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Music Matters

13 April 2011 by Lucy

Our press office volunteer Jack is back again, with his musings about collecting popular music…beyond the museum.


A Beatles-inspired lunchbox

One of the many collectables people may have associated with popular music

Collecting tickets from music concerts is an age old custom amongst many people including myself, in order to preserve the memory of the occasion or simply to say ‘I was there’. This in itself is nothing extraordinary. The question, however, is how significant these physical remnants are in relation to the music itself and why we, as music lovers, conserve them. How do we treat these objects, both personally and through our museums? Is it all about the music or are the relative keepsakes just as important?

The Institute of Popular Music will be holding a discussion at the Merseyside Maritime Museum this Saturday 16 April, when Museum of Liverpool curator of the Wondrous Place gallery, Paul Gallagher will discuss this and present plans for popular music at the new museum, which opens on 19 July. 

Pop behind glass’ will begin at 1.30pm and will focus on how museums have treated popular music objects. At 3pm, ‘Sound obsession’ will begin in which three people with different relationships with popular music objects will discuss their own collecting, histories and memories associated with them. The session will include BBC Radio Merseyside’s Claire Hamilton, legendary graphic designer and record collector Steve Hardstaff and Liz West, visual artist and the UK’s premier Spice Girls collector.

A documentary will also be made throughout the day providing visitors with the chance to recollect some of their own memories and pop music objects. Whether it is a Michael Jackson ticket stub, a Beatles lunch box or even the newly released Justin Bieber nail varnish, visitors are sure to have countless musical mementos to discuss and ponder.

Why do we build up a dusty pile of personal musical artefacts? Hopefully this will be a lot clearer after Saturday’s discussion. If not, you can find comfort in the knowledge that you are not the only who one has preserved a Spice Girls dinner plate.

There will also be two free discussion workshops. One at 10am for the over 25s and one 11.30am, which will be aimed particularly at people aged 16 – 25.  Places in the workshop are limited, so email robert.knifton@liv.ac.uk or call 0151 794 3102 if you’re interested in joining in.

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