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BBC - Saving the Sounds of History

GUEST,Chris B. 25 Dec 10 - 11:00 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 25 Dec 10 - 12:49 PM
framus 25 Dec 10 - 01:36 PM
GUEST,Chris B. 25 Dec 10 - 02:34 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 25 Dec 10 - 05:42 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 25 Dec 10 - 05:57 PM
GUEST,Chris B. 26 Dec 10 - 06:37 AM
Will Fly 26 Dec 10 - 07:20 AM
Ian Burdon 26 Dec 10 - 07:46 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 26 Dec 10 - 07:52 AM
mikesamwild 26 Dec 10 - 07:53 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 26 Dec 10 - 08:02 AM
GUEST,Chris B. 26 Dec 10 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,Sid F 26 Dec 10 - 05:19 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 26 Dec 10 - 06:51 PM
mikesamwild 31 Dec 10 - 09:01 AM
ChrisJBrady 07 Jan 11 - 04:32 AM
ChrisJBrady 07 Jan 11 - 04:47 AM
framus 07 Jan 11 - 10:45 PM
GUEST,Guest- PettyV 07 Nov 12 - 12:04 PM
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Subject: BBC - Saving the Sounds of History
From: GUEST,Chris B.
Date: 25 Dec 10 - 11:00 AM

Does anyone have this, perhaps as a MP3 please? Malcolm Taylor of the RVWML at C#H was a contributor. Many thanks - Chris B.

=======

Saving the sounds of history - The Story of the BBC Sound Archive

From Vietnamese spoon music to the first ever recording of bird song, the BBC presides over an extensive sound archive. The fact it almost wound up on a scrap heap only to be saved by a "temp" is one of the great untold stories of broadcasting history - until now.

In 1936 Marie Slocombe was working as a summer relief secretary at the BBC. One of her tasks was to sort out - and dispose of - a pile of dusty broadcast discs. She noticed that among them were recordings of GB Shaw, HG Wells, Winston Churchill, Herbert Asquith and GK Chesterton. So she hesitated. In that moment was the humble beginning of what became one of the most important collections of recordings in the world - the BBC Sound Archive.

Working with Lynton Fletcher, who was in charge of recorded programmes, Slocombe carried on collecting. She worked in a climate of indifference, even opposition, by BBC management, which doubted the usefulness of recordings, and was troubled by the expense of keeping them. But Slocombe persevered and by 1939 had 2,000 discs, including the voices of Hitler and Goebbels.

"History," she says in a recorded interview made shortly before her death in 1995, "was piling into the archives."

Those who knew her recall with affection her Oxford-educated gentility - floral print dresses and cups and saucers rather than mugs. But she was liberal in her views and no snob. This was not, Slocombe insisted, an archive simply of the great and good. From early on she included the voices of ordinary people from far and wide. After the war she made the archive active rather than merely a passive receptor. It was Slocombe who first co-operated with the Leeds University Dialect Survey, a highly significant oral atlas of British society.

And she sent out recordists to collect songs and interviews from more than 700 people across Britain, used in the series "As They Roved Out". The programme was key to the revival of interest in the traditional music of the country. She effectively created a cell at the heart of the BBC establishment devoted to vernacular culture. The work in preserving folk music and dialect grew out of her involvement in the English folk song and dance society. Slocombe's efforts in this area have become a cornerstone of the society's collection, and helped spark folk's renaissance, says its librarian Malcolm Taylor. "Had that not happened a lot of the folk revival could not have sustained itself. It would have had no touchstone. It's one thing looking at the dots on the paper and the words in text but the sound fleshed it all out."

Slocombe was an enabler and encourager of sound collectors; among others, she brought the famous German natural history recordist Ludwig Koch into the BBC - his collection included the earliest known recording of birdsong, dating from 1890.

Slocombe herself made remarkable field recordings of polyphonic singing in remote parts of Portugal. She gave tapes (and sometimes surreptitiously loaned recording equipment) to people going further afield.

As a result the BBC has a collection of Australian Aboriginal music, the sound of the kind of harp King David played, recorded in Ethiopia , and - something of which she was inordinately fond - some Vietnamese spoon music.

Behind the apparently prim Miss Marple/Joan Hickson image, there was a maverick, mischievous side to Marie Slocombe. She kept what she called "a special cupboard" into which went recordings she deemed to be important, but which were often of a sensitive nature. It is due to Slocombe's foresight - and the "S cupboard" as she coded it - that there exists one of the most famous sound recordings of the 20th Century. The BBC had been told not to record Edward VIII's abdication speech, but Slocombe couldn't resist. It was held under lock and key in the cupboard til she eventually revealed it to a producer, who broadcast it in a feature. Slocombe waited for the storm... but it never came.

