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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

George "Porky" Peckham and the maker's mark

I walked by this place in the West End today. It's still a lovely building despite that vile white and blue sign somebody has jammed into the facade in order to declare their tenancy. I knew it as the workshop of George "Porky" Peckham, who was the mastering engineer trusted by the music business to get as much of the signal of their recordings from the tapes to the grooves of the stamper from which the records - particularly the singles - were manufactured. When I was working for Beserkley in 1976 I went there a few times to get singles mastered. When he was finished he would ask you if you wanted a message in the area between the run-out grooves and the label. I can't remember what the records were or what I asked for. If he was particularly proud of his work he'd sign off as "a Porky prime cut" or something similar. I've been told that the map artists of the Ordnance Survey do something similar, concealing their signatures in the contour lines in order to declare their authorship and to guard against forgery.