Wednesday, 18 April 2012

MEMORIES: Goodbye To Ceefax/Teletext

So as the powers that be prepare to switch off the analogue TV signal in London, it signals the end for the Ceefax service, which is now replaced by a digital teletext service. Lots of people (especially my age who grew up in the 90s) will have fond memories of Ceefax... It was almost like a pre-internet source of information where you could check TV listings, read news headlines, find out the weather forecast, check football results... But for me BBC's Ceefax always came second to Channel 4's old Teletext service, which ceased in 2008. Why did I prefer Teletext to Ceefax? Because of 'Planet Sound', the music news and reviews section that was updated regularly and kept me informed about the music news in the days before I could get So even though Ceefax wasn't quite the same thing as Teletext, and the latter has now been defunct for nearly five years, I feel a duty to say goodbye to Ceefax since it signals the complete end of Teletext. 

Here from Wikipedia is an article about 'Planet Sound'...

Planet Sound was a Teletext music page on ITV and Channel 4 in the UK. It was broadcast on analogue Teletext from page 340, and on digital Teletext from page 820. From May 24, 2007, Planet Sound was also available to read online via the Teletext website. The pages were all simultaneously updated daily at 10pm.

Teletext's predecessor ORACLE ran a similar music section in the 1980s. Future PS editor John Earls had reader reviews printed, aged 14, in ORACLE's Blue Suede Views of 1987 albums by ABC, Pet Shop Boys and Westworld under the pseudonym Jetty.
Planet Sound (named after the Pixies song Planet of Sound) began in 1997, when its chief writer was Stephen Eastwood. Other past writers for Planet Sound include Jacqui Swift, now a music writer for The Sun's Friday entertainment supplement Something For The Weekend, Alistair Clay and Andy Panos. Its chief writer since January 2001 was John Earls.
Since November 2008, when its other freelancers were made redundant, Earls was Planet Sound's sole writer. Regular freelancers included Ian Gittins, who also writes about music for The Guardian, Colin Irwin, the former Planet Sound editor and folk music expert who is regularly a judge on the Mercury Music Prize, Ric Rawlins, who is also Reviews Editor of online music magazine Artrocker, Kat Lister, a freelancer for NME, Tom Thorogood, now a journalist at MTV, Innes Weir, who also contributes to music magazine M8 and Natalie Shaw, a freelancer for Gigwise, Clash and Notion who is now the Editor of Muso's Guide. Planet Sound closed on the 15th December when Teletext ceased to broadcast in the UK.
Music coverage

Planet Sound dealt with all genres of music, mostly of the Indie rock variety. It promoted various artists that are underground as well as more established acts. Planet Sound also helped to discover the band Hope of the States via its weekly demo page. Others to receive favourable demo reviews include Maxïmo Park, Nine Black Alps, Kubichek!, Luxembourg, Komakino, Shady Bard, Calvin Harris, The Twilight Sad, The Strange Death of Liberal England, The Coolabahs and The Others.
Other acts that have been promoted at the earliest stage of their careers include Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs, Razorlight, Arcade Fire, Franz Ferdinand, Keane, Editors, Snow Patrol, Klaxons, Kasabian, HARD-Fi, Elbow, The Magic Numbers, The Feeling, Scissor Sisters, The Killers, Guillemots, iLiKETRAiNS, The Maccabees, The Twang, Jamie T, Liam Frost, Amy Winehouse, Dizzee Rascal, Little Man Tate, The Courteeners, Patrick Watson and The Metros.

Planet Sound ran a Top 50 for the best singles and albums each year, as decided by John Earls and - until he left Teletext in 2005 - its then-editor, Colin Irwin. Planet Sound had a policy of only including one release per artist per year, so that anyone with a mention in Top 50 singles of the year will not be included in that year's Top 50 albums, and vice versa.

It was announced on 17 July 2009 that Planet Sound was to end in January 2010.
This was brought forward slightly and the final Planet Sound was published on Monday 14 December 2009, the final edition featured many musicians sharing their fave memories of Planet Sound and Teletext and a final Void viewers page followed by a final message from John Earls. Earls has now started up his own record label called WET Records.

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