Tag Archives: BBC

New Catalogue: Papers of Louis MacNeice

The catalogue of the papers of the Northern Irish poet and playwright Louis MacNeice (1907-1963) is now available online.

MacNeice studied Classics at Oxford from 1926, and together with Stephen Spender and Cecil Day-Lewis, he became part of the circle of poets and writer that had formed around W.H. Auden. His professional life began in 1930 as a lecturer in Classics, but in 1941 he joined the BBC and for the next twenty years produced radio plays and other programmes for the Features Department.

Whilst he also wrote articles and reviews, theatre plays, a novel and even a children’s book, MacNeice is best known for his poetry. Between 1929 and 1963, he published more than a dozen poetry volumes, such as Autumn Journal (1939) – regarded by many as his masterpiece, Springboard (1944), Holes in the Sky (1948), Ten Burnt Offerings (1952), and Visitations (1957). His last poetry volume, The Burning Perch came out just a few days after MacNeice’s untimely death in autumn 1963.

Amongst other works published posthumously were a book entitled Astrology (1964), Selected Poems (1964) edited by W.H. Auden, the autobiography The Strings are False (1965) edited by E.R. Dodds, and Varieties of Parable (1965), as well as the radio/ theatre plays The Mad Islands and The Administrator (1964), One for the Grave (1968) and Persons from Porlock (1969), and the song cycle The Revenant (1975).

(Frederick) Louis MacNeice by Howard Coster,
nitrate negative, 1942. NPG x1624.
© National Portrait Gallery, London.
(CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

The archive at the Bodleian Libraries comprises more than 70 boxes of literary papers and other material relating to Louis MacNeice’s career as a writer, as well as extensive personal and professional correspondence, and some personal papers. Continue reading

Vintage Computing Festival

Yesterday I took a trip to the first official Vintage Computing Festival in Britain. I was a little surprised to hear that it was the first, but I imagine that there are plenty of ‘unofficial’ gatherings too. This event was held by the National Museum of Computing in Bletchley Park, which warrants a visit in its own right.

For the weekend’s festival, Bletchley was transformed into vintage computing heaven: a couple of marquees and the ground floor of the house were packed with computers of all makes and models, each one up and running and ready for some hands-on time. The vast majority were being used for gaming – chuckie egg was all over the place – but I did spot the odd word-processing application here and there.

I thought I’d post some pictures from two exhibits that really caught my eye.

First was the BBC playing the 1980s BBC Domesday project from laserdisc. Look right and you’ll see some video footage that we found having searched for ‘falklands’. I’ve read quite a bit about the BBC Domesday laserdiscs over the years (after the CAMiLEON project they’ve become digital preservation folklore), but seeing the content at stake, and interacting with it on a contemporary platform is something quite special. I also suffer from BBC Micro nostalgia (though this is a Master).

This other I’m including partly for nostalgic reasons (I loved my spectrums, and so did my sister and my grandfather 🙂 ), and partly because it amused me. Twittering from a spectrum! Whatever next?!

-Susan Thomas

Carved in Silicon

Just found an article on the BBC site that is of interest – ‘Rosetta stone’ offers digital lifeline. Some nice pointers to research on the life of CDs and DVDs with numbers to use at presentations and it is comforting to read that what we’re trying to do Just Aint Easy(tm).

I rather like this too:

“…the digital data archivists’ arch enemy: magnetic polarity

(I added the bold!)

Does that make digital archivists like the X-Men ? 😉

-Peter Cliff