Show is a composite of spoken recordings and interviews made on the way to, and having arrived at Groningen, interspersed with records. Live recordings come from Bays and Aereogramme, the latter being Peel's "chosen representatives" at Eurosonic.
This show was repeated 16 May 2002, when the regular show from Peel Acres was cancelled due to connection problems.
JP: "That was the wonderful Melys and 'Chinese Whispers' as I'm sure you realise. Number one in last year's Festive Fifty. A big favourite therefore with both you and me. And Melys came with us to Groningen last year when we went to the Eurosonic and Noorderslag festivals. And we're just about to set off on our third trip to Eurosonic and Noorderslag. Basically what they are - Eurosonic is a kind of Euro-wide festival, embraces bands from as far away as Uzbekistan and Wales and Scotland actually as it happens. Noorderslag is just for Dutch bands and Groningen in case you don't know is kind of in the north west of Holland. But what makes it interesting is the fact that it's some distance from any other town. So it's entirely self-contained. It's a really attractive little town and it's a good place to be and there are times when I feel like retiring to Groningen, actually. So as we set off, this is track from Seedling, who we heard last year at the Noorderslag event and this is their side of a split single that they made for Transformed Dreams Records with Melys. And I just hope that we find something that we like as much as Seedling at this year's event in Groningen Eurosonic and Noorderslag. Off we go!"
Seedling: Cool Baby, My Hips Go Woo (split 7" with Melys) Transformed Dreams
JP: "I'm talking to you quietly because we're on board the ferry from Harwich to the Hook of Holland and the last thing I want is some eight year old drawing attention to us by shouting, 'Mummy, isn't that prominent broadcaster Bob Harris over there, talking into a microphone?' We, on this occasion, is myself, Sheila, Louise the producer and Dave the programme assistant. When we get to the Hook of Holland we're then going to drive furiously to Groningen. We're going to meet up with Aereogramme when we get there and they're at the start of a European tour, a small European tour, but a European tour nevertheless and they are our chosen representatives this year. In previous years we've taken Hefner and Melys and have enjoyed our experiences with these bands and they haven't done too badly out of it themselves. So we're looking forward to a couple of excellent days in one of Europe's most enjoyable cities. Or is it a town? Either way, it's enjoyable."
JP: "Right, we're off the ferry, we're trying to find our way to the motorway that will take us towards Amsterdam and ultimately obviously towards Groningen. Unfortunately our navigator fell asleep and we missed the turn for the main road to Amsterdam, or Omsterdom as it's known in these parts. We've rediscovered the right road but at a bit of a cost, cos I'm now in a bad mood. And so in order to cheer myself up we'll put on a track by Kanda Bongo Man who by an extraordinary coincidence is doing a session for the programme pretty darn soon I think."
JP: "We're now on the... north west Amsterdam ring road. Night is falling, there's a bit of a mist, roads are very, very congested and our navigator is asleep again. She's going to be punished although she doesn't know this when we get to our hotel. She's going to have to spend the night upright in a cupboard. We're making good progress at the moment, which leads me to believe that we're in the wrong lane and indeed, that is exactly where we are. So I might rather ruthlessly cut across in front of erm, plough into the back of this Peugeot. We want to go to Leeuwarden... I'm not the complete fool you take me for you know."
JP: "Well now that we're on the right road and pointed in roughly the right direction I'm feeling a little perkier, although we're still in very heavy traffic indeed. So perky indeed, that I think we ought to have a track by Bewitched."
Bewitched: Worship The Fire (unknown) Osmose Productions
JP: "Well we're now within about ninety miles of Groningen and going across the causeway. To our right we have a lagoon, or a lake, some kind of effectively man-made area. And to the left we have, on the other side of a large grass bank, the North Sea. And as we were speeding along this causeway, which we do for twenty, twenty-five miles or so, we were thinking, do you know, what we really need now is reggae."
