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S J Birkill
MV Administrator

just a sensible reserve

Posts: 643
Old Forum
« : 01.08.04 at 16:21 »

Between now and the closure of MV's e-mail version on September 5th, I shall use this thread to post selected messages from the old e-mail forum to what may prove to be an expanded membership here. I shall of course delete e-mail addresses in the original posts. Please don't attempt to post replies in this thread.
S J Birkill, Administrator
S J Birkill
MV Administrator

just a sensible reserve

Posts: 643
MV10901: Big change coming to MV
« Reply #1: 01.08.04 at 16:25 »

Date: Sun, 01 Aug 2004 14:34:32 +0100
From: S J Birkill
Subject: Big change coming to MV
Dear All
It's time for a shake-up. Please read on: this will affect YOU!
Love it or loathe it, we've been operating MV as an e-mail forum for close
on seven years now. To avoid the horrors of automated e-mail systems I've
always operated MV manually, forwarding your messages to the membership  
365 days a year, except when temporarily out of range, as during a long-haul  
In case you think I'm exaggerating, the 'horrors' in question are real
enough: three days ago, in one system I subscribe to, a member
inadvertently set up an autoresponder which generated an untrapped loop;
each subscriber has been receiving "Leon Silverman is out of the office"
messages three times per minute since then. Each time around the loop the
message has grown, quoting itself and quoting the quotes. Soon it began to
truncate, leaving only the board's 'unsubscribe' line repeated a few
hundred times. Not that anyone could get into the system to unsubscribe
So, we've not had that kind of nonsense. Nor have we had mails with spam,
viruses or images, inappropriate or otherwise, though of course such things
have come in to MV on several occasions -- I've just filtered them out of
what's been circulated. I think it's worked well, and we've certainly
achieved a lot. However I think all must agree that over the last couple of
years things have turned a little stale: runs of silent days alternate with
floods of trivia or backbiting, with little new debate about our principal
topic. There hasn't even been very much excitement over announcements of
new recordings, tours or the forthcoming ToD convention (now scaled down to
PoD, I guess). And yet we have a loyal membership of over 500, most of whom
I believe do read the bulk of what goes through.
I've decided, unilaterally but with Pete's approval, to switch to a
Web-based forum. MV will run as a public bulletin board, with the same
topics, aims and objectives as before, but it will be readable across the
public internet. The system I'm using may be familiar to some: it's called
YaBB, 'Yet another Bulletin Board'. It operates almost identically to
commercial boards, but being an open-source project it's free, and fully
customizable: I've been able to draw on modifications from the vast
community of users to tailor its operation and presentation to suit MV.
This will not suit everyone: in the heyday of MV I was urged by one or two
members to switch to such a system, but I didn't believe the time was
right; we'd built up MV by e-mail since 1997, and the vast majority liked
it that way. Some had only limited Web access, whilst they could collect
e-mail readily either at work or at home. Most were on dial-up connections,
at typical data rates of 40kbits/s: reloading large Web pages to read was
frustratingly slow and composing a message or reply while on line expensive
and dangerous -- a dropped connection could result in a lost masterpiece.
But things have moved on. Most of our regular contributors have always-on
broadband connections, and a Web board has become a far more attractive
proposition. Indeed, many internet users only feel totally at home on the
Web, and prefer its dynamics: to compose a message in the knowledge it will
appear in the in-boxes of 500 strangers takes a certain kind of nerve; to
add a quick comment to a Web page is somehow less personal, while also
favouring the spontaneous, informal reply.
But do we want all and sundry to read our messages? I think that, with a
few safeguards, the answer must be yes -- one of MV's missions is to
further the public recognition and commercial success of Pete's work: fame
and fortune! As currently configured, the forum is readable by all but
allows only members to post, though achieving membership needs only a valid
e-mail address; I haven't implemented e-mail domain filtering at this
stage, which could exclude throwaway addresses (hotmail, yahoo and such).
Members are allowed to adopt a pseudonym, and are advised to accept the
option of hiding their e-mail addresses from display.
The forum is divided into 'boards', each with its own moderator. Each
moderator has the power to delete or modify posts made to his or her board,
or politely to suggest a message be better posted elsewhere. In this way he
(or she) has immediate control over misbehaviour, or undesirable elements
infiltrating MV. Of course, such actions will not be taken lightly, as when
the moderator merely disagrees with the views expressed in the post. In the
event of more serious infringements, he can refer the matter to the MV
administrator (that's where I come in) who has the power to move messages
between boards, ban members from posting, exclude IP addresses (to prevent
violators signing up again under a new name) and so on.
Together with a small number of active MV members, I have been testing the
new system for the past 2 weeks. I have proposed the names of current
members who might like to moderate some of the forums, and have had replies
from some, so I have a fairly good idea of just who will be taking on which
one. I will notify those involved in the next few days and activate their
moderator status; until then I'm hanging on to that privilege myself.
However I'd like at this stage to invite you all to log in to the new MV at
You can view the messages posted so far just by clicking on the board or
thread titles -- even if you're unfamiliar with this style of forum you'll
soon learn your way around. In order to post a message you must 'Login',
and before doing that you must 'Register'. You need to accept a boilerplate
agreement (which in due course I will tweak to make it more appropriate)
and provide a 'Username' and a working e-mail address. You will then
receive your password by automated e-mail -- it will appear to come from me
as administrator but will in fact be direct from MV. You may then use that
username and password combination to 'Login', at which point you might like
to click 'Profile', change your password to something you can remember and
enter the name you wish to by known by in MV, which can be different from
your 'Username', or indeed your real name. Note that this login is
individual to you: it is quite distinct from the current members' area
login on the Website.
I'd like to know your opinions, if any, of the new MV. However, I'd prefer
your comments to be presented via the new forum rather than the e-mail one,
but definitely not by private mail to me: I have nowhere near enough time
available to discuss the change individually with >500 of you, or even
acknowledge your messages. So, even though you hate it and it'll be the
only time you ever use it, if you wish to say so please post a message to
that effect. I have opened three new threads, 'Love it!', 'Hate it!' and
'Accept it' for any comments you may wish to make. I'm sure a great many
will not wish to change, but please give it a chance. Feel free to start a
new thread under any of the board headings you may think appropriate.
Yes, you do need to look around to see what to read -- which categories and
replies are likely to interest you, and what's new since last time you
visited -- but I've tried to configure things to aid this process: when you
log in you'll see highlights against boards with new posts, and against
threads in each board, and at the foot of the main page there's a list of
the ten most recent posts, expandable to show up to 500, with all titles
linked directly to the actual post.  
I expect it will take another week or so for everything to settle down,
especially as some proposed moderators will have been on holiday, so the
forum will not be fully live (there's no mention of it yet on the Website)
for a few days. E-mail MV will continue for a transitional period, but I
intend to close it down fully at the end of MV's seventh birthday week, on
September 5th.
Inevitably we'll lose a large number of members in the transition: there
must be those who are content to receive daily or weekly e-mails, but won't
bother to sign up or remember to connect to the Web forum on a regular
basis. I think we must just accept this, in the belief that those who
participate by posting messages, attending events or buying the CDs will
make the effort to move with us.
I'll update you all further as we move the new MV from 'test' to 'live'
status, and when we're about to close down the e-mail version.
Best Wishes to all
Stephen J Birkill
Administrator, 'Midnight Voices'
Webmaster, 'Smash Flops'
« Last Edit: 02.08.04 at 13:34 by S J Birkill »    share
S J Birkill
MV Administrator

