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Margrave Of The Marshes

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John Peel - Autobiography

Margrave of the Marshes is the official autobiography, written by John Peel & Sheila Ravenscroft. In the US, it was published with an introduction by Jack White of the White Stripes [1]. A German edition, translated by Christoph Hahn, was published in 2006.

In April 2003, the publishers Transworld successfully wooed Peel with a package worth up to £1.6 million for his autobiography, having placed an advert in national newspapers aimed only at Peel. As advertisements in national newspapers go, this one had a very limited target audience. "Dear John," it said. "We've seen your book - it's hard to beat, 'specially now you've been down our street. Another bid in the neighbourhood? Wish you were ours - it'll be so good." Rock fans may have spotted the play on the Undertones' song Teenage Kicks, but they probably didn't realise that the publishing company placing the advert wanted to reach only one reader - John Peel. [2]

Unfinished at the time of his death the autobiography was completed by Sheila and journalist Ryan Gilbey and was published in October 2005 under the title Margrave of the Marshes.

Mentioned In Shows

  • 12 March 2003: Peel mentions that he's supposed to be writing an autobiography, but so far has only got the title and what he claims will be the opening lines: "The junior officers exchanged glances. Mrs Bradshaw was on board again."
  • 03 April 2003: John says that the writing of the autobiography will commence in the morning. He claims that the first chapter will be entitled, "The Hegemony Of The Baltic."
  • 16 July 2003: Peel asks the listeners to help him identify what 'phenacetin' and 'irradiated ergosterol' is / was, "for the book that I'm supposed to be writing". A listener later provides the answers.
  • 20 July 2004: Peel suffered calamity over the weekend when, after working on his autobiography for six or seven hours, he somehow managed to delete every word he'd written.
  • 27 July 2004: Peel mentions that he has recently written about the infamous 1975 Radio One 'Fun Day' at Mallory Park for his book.
  • 14 September 2004: Peel gives an update on the book's progress, stating that he'd written 30,935 words, "which is almost a third of the way to the end of the book, really."
  • 12 October 2004: Another progress update is given: "50,407 words as of last night, so over half way now."

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