John Peel's The Space online record collection goes live


John Peel's wife Sheila Ravenscroft explained the selection process for the archive

The names of the first 100 albums of the late DJ John Peel's record collection have been published online.

The John Peel Centre, in Stowmarket, is behind the project, called The Space, which aims to recreate the late broadcaster's home studio and library.

Peel, who died in 2004, had a collection of about 25,000 vinyl albums. The names of about 100 will be added in alphabetical order each week.

Among the first artists are Abba, ABC, AC/DC and Adam & The Ants.

The website does not allow users to listen to the albums but there will be links to other websites which offer this.

There should be 2,600 album names put online by October, which is the period covered by Arts Council funding for the project.

Covers and cards

The website also features a video interview with Mike Absalom, a singer-songwriter, poet and artist whose Save The Last Gherkin For Me (1968) was 001 in Peel's card index system.

Eye Film & Television, based in Norwich, has produced new films for the project and digitised the album covers and Mr Peel's index cards.

Mike Absalom Mike Absalom playing the phonofiddle in Kensington, London, in 1967

Charlie Gauvain, Eye's managing director, said: "These cards have been scanned, often with typos, so we have tried to make it personal and make it feel the way that John kept his LPs.

"People will be able to trawl through the site, find a lot of information, link out and start lots of discussions, but the whole thing is about introducing people to stuff they hadn't heard of."

Andrew Stringer, a director of the John Peel Centre, said: "This is just the first step and a fantastic portal to give the career of John Peel the justice it deserves.

"Whether people listened to his shows or not, their social history has been influenced by him because nothing was deemed 'out of the box' and it encouraged people to expand their horizons.

"Would punk have been the movement it was without John? I very much doubt it."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    The titles of someones record collection will be published online
    Why is this news ?
    What next - the HMV stocklist ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.

    Love the web site!
    Reminds me of my own vinyl collection, long since replaced with mp3/FLAC/APE etc, and my very similar card index system, also long since replaced with ID3v2 tags, complete with lyrics, biography etc , and far faster to search!
    My only gripe is that they haven't bothered to OCR the index card, or link the info to Wikipedia/Discogs....
    Never mind.

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    They'd have saved a bit of space if they just put out the albums he actually bought in a shop rather than the thousands he got free.

    I'm glad John Peel is not being forgotten though. I wish his influence extended to changing the name of 6 Music to Radio 1 and scrapping most of the latter..

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    Because, Alan, half of his collection is probably not available to buy. Whether it's rare, deleted, or it came from a band who only had a limited number produced, I can bet you'd never be able to find half the stuff in that collection nowadays.

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    I think the website is great. It feels like you're really browsing through his collection. I don't know what people are complaining about.

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    Even in today's SyCo dominated music scene, the new John Peels are blossoming. Mary Anne Hobbs should never have been moved from BBC, although I can see that years of being on at 2am can grate. The underground will never die, good music is always being made, and there are always going to be those who can help you find it. Big up to John Peel, a true pioneer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    I listened to Peel in the late seventies and into the eighties. You pick the music you like and ignore the music you don't like. If it wasn't for Peel playing music for cultural interest rather than commercial gain, we would be very sheltered in the type of music we listen too. My particular favourite 'wierd' band? ....and the native hipsters! Thanks John!

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    Does this not typify why folks get so wound up about wasting tax payers money.
    Peel was a legend, and his legacy should be preserved, and yes with tax payers money if needs be.
    But the Web site is a joke, a six year old could do better.
    The sheer lack of professionalism here is breathtaking.

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    Hi Todayigive up. Re John Peel and the TOTP appearance playing mandolin. My understanding is that John Peel did not actually play mandolin, but hew was invited to mime on the performance for two reasons, 1) as a thank you for playing their early music on Radio 1, and 2) they didnt have anyone else to do it. This has been confirmed in broadcast interviews.

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    92. rh28
    Complete waste of time. Peel is the most overrated human ever
    I think Al Gore or Obama's Nobel Peace Prize alone rather contradict your claims. Still, you should win a prize for greatest HYS exaggeration!

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    @ 92.rh28 :
    An ELP fan calling Peel overrated? Now that is irony. I agree with Robert Christgau on this one. Oh, and with John of course.

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    Funny how John Peel still seems to be around in so many people's fond memories. I can hear him speaking now in my head - not just pop music,his Saturday morning Radio 4 'Home Truths' show was extraordinarily well done. Clever,witty,dry,informed and very human...They broke the mold when they made John,and he died far too young.

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    A dreadful website for an extremely worthwhile project. How on earth are you meant to navigate it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    I think John Peel is a cultural icon who played a hugely iinfluential role in the development or our national 'ear' for music.

    I bet his record collection has shaped most of us in various ways and I hope it will be preserved for all of us.

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    rh28 your comment is crass and stupid - unlike Mr Ravenscroft thankfully.

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    Lovely idea, dreadful website - extraordinarily difficult to navigate. Never seen so many dead ends and non-responsive pages. His memory deserves better. Rock on the Ravenscrofts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    "...and this one fades in, quietly..."
    R.I.P. John.

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    I wondered who was paying for this nonsense so I checked the Arts Council website. It turns out I AM (along with other tax payers). Brilliant!

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    Great memories of John during the punk/new wave era in Cardiff. Back from the pub to hear brilliant music late at night. The Saints, Sham 69, The Damned, Pistols, X-ray Specs, The Clash etc. etc. He made radio unmissable. You will never be replaced John.

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    Complete waste of time. Peel is the most overrated human ever. I loved Greg Lake's response when asked about Peel's criticism of ELP at the IoW Festival. If I quote it verbatim this post will be removed in secs after a stream of complaints by over sensitive devotees. Suffice to say Greg commented on their respective current activities and took a view that he was satisfied with the situation!


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