You get two posts today as I catch up. Can’t find a catchy enough title for this project, but this is only Day 2, we’ll see. Do I work on Sundays (tomorrow)? Dunno, we’ll see. If you missed it, the beginning of the previous post has an explanation.

Today I pulled “My Archive”.

Already, I can’t remember what I was thinking when I wrote these out. But there’s a lot to be done with “My Archive”, that’s for sure, whatever it is. I’m not certain quite where the line is between my archive and family history at the moment, I suppose it’s things that I made or things that are about me – but who cares? So there’s a bit of the process emerging which is that I have to have a bit of a think and a bit of a write first before I settle on what it is that I’m going to make. The writing, thinking and doing might not all get represented in the blog post.

I got a bit distracted by the perennial blogging software/where to publish/how to publish bullshit and that’s the last time I’m going to mention it. But when I’d calmed down and thought about it, I realised that actually scanning some negatives that I shot in about 1980 or ’81 and putting them on Flickr with some tags and a bit of a description was a worthwhile enough thing to do, it does get me engaged with organising the massive cloud of stuff that’s on digital platforms and in cardboard boxes, the only real index of which is my brain. Just writing stuff down instead of thinking about it is really useful, if only because it helps me to stop thinking about it.

R01-S23 Gig 1980/81
1 of 23 in the first roll

I’m not entirely happy with how the album got embedded from Flickr in WordPress, so I’ve replaced it with just one image. You can jump to Flickr if you want to see the whole thing and maybe like and comment and stuff. Maybe you recognise some of the people I don’t. Or the venue. Or know when it was. None of which I have much of a clue about – some archivist.

It was shot on HP5, and these are straight from the scanner, no cropping or colour correction yet.

I was using a flash, so wasn’t at the stage where I was experimenting with pushing the film speed to extremes. I know that I got my first SLR for my 15th birthday, so this is most likely to be 1980. Tony joined the Zenith Hot Stompers in October 1981 and so this will be before then. If I didn’t fear contradiction, I would say it was a configuration of the New Delta Jazzmen – Tony Davis, trumpet; Mick Jones, trombone; Clive Millward, drums; Pete Barnard, banjo; I don’t know the clarinet or bass players. And I’d also say it was upstairs at the Booth Hall at Hereford, but I have no evidence for that other than forty-year-old memories that are very unreliable.

This was just the first 24-exposure roll, there’s another 36-exp one to do, which might yield more clues.

It’s very odd looking at pictures I made forty years ago and trying to think about what I thought I was doing. I can see that I was experimenting and getting my eye in. But it was hard then, not having near infinite storage or the ability to check what you just shot. Experimentation with shooting live events was risky when you wouldn’t get anything back till you’d had some time in the dark room. There are plenty of rookie composition mistakes and bits where the person I was shooting turned their head at the last minute, but again, you just don’t know that until you develop the film.

So how does that add to my archive? Well it’s a bit more action research, I suppose. I’ve done something, thought about it, recorded some data and written about it. It’s not nearly as organised as I want it to be, but it’s an improvement. Progress.