just a sensible reserve

Posts: 643
MV10902: Administrator's Report
« Reply #2: 01.08.04 at 16:31 »

Date: Sun, 01 Aug 2004 15:57:59 +0100
From: S J Birkill
Subject: Administrator's Report
Following on from my announcement of the new forum (MV10901), here's the
current status of the old, with five weeks to go:

Current total  -- 536
Daily list     -- 238
Weekly digest  -- 298
Ex-Voices      -- 382
All-time total -- 918

The latest additions to the membership list, since my last report (MV10358,
January 25th) are as follows:

Dr S Wright                 day  (changed to week)
Ray Rochester               day
Barry Rochester             day  (since resigned)
Michael Hallowell           week
Vic Ockmore                 week
Tony Ryan                   day
Simon Billson               day  (lapsed mbx)
Simon Hales                 day
John Hoffman                day
John Baxter                 week
Ken Prenty                  week
Siobhan Nelson              day  (since resigned)
Chris Lilly                 day
David Morgan                week
Leighton Calvert            week
Paul Callaghan              week
Robert Schofield            week
Alastair McCraw             week (returning)
Kevin Griffiths             day
Liz Watkins                 day  (since resigned)
Steve Bennett               day  (returning)
Andrew Long                 week (returning)
Mandy Brake                 week (returning)
Tim Glover                  day
Delia Walters               week (bad address)
Chris Tothill               week
Joe Stevens                 day
Jim Seth                    week