JP: "Well you know how it is when you read in the papers about pensioners who've driven twenty-six miles down the wrong side of a motorway into oncoming traffic, and you wonder, 'how can they do that?' Well I just did the Dutch equivalent. But we survived that and we've reached Groningen and we're now in the hotel bar - the luxuriously appointed hotel bar, I think it's fair to say. And obviously looking very much forward to tomorrow's events which are the Eurosonic events, and then to the following day's events which are the Noorderslag bits of business. We're going to hear as many bands as we possibly can, meet one or two old chums. Tomorrow we're going to go and listen to the keynote address by Steve Albini and generally have as good a time as we can and come back with as much good music and as much information for our Radio One listeners."
JP: "Whilst we're relaxing in the calm and peace and tranquillity of the hotel in Groningen, some noisy blighter's keeping you awake with stuff like this:"
Melt Banana: Crack Up To Planet Q (unknown) Pandemonium Records
JP: "And now the real reason that we're actually in Groningen, cos we're standing across the street from the shop where I bought that first White Stripes LP all those years ago. It's called - well it looks like Platenworm, but I'm sure it's not pronounced like that at all. But it's a place that looms fairly large in the mythology of this programme. Down the road slightly there's a coffee shop and immediately behind us there's a coffee shop. Obviously as BBC journalists and responsible members of the community, we'll not be going into any of those, but while I'm record shopping the rest of the party are going to seek out the ventilation ducts for the various cafes and stand in front of them for an hour or two."
JP: "We've just come back from Platenworm and I'm sitting in my hotel room with the rest of the team. As always really, what I've done is a lot of impulse buying and the chances are that some of these things will be truly terrible, but nevertheless there's bound to be some good things in here."
JP: "I do buy, I have to say, and I know it's incredibly superficial of me, but I do buy records that I think look great, without actually finding out first what they sound like. Sheila is sitting behind me as I say these things so I'm taking my life in my hands by saying them, but she knows that that does happen... I had to ask the bloke in the shop if he could tell me what this band was called, because of my inability to read the exaggerated gothic script. It's by a band called Emperor... This sleeve is actually quite beautiful I think, in a strange way. Like an illustration to some Victorian children's book. Rather well done."
JP: "We've been watching AC Acoustics and hitherto I've been a great supporter of the euro, but I don't think we should become involved with the euro until we've achieved parity with the Dutch in height because they're an offensively tall race of people and for people like ourselves - not particularly tall - we can't frankly see a damn thing. But we heard AC Acoustics and they sounded pretty good from where we were."
Chat with members of Aereogramme. The band tell John that the venue (the Grand Theatre) has a huge mirrorball above the stage, prompting this anecdote:
JP: "I got hit by a mirrorball at Southampton University. Some bloke trying to be amusing jumped up on stage and knocked it over. It hurt, I have to say. But I gamely carried on with a badly cut forehead and finished my DJ set. What a hero."
JP: "It's just after one o'clock in the morning and we're walking through the streets of old Groningen. There's a lot of people out here, actually. It's a bit like Stowmarket I suppose, on a Friday or Saturday night. Sense of excitement, anticipation in the air. A lot of people strolling around. And probably a lot of the people who are walking with us on their way to see Aereogramme, our band as we think of them. And that is obviously where we are going as well, after a full and exciting night of music and general social behaviour. And a quick stroll through the red light district, or along the red light street actually would probably be more accurate, purely as a spectator, I hasten to add. We've had a good day so far, a good weekend and looking very much forward to hearing Aereogramme. I can't go on rambling on for very much longer. Can I shut up now please, Louise?" (laughs)
JP: "This report comes to you about thirty seconds after the previous one. We're now inside the venue to see Aereogramme and we very nearly didn't get in because we turned up at the door and a charming woman slammed the door in my face and said whatever the Dutch for, 'full, fat boy' is. But I said, 'well, this is our band. We really would like to be able to come in to see them'. So she relented and let us in. But we almost missed the cut."
