Brilliant !!

Inside JoJo's World

I just found out it’s National Baking Week 15th – 21st October – – what a brilliant time for me to start my Great British Bake Off Challenge!!

As Saturday rolled around, I popped out to pick up The Telegraph (bit of a change from my normal gossip mag!?) as it had a free pull out, created by the wonderful Paul Hollywood on How To Bake, Part 1 Cakes and Puddings… Part 2 was in the Sunday Telegraph (which I forgot to pick up….FAIL!)

The Great British Bake Off Challenge

I must point out, my baking skills have never gone past a Victoria sponge or cupcakes… mainly because I know I can make them without making anyone sick… and also because I have a lack of baking equipment! My hands are currently my tools!

So I have decided to take Paul Hollywood’s recipe booklet and work my way through it, one recipe a week and…

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The Joy Of Vinyl, records that is!

LP SleevesWhat’s the point of catching a fish only to throw it back again? asks my wife and possibly not such a strange question from someone who doesn’t enjoy fiddling with a rod and line. I’m sure an angler would be able to explain patiently, probably starting with the words “you just don’t understand” how it’s the thrill of the chase, the pitting of man against nature ( they probably keep the bit about getting out of the housework to themselves ) and the sheer joy of being in the open air. I used just those same words to my wife when trying to explain the joy of vinyl collecting ( well not the bits about nature and fresh air) It’s true she just doesn’t understand. I’m pretty certain that this is a predominantly male occupation as most collecting is although our Rokpool website dealing with all things rocky has more than it’s fair share of lady visitors ( my wife doesn’t understand that either )

As a lad I sourced and swapped stamps with no real plan in mind, frankly the bigger and more colourful the better, all those dull Victorian ones wouldn’t have interested me. My wife does understand why a kid would want to collect stamps, but an adult, that’s beyond her understanding and she just doesn’t believe that Queen’s Freddy Mercury was, amongst other things a fervent philatelist ( I jest not ). I don’t collect stamps now, I grew out of that when I discovered girls and music and acquired albums instead of little squares of paper.

There is a real thrill at finding an unexpected gem in a car boot sale and even more of a thrill when you get home and check it’s value, and hey the occasional mistake is a bit like a gamblers remorse, must do better next time. The entry cost is pretty low to begin with just a few notes and you’re on your way and of course if you are of a certain age you probably have a good number already.

Ah the joy of completing the collection, or theme, sharing your knowledge with other vinyl heads or just enjoying the music. Yes I’m one of those who must listen to it too, very carefully, indeed very, very carefully. I certainly don’t subscribe to those who own an LP just to own it, not the same joy for me, but there are plenty of chaps out there who wouldn’t touch them again once they are in their abodes.

Just make sure that your loved ones know when that bus comes around the corner and prematurely sends you to rock ‘n’ roll heaven that they realise there’s money ( and history ) in them there cardboard sleeves!

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Way back in the mists of time, well the 50’s, four lads, who were to become possibly the most famous group in the World started an adventure that was to change their lives and possibly millions of others, by going to Germany. Yes the lads who were to become The Beatles played night after night at The Star Club in Hamburg, honing their skills and probably being very naughty boys. One of those lads, George Harrison no less, wrote a really intriguing letter to Carol Phillips, indeed he also kept in touch after The Beatles initial success sending her a couple of singles signed by all four of them.

These amazing artefacts lay in Carols draw for nearly sixty years, however following an introduction from a friend Rokpool were able to help her get them in Bonham’s Rock Memorabilia Auction this week, and together with another letter from George, she’s now over £10,000 better off, not bad for a ‘few bits and pieces’ sitting in an envelope, not quite forgotten but maybe unappreciated.

Now Carol has a tidy little sum and some Beatles fans some great memorabilia, everybody is happy, and we did our little bit to make it happen, so we’re happy too.

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If you were a music photographer way back in the dim and distant past, hanging out with Rock Stars and being able to stay for the whole concert, you must look at todays upstarts and think what a hard career choice for them. Not only are they restricted to the first three songs of a concert to do their snapping but they hardly ever get to hang out with the bands any more and of course anyone with a half decent camera thinks they are a rock photographer and are posting pics in their millions online.
Chris Crask is one such golden oldie snapper who is the first to say that he couldn’t start a career now and make a living in the way that he did in the seventies and eighties when he was able to photograph some of the biggest names in the industry and go to the after concert parties at will. Some details are a little blurred, I suspect a little chemical intervention may have taken place but he’s sure he had a good time.
Chris was the house photographer for Arista records and responsible for many of the iconic album covers such as Whitney Houston and Pink Floyd, also working for PWL so Kylie, Bananarama, Rick Astley et al came into focus. So what happened to all those pics? well he still has many of them, so working closely with Beatpix we are able to bring these back to be seen and loved once again. One can now buy them and choose the frame size and finish a brilliant present incidentally for that person who has everything!
One of the best find was a collection of Bob Marley pics, from his very last concert, which have never seen before and they
are amazing images indeed.

So we are looking forward to the next discovery with great anticipation.