- welcome to all.
The full e-mail membership list (addresses suppressed of course) is at
The new BBS membership list is at
As always, all requests please to me at <e-mail address>, not to MV. The
current MV 'user guide' may be accessed in the members-only area of the
Website, at
At last the barrage of Netsky P virus mails seems to have ceased. The three
members hosting this worm have either cleaned up their acts or gone on
The new forum seems to be attracting a fair bit of interest in the 90
minutes or so since I announced it. Shortly, no doubt, the weekly digest
group will swell the numbers further.
- Steve Birkill
« Last Edit: 02.08.04 at 13:37 by S J Birkill »    share
S J Birkill
MV Administrator

just a sensible reserve

Posts: 643
MV10913: Try the Forum as a Guest
« Reply #3: 08.08.04 at 14:44 »

Date: Sun, 08 Aug 2004 14:27:47 +0100
From: S J Birkill
Subject: MV10913: Try the Forum as a Guest [Re: MV10901: Big change coming to MV]
Dear Voices
Right, one week on from the private launch of the new MV forum, four weeks
to the closure of the old, and where do we stand?
In case you've not been paying attention, here's the poop:
MV is changing from a mailing list to a Web-based system, the type of thing
variously known as an online message board, bulletin board, Web forum and
no doubt more. The change is not something to dread: most users are
familiar with the Web and will actually find the new set-up easier to handle.
This isn't something trendy and 'yoof'-oriented, it's not a 'chat room',
you'll not be watched and you don't need to install anything new on your
computer! It's just a different way to post and read your MV messages,
available any time at all from any computer connected to the Internet,
You don't even need to commit, or reveal you've ever visited: casual
browsers have 'Guest' status, allowing them to read messages. Only if you
wish to post a message or use MV's advanced features do you need to log in
to the system.
So far, 90 members have registered for full member privileges; perhaps many
more have visited as guests. If you haven't so far, take a peek at the new MV:
'Forum', like 'Board' is a word that can confuse, as variously it's been
used to describe the whole thing, a subject section within the 'whole
thing', and a subsection of that devoted to a particular range of topics. I
shall use a slightly non-standard nomenclature, so please bear with me:  
I shall call the entire system the 'MV Forum'. It's divided into three
sections, headed "Pete Atkin", "Not Pete Atkin", and "Admin". Under each of
these is a set of 'Boards' devoted to specific subjects: "Music", "Words",
"Gigs" and so on. You will see this level of organisation on the main "MV
Home" page, and you'll note also that each board has its own Moderator,
responsible for keeping things clean and tidy.
Also on this page is the "Information Summary" which carries a list of the
latest 10 messages posted in all boards, with direct links to each message,
and the capability of expanding the list to show up to 500 messages. Also
useful forum statistics, plus a note of how many users are currently
connected, including names of those logged in. At the bottom of this
section is the "Login" area, which disappears once you've, er, logged in.
To get to the next level of organisation you simply select a Board heading
that interests you, say "*oDs" for information on our November gathering.
You're then presented with a new screen which lists, at present, four
topics or "Threads" -- more will come along. Against each thread title is
the name of its originator, numbers of views and replies for that thread,
and posting time and name of the latest member to post to the thread. The
threads are arranged always to place the most recently created or updated
at the top of the list.
To read the messages in a Thread, simply click its title. For instance,
under "What shall we ask Pete to do at PoD" you'll see all the posts made
on this topic, in chronological order. In a popular thread the list may run
to several pages, but there are links to aid navigation, including "Top of
Page" and "Jump to Latest Post".
This threading structure replaces the long serial number references of the
'old' MV, enabling you easily to read right through all messages on a
topic. You can use your browser's 'back' button (repeatedly if necessary),
or the menu bar at top and bottom of every screen in the Forum, to return
to the MV Home page.
That's, as far as guests see it. However if you wish to 'Register' as a
Member, there's much more. See my next mail for some notes on this.
Try the forum as a Guest: http://www.peteatkin.com/forum
All the Best
Steve Birkill
MV Administrator.
« Last Edit: 08.08.04 at 14:51 by S J Birkill »    share
S J Birkill
MV Administrator

just a sensible reserve

Posts: 643
MV10914: Forum Membership advantages
« Reply #4: 08.08.04 at 14:47 »

