John Peel’s vast record collection contains over 26,000 LP’s, 40,000 singles and many thousands of CDs - it really is quite awesome. With the help and support of John’s family, we are taking the first steps in making John’s amazing collection available through an interactive online archive. The John Peel Archive is featuring on The Space - an Arts Council funded and BBC supported digital arts service, which will be available for 26 weeks from May - October 2012. The £3.5 million funding for The Space is being shared between 53 different arts projects, of which ours is one.
Because of the tight timescales and the funding only running until October, what we are doing on The Space is very much only the beginning of what we hope will be an even more exciting project. In the long term, and with extra funding, we hope to release the entire contents of John’s huge collection.
In the meantime, we have done a lot thinking and talking with John’s family about how best to make his unique collection available within the constraints, and how we can do it in a way that people can really engage with.
After some deliberation we decided that the best way to start the process was to release the details of the first 100 albums, listed alphabetically, from each letter of the alphabet each week. So on 1st May we will release the first 100 A's, on 8th May the first 100 B's, 15th May first 100 C's, and so on.
We also hope that by doing it on a week by week basis, you will keep coming back week after week, eager and excited to explore more of John’s collection.
Each of these releases of 100 records will be accompanied by one mini documentary video of a featured artiste for that week. These are pretty special, as the artistes have been chosen by Sheila, John’s wife, and their children - so they are all artistes who meant something to John and his family.
When you come to the website you will see John Peel’s home studio, from which you will be able to access the contents of the record collection as it is added each week, as well as other videos added each week, photos, peel sessions and radio shows. Once in the collection you will be able to move up and down the shelves of the record collection, picking out certain choice records and going through the first 100 as though you were standing in front of the shelves in John’s studio.
You will be able to see the hand-typed cards that John diligently typed for every album in the collection, the record sleeves, as well as listening to tracks via spotify and itunes where available.
And because we know that John meant a great deal to many people, we will be helping you to connect with other music lovers and Peel fans through our John Peel Archive social media accounts (see below). Look out for never-before seen material, like letters to John, being exclusively released via social media. This will also be a great way to stay up to date with new material being released each week - so please do ‘follow’, ‘like’ and say hello - we want to hear from you and your stories of John.
In our heads throughout the planning process, has been making sure that we do John (and his fans) proud and ensure that the legacy of this legendary man lives on.
We hope you like the John Peel Archive - and that John would have done too.