Well, here I am again.It’s the Rockmine blog but not as you’ve known it.
My problem started when I finished one year of the Almanac and had to then start again. I love the idea of keeping information free but the almanac is something I’ve invested so much time and energy in, that I can’t just go on giving it away.
The dilemma I had was how to continue Rockmin e as a site, a blog and even as a real archive. It’s always been difficult to keep it up to date and I’ve consistently had a pile of newspapers every week that I’ve never managed to work through. When the property housing Rockmine went on the market, I realised the scale of the problem. My pile of papers needing checked for cuttings was more than 150 feet! The cuts that I had removed were no less a problem, filling dozens of boxes. All of this stuff, should be neatly filed in a bank of filing cabinets but it isn’t!
Of course, the house sale means I am moving but still don’t know exactly where or what I’m going to do. That leaves me in limbo as to whether the archive will move on. I have decided to continue the almanac and (behind schedule) get it out as a book, published by Rockmine but printed by Lulu. One thing I’m considering is selling off the cuttings but that’s a huge task. There must be hundreds of thousands of them and it’s a frightening cataloguing problem. Bizarrely, if it were catalogued, it would be a hugely valuable information list. Somewhat akin to indexing all the music content of the major daily press over the past 24 years.
Oddly, I’ve been trying to deal with this problem since the largest hard-drive it was possible to get was 270 mb! Happy days. The basis of the current Rockmine site was built on an Apple PowerBook 180c which had 3 meg of ram, doubled to 6 with Ram Doubler and pushed to 36 with MaxRam. Hey, it was a 9 inch colour screen set in what looked like a Tonka Toy computer designed by Sony. Back in those days computers were full of excitement and wonder but I don’t get excited anymore.
While I’m wallowing in nostalgia, there is a crazy tale regarding the indexing of the archive. My friend Bob, who sadly suffered a stroke nearly two years ago is a businessman with an eye for solutions to problems. When faced with the one of how to index the archive, he rose to the occasion and negotiated a deal with a prison. A new privately-run one had just opened in Kilmarnock and they needed to find work for the inmates. Every one of the prisoners had to have a job every day or the Scottish Prison Service would fine the prison. So Bob got us a deal whereby we’d get as many prisoners as we needed to scan all the music papers in the archive and annotate them.
The prison was even talking about buying the scanners and computers as it would be teaching the inmates computer skills to help with their rehabilitation and prepare them for life in the outside world. Believe it or not, the reason the scheme fell through was me. I wasn’t prepared to risk the archive being potentially wrecked by a bunch of prisoners and I wasn’t prepared to oversee them doing the work. Strange days indeed!
Anyway, back to today, or the present at least, I’m doing more archiving than I’ve done for many years, even if it’s just putting cuttings, legal papers, whatever in clearly labelled boxes. It seems that having your house on the market is one thing but getting people to see past the piles of magazines and papers spread throughout is another thing all together. I have to admit it’s a very strange situation, carefully boxing up a lifetime’s work and having no real idea what you’re going to do with it.
One thing that I do have to deal with is the memorabilia that still fills crates and cupboards and hangs on the walls. Then there’s about 4,000 vinyl albums and twice as many singles to get rid of. So, what I’m going to do is start to list everything on here. The concept of the Garage Sale, as was, is gone. I now HAVE to clear the garage, so you can expect a plethora of music related items to turn up here. I have, in some cases, complete years of “Sounds” and “New Musical Express”, carefully wrapped in black bin-bags in either complete or nearly complete years. There are hundreds of books and magazines and dozens of standees as they seem to call the cardboard cut-outs used as point-of-sale promotions. Some of those things are WAY TOO big to post but they are hugely collectable.
I’m even thinking of renting a local shop for a few weeks to sell the vinyl. In the meantime, as I have hard copies that I paid for, am I allowed to download copies from the internet to save me the hassle of digitizing stuff?
If nothing else, that sounds like an interesting project that I can share with you! I will keep you posted…