Date: Sun, 08 Aug 2004 14:33:35 +0100
From: S J Birkill
Subject: MV10914: Forum Membership advantages [Re: MV10901: Big change coming to MV]
Dear Voices
In case Web access is difficult for you -- perhaps you have limited access
to a computer, or you download your e-mail by cellphone, PDA or cable TV,
or your employer doesn't like you 'surfing' -- the aforementioned advanced
features allow you to retain a degree of e-mail capability. Of course,
you'll need to access the Forum initially to set them up!
Following on from my last message, here's how to become a Member:
Click the "Register" button on the menu bar, and you'll be asked for a
'username' and an 'Email address'. The user name can be pretty well
anything you like, but the e-mail address must be real, as your log-in
details will be automatically mailed to you. You should give your main
e-mail address, not a disposable one, as it will be used for any
notifications you request. It will NOT be used for spam, and will not be
viewable by anyone except myself and my trusty moderators, unless you opt
to make it public on the Forum. You must also agree to a basic set of rules
-- I shall edit these in due course, but for now it's just the usual 'be
good, stay cool' stuff.
Now collect your e-mail as normal, and you should find a message welcoming
you to MV and giving your 'login' information. Use the "Login" menu button
or complete the "username" and "password" boxes at the bottom of the MV
Home page, and you're in.
[You'll realise this log-in is totally unrelated to that used for the MV
"Members' Area" -- your username and password are individual to you.]
Now you'll see that each page has subtly changed: the "MV" against each
Board will be in red; this will change back to blue once you've visited
that board and returned to refresh the main page. Inside the board, there
will be a "new" flash against every thread with a new post since you last
visited. There's also a "Start new thread" link.
On opening a thread, you'll find you now have the option to "Reply", which
can also be called using the "Quote" button in each message: either way
you'll find a text box to enter your reply; in the latter case the previous
message will be quoted in your reply. You may edit the quoted section to
include just as little of the original message as you wish, and you have
the option to Preview your post before sending it with the Post button.
The menu bar has also changed: "Profile" lets you amend your personal
details on MV; in particular you can change your displayed name to be
different from your 'username', and your password to something you can
remember. "Members" displays a membership list. "Notification" allows you
to request an e-mail whenever a new reply is made to a selected thread;
you'll find "Notify of replies" inside each thread, too.  
I have set up a special "Announcements" thread here
where I shall post important announcements: if you select Notification on
this thread, you'll receive news of forthcoming gigs, broadcasts and CD
releases by e-mail. There's also an "Urgent Things" thread where anyone can
alert members of imminent media appearances -- this might also be a
candidate for your Notifications list.
At the top of the page you'll see that the "Welcome Guest" line has changed
to a personal greeting, and states the number of messages you have. These
are 'MV Instant Messages', which are private communications from one member
to another. You can send an IM by clicking the "Instant Message" link in
the left pane of any post, or by clicking a member's name to reach his or
her Profile page and selecting "Send this member a private message". You
may not ever want to use the IM facility, but note that there is an IM
"Preferences" page which allows you to select e-mail notification of IM's
-- in fact if you select this option the entire message will be sent to
your e-mail address. Just click the "n messages" link in the "Hello" line
at the very top of the screen (you need to be logged in to see this) and
you'll be able to navigate messages sent and received (if any) and amend
your preferences.
That's a quick summary of what you get as an MV Forum member. If you're a
committed lurker and you want none of it, that's OK -- just don't register.
But after closure of the e-mail MV on September 5th you'll no longer be
prompted to visit the Website for updates, so it'll be up to you to remember.
All the Best
Steve Birkill
MV Administrator.
« Last Edit: 08.08.04 at 15:56 by S J Birkill »    share
S J Birkill
MV Administrator

just a sensible reserve

Posts: 643
MV10915: MV Forum -- going live!
« Reply #5: 08.08.04 at 14:47 »