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Sandy Denny Found in The Attic

Sandy Denny autograph

Sandy Denny autograph

I just love it when ‘things’ just come together nicely, and finding someone who was a Sandy Denny enthusiast was one of those times, ok not high on ones list of pivotal moments but quite satisfying. It all started a year or so ago when we ran an interesting piece on Sandy Denny on our site. This resulted in an email from Dave Swarbrick, yes the man himself, saying he had some Sandy memorabilia which he would like to go to a real fan. Well we sourced that enthusiast quite easily as we have loads of connections with music lovers Worldwide. As it transpired the transaction somehow faltered at the last minute, as these things sometimes do and no deal was done. I thought no more about it as there is always something new and exciting to deal with in the vintage music scene to attract one’s attention. Then out of the blue an email slipped into the inbox from Luigi’s daughter. Who is this man you may ask? Luigi was a waiter at The Speakeasy way back in the mists of time and of course he was serving numerous well known artists, among them Sandy Denny who took a shine to our hero and gave him a signed album, as did Tim Rose apparently.

Many years passed, indeed many, many years and now Luigi is not so well or indeed well off. While reminiscing to his daughter about the old days he mentions the signed album, which they manage to find in the attic in virtually perfect condition, she checks on the internet and finds Rokpool and hence the email to us asking whether we knew any Sandy fans, who might like a signed album. So off we trot, actually we emailed the guy we were in touch with previously and an introduction brokered, every body was happy, we got warm feeling from making it happen, Luigi got some cash in his pocket and the fan a perfect autograph with a proven provenance. Not a bad days work.

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Rock music memorabilia, what is it ?

Abbey Road  street sign Here’s an interesting question, what counts as rock memorabilia ?? I pose this question because at Rokpool we are always being offered slightly off the wall, in fact off the floor (see later) items to see if we can find a fan who would just love to own this curiosity with it’s oblique connection to the rock world. Take for example a plank signed by an ex member of Joy Division, I said it was off the floor didn’t I. Ok it does have a provenance but where do you keep a plank? the owner had it under his bed so hardly on display to wow all his mates, indeed that’s why he wondered if anyone else fancied owning it. But that pales into insignificance when I think of the Court files relating to the Sid Vicious drug bust, it’s true someone had ‘found’ the files in a skip, well that’s what he said. I know a lot of Sex Pistol fans and some of them are really serious collectors but somehow this didn’t quite excite their imagination. Of course the greatest attraction is having something actually owned or touched by the icon themselves, a blood stained Johnny Rotten shirt would be very popular or what about song lyrics written in the artists own hand, John Lennon scribblings for Give Peace a Chance recently sold for well over £300,000 .

Lower down the ranking must be autographs although pretty rare it is difficult to prove that they’re not a fake unless supported by a photo unless you have confirmation from the Archbishop of Canterbury that he was there when you got it, it’s tricky to prove that it really is genuine. We recently found a home for a Sandy Denny autograph given to Luigi at The Speakeasy, Luigi is getting on a bit now but we could prove quite easily that it was genuine.

Rarity and connectivity, into that category I would put posters and famous tour tees, indeed some posters that come from way back then can fetch some extraordinary sums for what is after all a big piece of printed paper. That’s not meant to be disparaging afterall we sell them and can understand their intrinsic attraction both as a piece of history and as an attractive object.

Finally there are items that have some vague connection to the rock world such as an Abbey Road street sign, we have one looking for a Beatles enthusiast to take home, and apparently not stolen. So the question is, is that memorabilia just a piece of metal that spells out a famous album cover name or something more important?

What do you think?

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Led Zeppelin rehearsal tapes

I never made that O2 concert, as virtually a million other Zeppers didn’t, mind you I was never gonna be there without a ticket, I couldn’t even get on the website whatever I did, and is there likely to be another reunion another piece of rock history being created? I somehow doubt it.

But hey sometimes one gets lucky, I guess I’m more likely than most to ‘get lucky’ running a rock music archive site does bring me into contact with some extremely generous folk, not the managers, oh no their job seems to be just the opposite and having met Led Zeppelins legal advisor socially ( nice guy ) but bull-dog like in protecting his clients interests, there’s unlikely to be anything that slips under the net. But slip under it has. Yes folks a Rokpool fan gave me, yes, free and for nothing, the complete rehearsal tapes of Zeps O2 concert. Now how cool is that ??
Quality? I hear you asking, amazing I can confirm, and there’s not a flaw in the performances, not an “oops guys lets start again” or “let’s have a cup of tea”
( well they have calmed down ) no it’s a complete run through. So what makes it special for me? If I just wanted to listen to the tracks I could do that with the greatest of ease on a laptop or whatever, so clearly it’s not that, I guess just having it for a start is somehow special. Of course listening to it is pretty critical to the enjoyment too, if I close my eyes am I at the concert ? well no, of course nothing can recreate the electricity of actually being in the audience, however I could be in Shepperton Studios listening to the rehearsal and thats good enough for me.
So what does one do with something as great as this I ask myself, clearly I can’t put it on the Rokpool website or indeed any other music site, and I don’t want to be just one of the few who have it, so if anyone in Zeppelin land has any ideas just let me know.

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