Archiving is hardly the most glamorous or enjoyable of undertakings. Putting paperwork and other artefacts into storage – in case they are needed later – is not an exciting pastime for most of us. But what if that archived material turned out to be something brilliant? Like 20 hours worth of musical jamming that could form the basis for an album? Or recordings of a Prime Minister in conversation with a President?
Thanks to some wizard archivists there’s always some kind of information that’s coming to light to entertain, intrigue or inform.
So we decided to look at some interesting archives that have come to light in the last few weeks…
The Endless River
Pink Floyd’s first studio album for 20 years was released on Monday. In pre-orders alone it was outselling One Direction and looks set to be another multi-platinum album for the Godfathers of Progressive Rock.
But whilst it is a brand-new album, most of the music is at least 20 years old. The lions share of tracks were recorded during the same sessions as the band’s previous studio album – The Division Bell. Just imagine if someone had wiped the tapes. We’d have missed out on some of the most Pink-floyd-esque Pink Floyd music since Dark Side and Wish You Were Here.
Thank goodness someone looked after them properly (all hail the record company archivist) because we now have an additional Pink Floyd masterpiece to listen to.
Mrs T. takes a call from Ronnie R.
It sounds like an east end gangster movie, but it was in fact a transatlantic phone call. Back in 1983 the USA had just invaded Grenada to overthrow a regime put in place by a military coup. Grenada was part of the Commonwealth, but our American cousins forgot to let us in the UK know what they were up to. Mrs Thatcher was understandably displeased at being kept in the dark, so Ronald Reagan gave her a tinkle to apologise. The Whitehouse got the whole thing on tape and it survived – though more as an accidental archive than a pre-planned one.
Here’s the full story, courtesy of the BBC…
Hancock’s Half Hour (the remake)
A BBC comedy legend, Tony Hancock’s career got into its stride on 1950s radio. He recorded some 103 episodes, but 20 audio recordings went missing (it’s believed they were likely to have been taped over as the BBC recycled its expensive tape media). That’s not very good archiving I hear you say. Well you’re right. Fortunately though someone archived the scripts. And as a treat for Hancock fans, Auntie beeb re-recorded 5 of the missing shows in 2014. Tony Hancock died in 1968 – so the 2014 remakes feature Kevin McNally reprising the role. The first episode has already been aired – but you can catch up with this blast from the comedy past over on the iPlayer – but here’s a taster…
If you’ve got something worth archiving – from company documents, recording media, stage props or art installations – we’ve got all the space you’ll need.