Date: Sun, 08 Aug 2004 14:36:33 +0100
From: S J Birkill
Subject: MV10915: MV Forum -- going live! [Re: MV10901: Big change coming to MV]
Dear All
Well, of course, we're live already -- the system is on line and all
current members have been invited to visit and register:
Next move is we go public. This will happen in the next few days. Just like
crossing the event horizon, you'll not immediately notice any difference,
but from then on there'll be no turning back.
The MV Forum will have a link from the Smash Flops home page, and from
anywhere else on the Internet anyone cares to mention it. Indeed you're
encouraged to tell your friends, blazon it across your own Websites,
publish it in the press and on your radio shows. We'll be listed on Google,
The effect will be that we'll start, very slowly at first I expect, to
accumulate new members who elected not to sign up to the e-mail MV. The
vast majority of these will be welcome additions to the clan, and their
posts will invigorate the forum. But we may get the odd undesirable
element, posting spam, or material unrelated to or unsuitable for MV. This
is where the moderators kick in, deleting messages that don't belong in
their boards. The ultimate sanction is to expell and/or ban a member from
posting, and we have the power to ban by IP address, so troublemakers
cannot easily sign up again under a new name.
So the MV Forum will be just as safe a place as the old e-mail MV, but not
so private: your messages will be visible to anyone, so it's wise to
withhold e-mail addresses and such, though we are encouraging members to
use their real names -- it gives a continuity to MV, which a whole pile of
unrecognisable nicknames wouldn't. The paranoid, however, have this option
to conceal their true identity.
From this point on, may I ask members if possible to direct their posts to
the new forum; to give time for everyone to make the transition I shall
keep the existing e-mail service going for another four weeks from today.
Within this period there's nothing to prevent anyone from posting to both
systems if desired.
All the Best
Steve Birkill
MV Administrator.
S J Birkill
MV Administrator

just a sensible reserve

Posts: 643
MV7500: The old MV 'User Guide'
« Reply #6: 12.08.04 at 00:24 »

...just for those who never got around to reading the 'rules' when we were an e-mail forum. Grin
You may notice it'd been long overdue for an update!

Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2002 09:00:00 +0000
To: Midnight Voices <email address hidden>
From: S J Birkill <email address hidden>
Subject: MV7500: Revised Welcome Message 16.01.02
Dear Midnight Voices member,
Welcome to the Pete Atkin e-mail discussion group. This message goes out to
every new subscriber, and on each revision to all existing members too. The
last revision was MV5500, just over a year ago on January 25th 2001, with a
further small update being circulated on October 20th.
Many 'MV' members discard our posts after reading them, or even before. May
I suggest you file this one in a safe place until the next update, or print
it out for reference.
Please read it, whether you're new or not -- it may answer the question you
were about to ask me. And study the Website -- click on everything, there's
much in there not immediately apparent. If you're stuck for an answer, post
a message to the 'Voices' and you're almost guaranteed a friendly response,
even if no-one can help!  
I intend eventually to reduce the size of this message by making it link to
an on-line FAQ (frequently-asked questions) table. Sorry I'm not there yet.
This message is approximately 21k in size. If you've not received all of it
(as far as my phone numbers), please let me know at <email address hidden>.
History, purpose:
"Smash Flops", the Pete Atkin Website, opened in early 1996, and our e-mail
forum Midnight Voices was created to keep people in communication following
Pete's Monyash Festival appearance in summer 1997. Our present agenda is to
support his continued 'revival' and provide a channel for the dissemination
of news of gigs and record releases, as well as a place in 'cyberspace' for
like-minded individuals to meet and share opinions. Together we have worked
towards greater recognition for the songs of Pete Atkin and Clive James, an
enhanced public profile through more and higher-status concert appearances,
the re-issue of the entire Pete Atkin back catalogue and the recording of a
new studio album. Remarkably, we have achieved these aims. The concert tour
with Clive James begins in March, and while Pete's name remains respectably
obscure outside enlightened circles, it's now no longer such a shock when a
song of his is played on the radio or a review appears in the press.
As I write this in January 2002 we have 435 current members, but please see  
any PS (below) for an update.
MV is not a fan club as such -- it's a mailing list. Membership consists in
belonging to either our daily or our weekly e-mail circulations. We haven't
the resources to support any other form of membership, or to distribute any
information by post, so please don't ask. Members' events, merchandise etc.
are organised by the membership itself, not by any committee, individual or
body, so don't look upon me as some kind of Master of the Revels. However I
do take sole responsibility for the Website and the operation of MV itself.
The group topic is defined (loosely) as "anything relating to Pete Atkin or
his music, and his associates at Cambridge or since on TV, radio, record or
on tour". This of course includes Clive James and Julie Covington and their
own careers, the songs, musicians, lyrics, chords, influences, shows, gigs,
records, tapes, books, films, radio/TV appearances, archives, the Website -
- if you're reading this it's certain you share more than one interest with
the group. Pete and Clive are themselves "Voices" -- Pete posts answers and
commentary every couple of weeks or so; Clive rather less frequently.
How we operate:
The mechanics of our operation are different in detail from those automated
listservers you may have encountered on the Internet. Here at MV, posts are
re-mailed manually (I do it myself) and your e-mail address isn't published
anywhere. You need not fear 'spam' or viruses -- they cannot be transmitted
through MV. All your messages for the group should be in e-mail plain ASCII
text (message body) form (like this one) and addressed to:
                 Midnight Voices <email address hidden>
I will add a header with an MV number and re-mail the message, normally the
same day, to the entire 'daily' circulation list. So, your words are broad-
cast to the rest of the membership, not quite instantly but normally within
a matter of hours, via e-mail. Members choosing the 'weekly' option receive
each weekend a 'digest', concatenating all the previous week's traffic into
one long message.
On average we circulate four or five messages per day. At particularly busy
times this may increase five-fold; equally there are occasions when silence
prevails for several days. Some members have resigned citing 'too much mail
for me to read' -- this surprises me as our volume is about a tenth of what
I see on some professional lists I belong to, and our mail-outs are without
the clutter of quotation that clogs the automated lists. If you can't stand
the pace of 'daily' mailings, try a switch to the 'weekly' list.
To reply to an individual post, simply hit 'Reply' in your e-mail program -
- this will open a new message from you to MV, quoting the original one. If
you don't wish to include the quoted section, just delete it (recommended!)
before hitting Send. Don't use 'Reply All', as that sends me an extra copy.
If you need to make contact with the administration of Midnight Voices, for
instance to change your daily/weekly status or delivery address, to resign,
request a re-send, attach or propose anything off-line for inclusion on the
Website, please don't hit 'Reply' (which sends your message to MV), instead
contact me direct at:  
                    S J Birkill <email address hidden>
If you do send such requests to the 'Midnight Voices' address I shall still
read and act on them, but I'll assume you also wish them distributed to the
whole list. Take care, else your only appearance on MV could be a misplaced
request to unsubscribe!
Message length and quotation:
We naturally prefer concise messages (I don't consider this one excessively
verbose, given its purpose, though you may disagree), but I don't impose an
arbitrary limit on message length -- if it's interesting and on topic it'll
