QUEEN IMAGEYes it’s true, Freddie and the boys were really discovered tucked away in someone’s loft, obviously not in physical form, that would be unlikely wouldn’t it, well more than unlikely, Freddie of course is singing somewhere in the stratosphere whilst Brian is studying it, you did know he was a qualified astrophysicist, I kid you not and Roger is well drumming.
Anyway I’m talking here about their images, a quite considerable pile in fact of the most amazing rock photos you can imagine.
Ok, so our passion at Rokpool is saving rock history and it’s something that always intrigues anyone who asks that sometimes tedious but necessary question ( if there’s going to be a lull in the conversation ) what do you do ? It follows that when I answer “oh I have a rock music archive website” a fair number will instantly want to ask me what was the greatest gig I ever went to,usually so they can tell me theirs ( The Who,when Moonie was playing as it happens ). Sometimes they’ll have a great Rock’n’Roll story to impart, some incredibly salacious but highly believable other quite poignant and if you’ve seen Spinal Tap some seemingly straight out of that. Of course this is great content for our site and we’re delighted to gather it all up, even if some is unusable, we’re not keen on getting grumpy Solicitors letters. Apart from those that are instantly bored by any talk of music, and there are a few out around, there are also those who have something intriguing tucked away either that’s so valuable that they dare not share with the World ( someone has that Hendrix acetate that he left in a taxi ) others have stuff that they don’t really know what to do with, which brings me back to the Queen pics.
Just imagine the surprise when you rummage around in the attic of the flat you are renting and find a pile of high quality Queen photos,and not just the promo ones but loads of candid shots, backstage stuff and in the recording studio, well imagine my surprise when she offered them to me.
Yippee you might say, but I felt they should go to a real Queen fan and suggested I organise for them to be auctioned that way they would find a good home and she’d make some money.
What happened ? nothing, I did get to see them so they did exist but eventually Sally decided to keep them and we lost touch, so Jessica if you read this and change your mind…..you know what to do.

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sid viciousScary title eh ? well of course this is not actually about a Sex Pistol residing in the roof space but this is a bit of a strange story for us at Rokpool. . We’re quite use to folk presenting us with weird and wonderful rock artifacts that they have either treasured over the years or just come across when rummaging about in some dusty cupboard or cardboard box up in the roof. Of course over the years something that was of little value or attraction back in those dark old days now has either become valuable, or at the very least intriguing and we all know that the career move for rock stars of dying, greatly enhances interest and value nowadays. Some artifacts are pretty straightforward, some of the things are so unusual that it’s difficult to gauge who could be intrigued by such an item ?? What am I talking about you may well ask, well, we were offered the original court files of Sid Vicious drug bust and conviction shortly before he killed Nancy, is the subject in question. We can’t decide if this is Social history and should be kept for posterity or something that should be shredded without delay and there’s the other question I’m asked, how does anyone even have this? True it wasn’t in a loft but a skip, I guess guys do rummage around in skips but I bet he wasn’t expecting a result like that.
Is there any value to this I was asked ? I guess the owner was expecting big bucks for this bundle of papers and I’m sure somewhere out there an aging punk might be interested in adding this unique item to his collection, but it’s not as if it had anything to do with Sid directly, a guitar or ripped Tee shirt now that would really be a find and a half, unlikely to be in a skip though ! So we turned down the offer to acquire this, certainly unique, package, however if you’re that fan who would just love to add this to their collection we know just where it is !

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Mother Nature’s A Single Woman

Mother Nature’s a single woman too ( so sang The Weather Girls ) if that’s true then global warming, climate change, call it what you will is unlikely to be Ma Natures revenge, so something else is happening, I guess most of us agree. I’m not a green crusader particularly but equally I try to do my recycling bit, in fact the pile of papers and mags waiting to be taken to the recycling centre threatens to destabilise my home, although the emissions from driving there are probably worse for the World than doing nothing. So what could my team at Rokpool do to make their contribution ?? We scratched our heads, pondered, wondered and indeed wandered, nobody really fancied turning the heating off although we produce vast amounts of hot air and we’re already doing the obvious, reusing carrier bags, not printing emails, indeed some are certainly great at conserving energy particularly their own!