"It was her and a couple of people she worked with that really saw the value of retaining recordings for the future," says Simon Rooks, who as the current BBC archivist manages Slocombe's legacy. "And she really was the one that set about organising them - archives are no good unless you can find them again. It's no good if you just shove them on a shelf. In the mid-40s onwards she was driving what was being collected and laying the foundations of what we have today." The self-appointed mission of her and her colleagues was to capture the life of the nation, for future recordings and for history, he says.

The BBC's Sound Archives are, and not before time, becoming more accessible to the public. There are 20,000 people involved in a trial which could lead to parts of the archive becoming available for download. Until then, access is restricted to visiting the British Library and listening on site. It's an ambition Slocombe would have approved of. She possessed great foresight in thinking how future generations would value the recordings and better understand history, says Rooks. "Where she was a real pioneer was in saying that these sound recordings are historical documents and just as important as a book and as valuable. She was thinking 'what will people think in 100 years? Will people remember who Hitler was?'"

One episode of approximately one hour presented by Sean Street, Professor of Radio at Bournemouth University.

=======


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Subject: RE: BBC - Saving the Sounds of History
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 25 Dec 10 - 12:49 PM

Chris...When was this broadcast? I'm assuming Radio 4..If it was the Archive hour strand, I might be able to help...


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Subject: RE: BBC - Saving the Sounds of History
From: framus
Date: 25 Dec 10 - 01:36 PM

I thought Mrs Slocombe worked in Grace Brothers and was very fond of her pussy.


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Subject: RE: BBC - Saving the Sounds of History
From: GUEST,Chris B.
Date: 25 Dec 10 - 02:34 PM

Thank you. It was recorded in either 1986 or broadcast in 2007. There is a reference at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/archive_pioneers/6502.shtml
http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/archive_pioneers/6501.shtml


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Subject: RE: BBC - Saving the Sounds of History
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 25 Dec 10 - 05:42 PM

I'll do some digging....Spent a lot of time at the Beeb, still have a few contacts..Any more specifics would be nice, If it was recorded on 1986, there's a good chance that it's safe in the Archive! It was the 60s/70s stuff that got wiped...
If I ever see something of interest on the Beeb, I instantly zap it it onto my hard drive....Delia Derbyshire anyone?
(The Lady what wrote the Dr Who theme!)


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Subject: RE: BBC - Saving the Sounds of History
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 25 Dec 10 - 05:57 PM

Delia Derbyshire anyone?

Respect!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MA6Fb0nuAYw


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Subject: RE: BBC - Saving the Sounds of History
From: GUEST,Chris B.
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 06:37 AM

The progs are all here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/archive_pioneers/6502.shtml

http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/archive_pioneers/6504.shtml

and more ...

And available for downloading using Orbit - Flashget - Audacity.


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Subject: RE: BBC - Saving the Sounds of History
From: Will Fly
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 07:20 AM

I remember Marie Slocombe in her last years at the Beeb - Sound Archives at that time was just around the corner from where I worked - and a lovely lady she was. The basement was a treasure trove of recordings which some BBC staff, if they asked nicely and without too much talk about it, could borrow and listen to at home. I found a clutch of old Goon Shows which, at that time were not yet publicly available for purchase. There was also a "top secret" tape of part of an interview with Harold Wilson which was cut from broadcast. He threatened to sue the BBC if the contents were leaked. They were not leaked to the press as I recall, but there were certainly copies of the tape doing the rounds! It was innocuous by today's standards - questions to Wilson as to what he intended to do with money accruing from his future memoirs - but he certainly got the hump.


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Subject: RE: BBC - Saving the Sounds of History
From: Ian Burdon
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 07:46 AM

Delia didn't write the theme as such, Ron Grainer did. He sketched out the score and said the kind of effects he wanted (swoosh!) and went on holiday. When he came back and heard what Delia has done he said "Did I write that"? to which Delia replied "Most of it". He wanted her to have co-credit but the BBC wouldn't have any of it.

Her 4 Inventions for Radio with Barry Bermange are stunning - or at least the three that I have are (Dreams, Amor Dei, The Afterlife)as was her occasional music for other things and the magnificent ELectric Storm album with David Vorhaus and Brian Hodgson (who created the sound of the Tardis by running a key up and down a piano string then reversing the tape). Bits of her work also appeared without credit in The Tomorrow People.

