Like millions of others, I've been profoundly affected by the loss of John Peel. I can't claim to have been a big listener to the Radio One show, although I loved some of the artists he played. In my youth I either bought records or was watching telly/playing Atari. But just to know he was there, that there was a mainstream voice for alternative music, if not lifestyle.
And he was just such an obviously great bloke. Curmugeonly, honest, iconoclastic. He oozed integrity, a beacon in those moments when you think that everything is sold out.
He also seemed to me a wonderfully sensitive, gentle man, who was unafraid to show or speak about his emotions. Especially when he started doing Home Truths, a surprising move for a DJ whose playlists used to be responsible for the few instances of the word "cunt" on the BBC website. His ability to discuss the most harrowing, the most banal, the most joyful stories of ordinary life and in his presentation, effortlessly glue the whole thing together, positioned him even more as a beatific, all-seeing, wise man.
There's been coverage this week of Sam Taylor-Wood's Crying Men exhibition. This raises questions about the authenticity of public emotion, especially displayed by celebrities and of course the ability of men to show emotions. Peel was an emotional hero to me. Able to be comfortable in his skin, to know how to be self-mockingly sentimental and to not be afraid of himself and his feelings. He said listening to Teenage Kicks made him cry. It didn't used to make me cry, but it does now.