called... Determined to put my foot down and stop acting like a gibbering wreck, I stop in my feeble attempts to write web pages, and load up Windows to send an explanatory email.

Listen to audio clip

All is revealed - one web address read out very well.

I'm thwarted and before I can crank my computer up to tell John what he wants is a tilde, and the record has ended and up-teen million people have emailed to tell John what it was, without my help. I write a two line email none the less, which probably made me sound like a crazed madman... Oh well, never mind... John however reads out the rather cumbersome web address. And that thankfully was that. John decided to start talking about the music again, to huge sighs of relief in this flat, I can tell you!

The Booze Game

One plucky sole emailed John to say they were playing it with alcohol - something which John said he didn't recommend. Nor do I. I did think about making this a drinking game but decided that rotting teeth where probably better than stomach pumps down the local hospital.

Thomas Berriman however was the captain of the team that played with booze, telling us:

"We were originally going to play it with sweets, but a friend's friend had just come back from Jamaica with a lot of rum, and one of my friends had come back from Czechoslovakia with some 70% absinthe. As such, well, go figure.

"Truly terrific game, although by the time I'd got people together for the game, he'd read out the address, and everyone was playing it, and he was obviously dropping them in on purpose."

Given the abundance of serious liquor on that one, I guess there were just a few headaches the following morning! Rather them than me...

The Aftermath

These things never end really. The game's unlikely to have been on air for some time (the last mention we heard about was 15 November 2000!) but people are still playing it - we get the emails telling us so.

One thing has to be said - a drinking game probably wouldn't have managed to get a plug on the Peel pages of the Radio One website!

'From the BBC Radio One website : our attention was recently drawn this site, put together by listeners to the show - it's The John Peel Sweet Eating Game and it's at, why not play along at home?'

Yes that is a bone-fide bit from BBC Online - we have the full page screen grabs to prove it!

However, that tilde is a bit cumbersome. We went shopping shortly after and invested in No more wondering what that squiggle is!
The Tale's End

So that is the end of the tale - for now anyway. The John Peel Sweet Eating Game has had its five minutes of fame. And thankfully people like it. Including John Peel. Well who could ask for more than that? People are still playing, for some unknown reason. Perhaps they will continue to play as long as John is on air... Certainly it's coming up in plenty of search engines still, so as a new generation find John Peel, so maybe too will a new generation of listeners find this game.

And credit where credit is due. John Peel - we couldn't have done it without you!

Background Information

This page was written in the year 2000 and has remained "as-is" since publication. Well with the exception of correcting one or two typos.

Many Thanks

MP3s of the event were kindly provided by Jonathan Tranter. Audio clips and the screen grab of part of BBC Online's Radio One pages are 2000 BBC, and are provided here purely for information purposes. Audio clips are taken from the John Peel show, broadcast on BBC Radio One on Tuesday July 25, 2000 and being on the old side, aren't the best quality. Unfortunately I don't have an original, high quality copy of the programme.

The screen grab of the BBC Online Radio One pages was taken Friday July 27, 2000.

Photo Credit

John Peel photo by Mark Francis, and released under a Creative Commons licence.


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