Tag Archives: archive


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.

[bds] Why not just use Facebook?

[meta advisory – for regular readers of this blog, you’ll notice that the title is prefaced with the tag: bds for Bromsgrove Digital Shoebox.  I will likely be writing about this quite a bit over the next few months and I’ll try to remember to tag the titles so that you can make a better informed decision about whether to read on or not – the project will no doubt have a blog of its own before long, but till then the best place to see what’s really happening is the crowdfunding page]

I’m committed in this project to make as much as possible available via the open web, rather than via corporate service offers like Facebook – yes you can share anything you like and connect to people very smoothly, but there are a few costs on the user side that aren’t immediately obvious and I’d like to avoid them.

I’m not totally anti-Facebook – for many things I find their (free) service very useful and you’ll see that I’m using it a lot to get word out about the project.  It’s just easy to forget that there’s a downside and I think the downside is too big for projects like this, in these particular ways:

1. Ownership, Authority, Access.

It’s your material and you will have the right to share it however you want.  In an archive environment though, there needs to be some independent authority for resolving disputes and making  decisions about things.  That authority doesn’t have to be centralised, it can be distributed between members of the community, as it is for Wikipedia.

This openness will at some point bump up against concerns about personal privacy, but we will start with an assumption that everything will be open and free and only close down in response to real concerns not ones that we can imagine in the abstract.

I also don’t want access to our memories and digital assets to be subject to the continuing existence or shifting priorities of a publicly-owned corporation based in California.

2. Not everyone is on Facebook

We all know this to be true, but it’s easy to fall back into thinking that “loads of people, at least more people than I can keep track of” is a good proxy for “everyone”.  And if you’re not on Facebook, if you choose for whatever reason, not to join in, then you’re excluded from the fun that goes on around old photos.

So people can share stuff about you without you knowing.  In fact this can happen even if you’re on Facebook, but the person who “owns” the picture isn’t connected with you.

I want to create something that is at least available to anyone with an internet connection (and actually to a whole lot of the people who don’t too, but that’s another story)

3. Interoperability & Extensibility

It is in Facebook’s interest to keep you on Facebook where you might see and click on an advertisement that will ultimately bring them revenue, or keep you creating new content to keep other people on Facebook where they might see and click… etc.

I’m looking to create something that you can use however you wish.  I want to create a platform for you to do new things, for you to extend and improve what we have, without damaging the experience for others.  That means being able to link to things from anywhere, to be able to include and embed material wherever you like.  it also means creating feeds that you can subscribe to so that you’re alerted when new material is found/uploaded.

These aren’t just my prejudices, they’re based on the NEA principle – ie build things that (N)obody owns; (E)veryone can use; and (A)nyone can improve.  It will be a key guiding principle and differentiating characteristic for this project.