In reality this is isn’t such a a difficult task is it, turning the lights off, or the central heating down a degree, or adjusting the hot water temperature so we add less cold, or even sharing your bath all seems eminently sensible, I particularly like the bath idea. Indeed not only are these meant to help slow global warming but ultimately save a few pennies and we all know every little helps, or does it ?? I live opposite a significant office block in central London, occupied by a Government department, and yes you guessed it, every night, All Night Long, as Lionel Richey sang, the lights are on and the building is empty, indeed occasionally when the lights are actually off in one of the rooms we assume someone’s ‘working late’ and intimately with a colleague. So apart from saving a tiny amount of money where is the incentive for anyone to cut back or down, when the carbon footprint from an office overnight ( and indeed during the day ) is clearly so massive.

However good news came from an unexpected source, our web developer, and what did he tell us ? well, our website hosting company only use Solar Energy, ok we didn’t plan it and again it’s not going to save the World but hey it’s a nod in the right direction, now, if only I can get a wind turbine on the roof and the Government employees to turn off all their lights, I might earn enough carbon credits to race around in a Ferrari without feeling guilty ( that’s a lie of course, I wouldn’t feel guilty at all !!).

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A grandiose title for a big job undertaken selflessly by the team at Rokpool the website that ‘saves’ rock music history. So how do we do that ? by finding lost, forgotten and neglected ( rock stars ) music, photos, memorabilia and footage from the last six decades. Let’s be honest it’s a pretty fun occupation and perhaps not as great as being the travel reporter for the BBC but not bad for a music lover, we can even kid ourselves we are doing something for the environment, well maybe only the cultural environment. We can never be sure of what intriguing goodies will surface or who we’ll meet with something curious or down right staggering tucked away on a dusty shelf somewhere, I’m thinking here of the Hendrix Acetate and first Beatles recordings both of which are within 500 metres of our office, just seeing them is enough to give one a real tingle, of jealousy actually !

We can also kid ourselves that we’re also sort of recycling, ok it’s recycling facts and it’s not going to save the Planet but it will save our music heritage and that’s important for all of us, whether it’s as relevant as Churchill’s diaries ( not the insurance dog ) I suspect depends on how you value the importance of historic artifacts. What is critical is that no further losses should occur, we’ve all heard the stories of BBC tapes being wiped clean in the sixties and seventies ( to save money ) with no thought that those performances would ever be of interest or indeed cherished in the future, or horror stories of master tapes being dumped in skips to make space. Rokpool have a selection of these tapes that we’ve been given and they sure do take up a lot of room so can sympathise to a degree but surely a record company could find storage if it really wanted to ? And what about all those folk from the music industry and their amazing stories, every day reduces their brain cells a little bit more and occasionally all their cells if they’re called to that great gig in the sky and we rush around interviewing them, literally saving Rock history, before it’s all too late.

So this is a plea to all you music lovers or music makers out there, if you’ve a story to tell, an artifact that needs saving or recording thats languishing in the attic don’t waste another day, share it with the World and you could help save rock history!

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Data Danger, What Doesn’t Your Partner Know ??

Just imagine for a moment that you died, sorry to be so blunt but this is important, really important. I’m talking here of a sudden unexpected demise, the hit by bus scenario. Can you see the devastated folk that you leave behind, the chaos, the problems? do keep reading I’m not selling life insurance or encouraging you to write a will, I’m assuming that you’re sensible enough to have done that, what I am flagging up is something that lots of folk completely forget.