JP: "Well we're now walking along towards the art gallery in Groningen and it's a cold and misty afternoon. The record you just heard is one that we heard last night in a kind of techno bar that we went into where AC Acoustics were having a drink, but it was so loud in there that we couldn't really have much of a conversation with them. We certainly wouldn't have been able to record one, but we were also in there of course with Aereogramme and we really couldn't record much of a conversation with them either because of the noise. But some of the noise was rather pleasurable actually. We made a list of some of the records that we heard in there will try and obtain some of the others to play in the programme. So we adjourned back to our hotel and sat up until about 4:30, 4:45 in the morning talking to Aereogramme of this and that. And got up again around lunchtime and are now on our way to the city art gallery to see what goes on there."
Chat with Si Begg (aka S.I. Futures), who played last night.
JP: "We're back in our hotel. An exciting moment in my life: we've had drinks with Steve Albini who's been a hero of mine for many, many years but a man of whom I was slightly frightened because he had a fairly fearsome reputation. Turns out to be a most amiable and very focussed kind of bloke actually, with a lot of interesting ideas which I may pass on to you in the next few months. We also met Bong-Ra, who's based in Utrecht and who'd sent us a demo. And I'd phoned him up and promised I'd phone him back but in the well-intentioned way that I have, had failed to do so. And so we made contact with him and he's going to send us some more demos and very possibly we'll be asking him to do a session for us. In the meantime, to whet your appetite for that, should it happen, here is one of Bong-Ra's tunes."
JP: "We're now experiencing the mayhem that is Noorderslag. It's difficult to describe it in terms that would be understood at home, but it's as though you went to a large conference centre somewhere in the Midlands and there were like twelve, thirteen, fourteen different stages and at any one time, eight or nine different bands playing. And so there's a lot of people rushing around as though they were fearful that they were missing something, there's a kind of slight air of desperation I think about it, rather like a train station when people are running late for trains."
JP: "Well we've seen and heard one or two guitar bands. Efficient, by and large, and not unpleasant by any means, but our friend Marcel from Transformed Dreams has suggested we go and see De Kift, which means 'the rage' in the sense of 'the frustration', 'the anger'. He tells us that there is something about them that is quintessentially Dutch, and after all that is one of the things that we're looking for. He says that we will see things and hear things which we would not hear in any other band from anywhere else on the planet. So will be interesting to see what this is exactly."
JP: "We've seen as much as we can see really, heard as much as we can hear. Our friend Marcel tells us that there's no further band playing that we might enjoy, no further music to be enjoyed. There's been no Solex as in previous years and there's been no Seedling as last year. Really nothing that's taken our fancy in a big way, but nevertheless yesterday's Eurosonic provided us with a wealth of good music. We've got an extraordinary number of CDs and demos to listen to and hopefully perhaps something will, something amazing will come out of that. But as it is now, it's late at night, we're tired, drink has been taken and we've got to get up early in the morning and start the drive home. So we're going to head into the night back to our hotel."
JP: "That was rated Swiss outfit Clone, who played at Eurosonic in Groningen over the weekend. Unfortunately we missed them, but we were elsewhere of course. We're on our way back to Harwich now. Our thanks to Aereogramme for playing for us in Groningen. They were really good and I hope the rest of their tour is a great triumph. In tomorrow night's programme it's Dreadzone live from Maida Vale and in my bag there are over sixty records which we acquired by various means over the past couple of days and some of the best of these will be in Thursday night's programme. You can find information about the tracks that we played in the course of this programme by checking the website which is www.bbc.co.uk/radio1. We're going to leave you now with one of the best tracks that we heard live in Groningen."
Some kind of fairground-style mechanical pipe organ tune.
As this show chiefly consists of pre-recorded comments and chat with records slotted in, Peel for the most part does not give the details of the records or labels from which the songs originate.
The individual Aereogramme tracks were added initially by Thesummerproject when this page was created. However, the given opener ('The Question Is Complete') was not actually played.