Music geeks the world over will be rubbing their hands together with glee at this news – I certainly am! From now until October, The Space website will be releasing parts of the legendary John Peel‘s equally legendary record collection onto its site, at a rate of 100 records a week. This is, and can only be, just a fraction of the great man’s enormous and eclectic collection, as his wife Sheila told Alexis Petridis in The Guardian yesterday:
Peel’s is probably the most celebrated record collection in Britain: 26,000 albums, 40,000 singles and countless CDs, which spread out of Peel’s office and took over a variety of rooms and outbuildings in the home near Stowmarket he invariably referred to as Peel Acres. The singles and CDs, [Sheila] Ravenscroft says, were filed alphabetically, but the albums were a different matter. “They are all filed numerically and cross-referenced with a very old filing cabinet, full of small filing cards that John hand typed himself on his old Olivetti typewriter. The way you access them is that you look in the filing cabinet, find the file card alphabetically, and on the top corner there’s a number.”
These filing cards have now formed the basis of The John Peel Project on The Space, an Arts Council-funded pop-up website, which launches this month and runs until the end of October. Every week, for the next 26 weeks, users will be able to browse the first 100 cards from each letter of the alphabet, with one album pulled out for special attention. “We will try to get a film of the artist, show old clips of them, look into what they are doing now,” says Ravenscroft.
I love the idea of being able to rummage through Peel’s record collection, and I love the sheer geekiness of his filing system! It is such a treat to get this unprecedented access to the arch-uber-music geek’s very own tunes, and I can’t wait to see more. The ‘A’s’ are already available to browse on The Space (there’s even an ABBA record!), with the ‘B’s’ coming next week…
It’s been snowing in London today and there has been much talk of a white Christmas as a result, all of which prompted me to dig out some stuff I wrote about snow at Christmas and extreme winter weather round about this time last year (you can see the original posts here and here) and repost them on Another Kind Of Mind. The cold snap is going to continue, so make sure you wrap up warm now, and stay away from the yellow snow…
In the UK, a white Christmas is not as common an occurrance as you might think, mainly because December is early in the season for snow in most parts of Britain (snow is more common in January). And determining what exactly constitutes a white Christmas is a matter of debate.
For most people, when they think of a white Christmas they imagine precisely that – snow falling (and settling) on Christmas Day in large amounts. However, particularly for the purpose of placing bets on the matter, a white Christmas can be as insignificant-sounding as a single snowflake being observed falling during the twenty-four hours of 25th December. According to the Met Office website, the last Christmas to see conditions much like the former was 2004, when snow covered much of Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Midlands, north-east and the far south-west of England.
That may have been cold, but count yourself lucky that you weren’t alive during the three hundred years between 1550 and 1850 when an unlucky Britain was in the grip of what became known as the ‘Little Ice Age’. Snow at Christmas was much more common during that period and its association with the season was cemented by the descriptions of festive snow in Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers and A Christmas Carol (Dickens, like any good Englishman should, had a strong, scientific interest in the weather).