be welcome. Please try to keep quotation of the message being replied to to
a minimum -- you can refer to the previous message by an MV number, author,
and perhaps quote pertinent parts, but you should never need to include the
entire message text, and certainly not the header and sig. If I receive any
with such excessive quotation I'll assume you have quoted inadvertently and
I'll delete the quoted message.
Some e-mail clients have defaults which cause them to ignore messages above
a certain length. Our weekly digests at times extend to around 75k in size,
so please adjust your software if necessary.
Editorial intervention:
Apart from the 'snipping' of long quotes I'll not alter your message in any
way -- any typos, spelling errors or controversial opinions will go through
as received. There is no MV regulating body to endorse or denounce members'
opinions, but expect challenges from other members if you're too outspoken!
On a couple of occasions members have asked me privately whether they ought
to post a particular message, and another time or two I've held back a post
while I discussed content with its writer, but that's only three or four in
7500! If I choose to add a comment or instant answer to a point raised in a  
post I use [square brackets]. If the message already uses those, I [[double
them]]! Circulation of any message through MV does not imply an endorsement  
of its contents either by myself or by Pete Atkin.
Denial of membership:
I've occasionally received complaints about certain members and their posts
to MV. Generally I reply to the complainant asking him (this includes 'her'
-- I strive to avoid the PC 'them' usage) to be more tolerant. Usually this
suggestion is taken in good part, and there the matter rests. However there
may be times when the complaints have real substance. If I judge this to be
the case I'll write privately and politely to the offending person with the
request that he modifies his behaviour. I have only once expelled a member.
Text styles and character coding preferences:
I endeavour to keep MV messages conventional in e-mail terms, i.e. readable
on non-graphical Unix systems. Correct vertical alignment of tables, lists,
character-based diagrams or graphic signatures requires the use of a fixed-
spaced typewriter-style font, 'Courier New' being the most familiar example
among Windows users. Setting this requires you to override default settings
in some of the newer Microsoft or browser-based mail clients (e.g. Netscape
Mail). If your settings are ideal this message will appear fully justified!
It's by no means essential, but it permits you to see these simple graphics
the way their authors intended them.
Styled or HTML text is not always rendered predictably in e-mail. Some mail
systems substitute for non-ASCII characters (the GBP 'Pound' sign, accented
letters) in their own mysterious ways -- many common clients don't even try
to interpret Unicode. For universal compatibility anything other than plain  
ASCII text is best avoided. Messages distributed by MV have all styled text  
attributes and HTML tags removed (HTML is for the Web, not e-mail!) -- your
tiny, italicised or coloured text will not survive my system. Eudora (down-
loadable free on the Web), especially the older version 3, is a capable no-
frills mail program for Windows that lets you control all you need, without
assuming it knows best or imposing the predilections of its author, as some
(e.g. MS Outlook Express) do! Mention of which brings me to...
Attachments, viruses and e-mail 'worms':
Some members' mailers can't handle binary attachments, so we don't transmit
them unless we can convert them simply to plain text. Please restrict posts
to text only -- if you have a relevant binary file (document, audio, image,
video, whatever) to share with other members, send it to me direct. If it's
relevant, I'll be happy to publish it for you via the Website, if necessary
in the secure area accessible to members only. You (or I) will then post an
MV message giving a URL for the new resource. This policy has the secondary
advantage of ensuring that MV will not dump an e-mail virus on you. All the
same, it's wise to be diligent: never open an attachment to any message you
receive unless you know and trust the sender, and he's made reference to it
in the accompanying message. On the subject of viruses, please beware those
'virus warning' chain letters -- they are strictly off-topic here. I should
also advise against copying any message to an open list of addressees, such
as your entire address book -- this is a gift to 'spammers', and you should
never include MV's confidential posting address in such a list.
Bounced messages:
A 'bounced' message is one which your e-mail server returns to us (MV) with
a comment that it was not (for whatever reason) delivered. We no longer re-
send 'bounced' messages automatically. If your bounces appear permanent (if
they number 20 or more consecutively or continue for more than two weeks or
so) we'll first demote you (if you're a 'daily' member) to 'weekly' status.
After three weeks we'll consider you unreachable and remove your entry from
the circulation list. The usual reasons are 'invalid address' (you've moved
on to another ISP without advising us), 'over quota' or 'account inactive'.
Automatic redirections can also fail without any indication to you, so they
are best avoided. If you need to segregate MV messages from your private or
business mail, a free POP/SMTP e-mail account from any of numerous UK-based
ISPs will probably give you better service than Hotmail, Yahoo, MSN or AOL.
Resends and archives:
Every new member receives automatically, on joining, this 'Welcome' message
plus the previous week's digest. 'Daily' members are subscribed immediately
to the daily circulation list, and for completeness (though inevitably with
some repetition) they will also receive at the close of their first week of
membership, that week's digest. Subsequently they will receive only 'daily'
Should you somehow miss a message and can't wait until it's uploaded to the
Website, mail me (direct please) and request a re-send. If it's less than a
week old you'll get just the message(s) requested, but if it's older you'll
