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Monthly Archives: January 2010

The last week should have seen me working in the house. There’s painting, plastering and varnishing to do but with Friday’s daytime temperature a chilly -8 C, it will have to wait.

It’s meant I’ve been huddled over a heater in front of the computer and working on my various blogs that haven’t had any attention paid to them for ages. The Rockmine Television one is very nearly finished. I’ve only got 2009 and the start of this year to do and that will be every U.K. number one up. At the moment, along with the Eurovision Winners, it amounts to 1157 videos.

I would have completed it had I not been distracted looking for festival footage. I started collecting rock video in 1982 and have cupboards full of video tapes that would take me years to digitize and as a result, I’ve become rather bored by the whole thing, or so I thought. A casual trawl through YouTube once again got me excited about video.

You mention festivals and everyone will say Woodstock, Isle Of Wight, Glastonbury, Reading, Knebworth, Phoenix, T In The Park, the Hyde Park Free Festivals and many more. Material from all of them is available but I discovered was there was footage of Fehmarn Isle, Bilzen Jazz ’67, ’68 & ’69, Windsor ’67, Copenhagen Jazz ’68, Rome ’68 and even Kastival ’68!

I know it’s rather sad to say it but I got rather excited by that. I went looking for footage of the Sunbury Festival in England and found another of the same name in Australia that I’d never even heard of. And I call myself a rock music archivist! There is just SO MUCH stuff out there! It really is a video collector’s dream. So, while I haven’t yet finished one listing, I’m adding masses of stuff for the next one. There are people who would say that sums me up perfectly but, hey! what the hell…

Having put a posting up several days ago, I was completely taken aback when my stats rocketed. It’s very strange to discover that the key to the blogs is just to be me. When I started www.rockmine.com back in 1995, I shut myself in my office for several days while I got to grips with HTML and then just put up the stuff that interested me. Somehow, over the years, I forgot that.

Many years ago, Radio One’s “Newsround” did a piece on me. I was the last article on it and it went straight back into Nicky Campbell, who described me as “anally retentive”. Fine praise from a James Bond collector! I prefer to remember Mick Wall who, when he was editor of Classic Rock, came to visit the archive with the board of directors of Future Publishing and called me “the real deal”. The editor of Total Guitar said I was “the God of anoraks”. Oh, happy days!

Yet here I am snowed in, wondering what on earth I’m doing in the wilds of Perthshire with a garage and a house full of books and papers when all I really need is in my head. Mid-life crisis is really no excuse for the amount of time I’ve taken to remember that! Back in 1975, I was working on a college project that needed a slogan or dictum. Being a pretentious sod, I came up with “If religion is the opiate of the people, then rock music is marijuana for the masses”. Somehow, I forgot that myself.

If you want to get up, or get down, get maudlin or melancholic, energized or ecstatic, music can get you there. Since I was a kid, I’ve known that and yet it’s so easy to lose track of the simple constants and truths we hold dear. Oddly, in amongst more than 1,000 number ones, I found songs to do all of those things and songs that took me back to so many moments in my past. There are even songs I hated that had other memories attached that give them significance way beyond their artistic value.

That’s what makes rock and pop wonderful. There are tracks today that don’t do anything for me and yet they’ll be no less significant for someone twenty or thirty years from now than the music that I still listen to. The secret may just to be open to everything. That’s what made John Peel such a great DJ, he listened to everything with an open mind and an open heart.

If music touches you, it doesn’t matter who it’s by, or what it is. All you can say is that you feel it.

Happy New Year to you all.

After Christmas, I started to think about my blogs and my website. I’d lost my direction with them and couldn’t get a handle on how to find one again. My website, Rockmine had been huge at one time but it became so big that it took up all my time. Knowing that was my dilemma. Did I invest more time in it or let it just stagnate in cyberspace, much like I’d been doing.

Rockmine had worked because it was me. I took my interests and compulsive list making and turned it into a website that other people liked. Trying to jump on bandwagons or follow trends wouldn’t work for me, so I had to get back to basics. I had to get back to what interests me and do something serious for a change.

On New Years Day, I knew what I wanted to do. I’ve had the Rockmine.TV domain for years but never used it and yet I would happily sit watching video on my computer than wile away hours in front of a television. The only problem I’ve ever had is that YouTube is full of stuff and finding what you want can be as frustrating as it is exciting.

The solution is a solution for me. I’ll take all my lists and add video to them. I find the clips once, and then I never need to bookmark anything again or go searching. It all just sits in one place. Being rather sad, I thought I’d start with two things I always get asked about – Eurovision Winners and U.K. Number One Singles. I once had all the number ones as singles but that was in another lifetime. Now, I can get rid of all the records and keep the website which is my latest blog – Rockmine Television.

At the time of writing this, there are 866 videos there. Every Eurovision Winner and all the U.K. Number One Singles from 1960 – 2000. While I’d really have loved to get more up by now, I don’t think that’s a bad job in 6 days. I would have done more but it is so easy to just sit and watch things you haven’t seen, sometimes for decades ¬†and remember how good or bad they were! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.