This was starkly brought to my attention a few weeks back when filming the most amazing collection of punk memorabilia, for Rokpool the online music archive. The collection contained many extremely rare items including extraordinary demos, magazines, posters and albums, all of which would have gone straight to the dump, if the proud owner should unfortunately be called to that great punk store in the sky. Apparently his wife had no interest in the collection other than the fact that it took up vast amounts of the house that could be used for other more ‘valuable’ activities. What my friend had failed to do was appreciate that what was of value to him and countless others was not necessarily of value to his partner, the consequence could be that the resource could be abandoned because he had never thought to specify how his pride and joy should be dealt with. Of course I offered to be the repository of the items should the worst happen, very fine of me I thought, but I then began to think about all of those things in our life that have a hidden value, that could be lost forever should we die suddenly with or without a will. I’m not really talking about physical goods now, ( but if no one realises all those tatty paperbacks are rare first editions they will end up in the bin) no it’s all that data tucked away on computers.

Consider for a moment, the importance and indeed value of clients contact details password protected on your laptop or the codes to get into various online accounts, not just at the bank, but investments, clubs, paypal and the like, indeed even some Facebook accounts can have a substantial value, or something as simple as the password to your computer. These items could be completely frozen or even lost to your heirs or remaining business partners should you die or loose your senses. Scary eh ?

There is good news however, as long as we act on it, there are loads of website that provide just the service that is required, whereby you can register all your primary codes, passwords and documents that can be accessed by nominated beneficiaries should something unfortunate happen to you. The idea is that you list all the secret or relevant data and attach the access information to get to that data to your will so that it can be retrieved as necessary. The additional benefit is that you can give instructions for the disposal of precious items, that may not be relevant to record in a will, or indeed have been acquired since the will was made. There are all sorts of clever ways that these websites check that you are actually deceased so that the ‘wrong’ person can’t get to the goodies, so we shouldn’t fret about potential loss in that respect.

Of course one could specify that any rock or pop memorabilia be passed straight to Rokpool who will give it a good home, we’re kind like that, however if you don’t do something ( even if it’s only telling your nearest and dearest ) the recycling centre may be getting that collection you spent years acquiring, whilst your family tear their hair out trying to guess your Itunes password and how sad would that be ?

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Ike and Tina TurnerI am constantly amazed by how many musical gems find their way into the hands of the man/woman on the street. Ok, our passion at Rokpool is digging out these goodies and so our radar is tuned to the hunt and of course we always ask the pertinent question of industry insiders, so it’s not surprising when they open up the closet and reveal an extraordinary artifact, however how does someone come by a Tina Turner outtake ?? The guy who gave it to me had no idea where it came from ( he’d had it many years ) so that was no help and I suppose it doesn’t really matter as long as it’s saved for posterity. So what are we talking about here, well believe it or not it’s the outtakes of Tina and Phil Spector recording River Deep Mountain High, it really is an extraordinary item, sure your not going to listen to it a bundle of times but just to imagine being at that session gives a feeling of having been in an auditory time machine, I even think you can hear Ike in the background too. Of course what also comes through is the professionalism of the those involved.

The podcast will be available at Rokpool soon so you’ll be able to take that aural time trip yourself.

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Bing  CrosbyOur raison d’etre is saving rock history but sometimes something comes along that can’t be ignored. Ok so Bing’s not Rock ‘n’ Roll, mind you he certainly had worldwide iconic status barely matched by many stars today and he was certainly a major movie attraction and recording artist. He was not averse to entertaining ‘young ladies’ in a wholly rock god like manner, they weren’t called groupies then and nefarious activity was not celebrated as it is now but certainly went on. If he were alive today he’d certainly be lauded as one of the current greats. So when an opportunity arose to acquire Crosby tapes we couldn’t ignore it.

In our researches Rokpool have rescued countless master recordings, but the tapes we have saved are nearly always single tracks, these are a whole album however. True I’m not sure what we are going to do with Bing Crosby master tapes but we guess someone out there will need them in due course. These were discovered by a colleague at a car boot sale, the woman who had them didn’t really know how her, now deceased husband had come by them and what they were doing in her attic. She also had some Roy Castle tapes too but they’d been sold already to an avid collector, you can just imagine how he felt coming across them!

So if anyone out there should have a need of these recordings well, you know where to come.

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