receive the appropriate week's digest. Remember -- messages over a week old  
can always be accessed via the Website!
If you're a new 'Voice' you should familiarise yourself with 'Smash Flops',
our oxymoronically-titled Website, at:
http://www.peteatkin.com (also http://peteatkin.com)
There's also a redirection from  
and a link from our previous long-term home  
In order to bypass the 'Enter' page, set your bookmark (or 'favorite') from
-- your first contact point for background, links, news, releases and gigs.
This is the Pete Atkin home page, and carries links to all the site's other
features, including:
http://www.peteatkin.com/padiscog.htm -- discography, with lyrics & chords.
http://www.peteatkin.com/disworks.htm -- as above but all in one long page.
http://www.peteatkin.com/audio.htm -- full listing of the 'RA' sound clips.
We also carry MV message archives. There's a public-access hot-linked index
page, but due to the work involved this contains only Year One of MV posts,
with all personal details and e-mail addresses removed. These are available
also in a ZIPped downloadable version. For the full-text archive, we have a
password-protected members-only area with the original unedited plain ASCII
text messages, complete up to the previous week.
http://www.peteatkin.com/mvindex.htm -- HTML archive of MV Year 1 messages.
http://www.peteatkin.com/mvindex.zip -- same, neatly packaged for download.
http://www.peteatkin.com/mv/mvdigyr1.txt - full text archive of first year.
http://www.peteatkin.com/mv/mvdigyr1.zip - ZIPped text, Year 1. Use WinZIP.
http://www.peteatkin.com/mv/mvdigyr2.txt - full text archive MV Yr. 2, etc.
http://www.peteatkin.com/mv/mvdigyr5.txt - full text archive Yr. 5 to date.
http://www.peteatkin.com/mv/digwk***.txt - recent digests, use week number.
Access to the private MV area requires a username and password. At present,
for all members, these are set to: [revised September 2002]
                         username : <hidden>
                         password : <hidden>
To see an index of the members' area, go to:
We don't publish members' details, but we do include links to some members'
existing home, company, department or hobby pages, at:
and a list of members' names at:
Some years we have organised a members' convention, customarily referred to
by a variation on the 'Field of Dreams' theme -- a name applied to our very
first festival (Monyash, Derbyshire) in 1997 -- 'we built it, and he came'.
Please see the Website for details of all events -- there'll be a link from
there either to the members' area or to the organiser's Website.
All of Pete's six vinyl albums, plus Julie Covington's first (effectively a
Pete Atkin album) are now available from See For Miles records. Missing are
the songs 'Why?' and 'I'm Crazy Over You' from Live Libel (for running-time
reasons), and it was also necessary to make a small cut in 'I've Got Better  
Things To Do' from the same album. There are no plans for CD release of the  
single 'Be Careful When They Offer You The Moon'. On the CD of 'The Road Of  
Silk... plus' the advertised single version of 'Sessionman's Blues' doesn't
appear -- the album version is repeated instead. I intend to compensate for  
these omissions by posting MP3 versions on the Website -- stay tuned to the
members' area!
Links to on-line retailers can be found on the Website. These suppliers can
accept overseas orders by credit card and ship to any part of the world.
See For Miles catalogue numbers:
Beware Of The Beautiful Stranger/Driving Through Mythical America C5HCD 664
The Beautiful Changes... plus                                     SEECD 687
A King At Nightfall / The Road Of Silk... plus                    SEECD 722
Secret Drinker / Live Libel                                       SEECD 725
We must thank Pete for his behind-the-scenes work in securing these classic
re-issues, while congratulating Midnight Voices on demonstrating to him the
New recordings and concerts:
'The Lakeside Sessions' is MV's crowning achievement -- Pete's first studio
album in 26 years. The 2 CDs can be bought, either singly or as a set, from
Hillside Music in Bristol. See the Website for mail order and on-line shop.
News of forthcoming concerts, including this year's tour, are posted in the  
'gigs' section of the Website.
You may see references in the archives to CD or video recordings of Pete at
the Monyash Festival in 1997, or at FoD99, or to 'MV Buxton 98' tankards or
mugs. All these were limited-edition items and have sold out -- sorry. With
luck and goodwill we may have merchandise available at future events.
The members' CD Library has been discontinued.
Still available is the enamel 'Walk Towards The Music' MV badge/brooch. Get
yours from Andy Love <email address hidden>.
That's about it! If you've received this after its January 2002 publication
date, check any PS below for updates. If you've received it in error please
let me (not the Voices, please) know and I'll remove you -- there have been
occasions when a new member has misspelled his e-mail address, resulting in
his receiving nothing, but some bewildered (and generally annoyed) stranger
somewhere (often in the USA) getting overwhelmed by mysterious MV postings!
If you're new to our community you're hereby invited to introduce yourself!
Talk superbly,
Stephen J Birkill <email address hidden>
                  <email address hidden>
                  <email address hidden>
Webmaster, "Smash Flops"
Moderator, "Midnight Voices"
<postal address hidden>
Telephone <phone number hidden>
Fax       <fax number hidden>
Web       http://www.rwt.co.uk/
| Midnight Voices - The Pete Atkin e-mail Discussion Group    |76 char wrap|
| - a closed group for free discourse on topics related to    |Set window  |
| Pete Atkin and his songwriting collaborator Clive James.    |width here ->
| Moderator S J Birkill, admin msgs to <*****************>    |and use font|
| Please mail your MV message posts to: <****************>    |Courier New |
| Our Website ("Smash Flops") now http://www.peteatkin.com    |to see msgs |
| Members' area (/mv), user "*******", password "*******".    |as intended.|
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