May 1, 2012

The John Peel Record Collection - A Wonder to Behold!

In case you've been living under a rock, the famed John Peel record collection is slowly making its cataloged-way on line courtesy of the geniuses at The Space in the UK - a "a new, deliberately experimental service, managed by Arts Council England and developed in partnership with the BBC" as they describe themselves.

Under the name The John Peel Centre For Creative Arts, not only is Peel's formidable collection being preserved for the generations, but The Centre have also created one of the best looking & well thought out websites I have ever seen. If you're into music, vinyl, record collecting, catalogs, what have through and spend some time. The photo above shows the home page. Each item highlighted in yellow is clickable and Peel related. From Peel home videos, to Peel sessions, to photos, plus of course - the collection! Its unbelievable.

As the Guardian put it a couple of days ago: Every week, the Centre will expand the scope of its virtual museum, adding another 100 records, covering everything from Appalachian mountain music to zouk. "It's a very personal look at John's collection," producer Charlie Gauvain said. According to Sheila Ravenscroft, Peel's widow, curators will highlight one artist from each batch, picking through more than 65,000 items in his archive. Peel kept meticulous files about his records: each sleeve was given a typed filing card, with all sorts of information.

"There'll be information about the record sleeve, front and back, all the information about the record itself, as well as whether John rated the album or not," Ravenscroft explained. Although copyright prevents the centre from streaming the records, links will be included, when available, to purchase or stream the music on Spotify and iTunes. "I think people are going to be very interested as to what's in the collection," Ravenscroft said. "They will be amused and intrigued by it."

Besides the details of Peel's records, the virtual museum will also include videos, and incorporate Peel's own home movies. Producers discovered 30 hours of footage at his home in Suffolk, with everything from clips of bands to footage from Liverpool's Anfield stadium. The website will apparently launch with John Peel's Suffolk Comforts, a 1989 film "that's never been broadcast before", Gauvain said. "It's a real gem … [with] some really personal things in it."

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