I have quite a lot of her stuff but am always looking for more. And who knows what is in her personal archive which is now held in a University. She certainly worked with Paul McCartney briefly in the late sixties and I think Pink Floyd too.


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Subject: RE: BBC - Saving the Sounds of History
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 07:52 AM

Hi Will. I've heard the Wilson tape. (sadly don't have a copy). I seem to remember part of it turning up on Private Eye xmas flexi disc one year..."Why are you asking me these questions? You don't ask Mr Heath were he gets the money for his yacht? When you've asked him, come back and ask me...And I don't want this getting out, I've never been to the BBC without something leaking!"
Hardly Jonathan Ross standards, but amusing for its time!


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Subject: RE: BBC - Saving the Sounds of History
From: mikesamwild
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 07:53 AM

Hi Will I had one of those tapes with wilson swearing and drunken presenteres etc . Great fun.

I think it was Doc Rowe who told me of people smuggling material out of BBC Midlands by Sydney Carter etc before it was trashed. Crazy!


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Subject: RE: BBC - Saving the Sounds of History
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 08:02 AM

I've got an hour of such stuff.....The Gary Glitter still amazes me!
They used to be passed around to the regions at christmas time, to relieve the boredom of working!


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Subject: RE: BBC - Saving the Sounds of History
From: GUEST,Chris B.
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 09:55 AM

"And she sent out recordists to collect songs and interviews from more than 700 people across Britain, used in the series "As They Roved Out". The programme was key to the revival of interest in the traditional music of the country. She effectively created a cell at the heart of the BBC establishment devoted to vernacular culture. The work in preserving folk music and dialect grew out of her involvement in the English folk song and dance society. Slocombe's efforts in this area have become a cornerstone of the society's collection, and helped spark folk's renaissance, says its librarian Malcolm Taylor. "Had that not happened a lot of the folk revival could not have sustained itself. It would have had no touchstone. It's one thing looking at the dots on the paper and the words in text but the sound fleshed it all out."

And where are the recordings of "As They Roved Out"? Why aren't they in the public domain?


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Subject: RE: BBC - Saving the Sounds of History
From: GUEST,Sid F
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 05:19 PM

For those of you who have paid money into the BBC because of their ridiculous license fee, perhaps you should demand that their archives belong to you - the nation - and should be both protected and available for access.


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Subject: RE: BBC - Saving the Sounds of History
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 06:51 PM

Nice idea in theory Sid F...Slightly impractical, as everything has to be digitised in real time. Assuming that you have machines that can play the originals..As an example Very few companies still make DAT machines. A Dat M'c is only really reliable for 5000 hours-ish...there aren't enough DAT machines left in the world to replay the 100,000 odd hours of DAT tapes!! Reel to Reel tapes??? Conservative guess at 1,000,000 hours. After digitising, cataloging,
Uploading to a Website, which the BBC are closing fast at the moment. I could go on.
How many people work in the Archive section for all of BBC Radio, about 15.
Painting the Forth bridge is childs play in comparison...
So, you have to find people to choose...Who makes the choice? What is the criteria? And, who's going to pay for it. for the next 100 years? (And don't forget, new programmes are being made every day)
It's not that simple.


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Subject: RE: BBC - Saving the Sounds of History
From: mikesamwild
Date: 31 Dec 10 - 09:01 AM

Are there any As I Roved Out archives?
What we need is a 'New Deal' type project like in Rooseveldt's USA in the 30s. There must be enough unemployed artists who'd jump at the chance!


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Subject: RE: BBC - Saving the Sounds of History
From: ChrisJBrady
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 04:32 AM

Sounds of History currently at

http://www.mediafire.com/?wsrjrk77a8h6cd7


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Subject: RE: BBC - Saving the Sounds of History
From: ChrisJBrady
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 04:47 AM

Sorry - upload now gone. But it can be found gere:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/archive_pioneers/6502.shtml


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Subject: RE: BBC - Saving the Sounds of History
From: framus
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 10:45 PM

Maybe too eclectic. Is anyone into the Stanley Schofield TT recordings? I doubt if they're held anywhere else but on vinyl.


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Subject: RE: BBC - Saving the Sounds of History
From: GUEST,Guest- PettyV
Date: 07 Nov 12 - 12:04 PM

AAnyone have Delia Derbyshire Barry Bermange Inventions For Radio "Amor Dei" ?...Ian?


-PettyV


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