The Archive – where are we?
The In Deep Music Archive move – Phase 1 is complete but that was just the beginning, most everything is still in England. Phase 2 is going to be much harder as we attempt to move everything from England to Portugal. With generous donations and a lot of elbow grease (thanks Aram in Cornwall and Fred and Gerri Ann in Somerset). We managed to move twenty years’ worth of archive and studio and music gear to storage last October where it’s been ever since, vibrating, desperate to leave and get to Portugal. So what happened? Well, Covid happened and we were unable to move it because there were no transport companies working. This gave us a major problem.
There’s a document called a baggage certificate, the idea is that you list what you are bringing into the country when you become a resident and you have a year to move everything. Well, in my case I had the archive and musical equipment in Cornwall and more archive and musical equipment in storage as well as books and shelving and couches and cabinets and tables, everything you might have in a house as well as a huge music collection and music gear. We were already in Portugal in late 2020, escaping England in a very small Covid window that allowed us to gain Portuguese residency before the Brexit deadline. The alternative of waiting would have been an administrative nightmare. But it took us until October 2020 to get back to England to move the archive out of Cornwall, to the storage facility in Somerset. The plan was to move everything within that year, but the baggage certificate we had to apply for from Portugal was an overview, not a proper inventory. But we needed to drive and ferry to England to bring some things back in our Vanette and the rest would be transported by road to Portugal with a full inventory. If only it was that easy.
We drove back to Portugal after sorting out the complete archive, the musical equipment and household goods in storage. We loaded up with as much as we could in our vehicle, some guitars, the stereo, giant lava lamps, space echoes, and essential stuff and left England armed with our baggage certificate and a proper inventory of what we had in storage. The idea was that we would have the truck follow us to Portugal and we would drive back (via the ferry through Spain). It all went pear-shaped. The trip to England by ferry and vehicle was long and expensive and when we arrived back in Spain the Spanish customs wouldn’t let us in without paying 500€ in duty, the baggage certificate was useless. Then to make it worse, Covid hit again and France closed its borders so we couldn’t move the rest of the archive anyway. Disaster.
Here’s an impression of Phase 1:
So suddenly due to Covid, we’d lost our window to get everything in as Portuguese residents and the baggage certificate seemed to be useless as we had to go through other countries before we got to Portugal. So we thought, get another baggage certificate with the complete inventory from the Portuguese consulate in London, explain to the customs that we were unable to move everything in the allotted time due to Covid and get an extension. The consulate wouldn’t give us another baggage certificate as they’d already issued one and they took forever to tell us. Soon it was spring and getting hot and with the heat waves, we have been unable to move anything because it would be too hot in a truck. Records don’t like hot trucks. We got in touch with a lawyer who had a contact within the customs but he has told us that it doesn’t look good to import without duty despite it all being personal belongings.
So what do we do? We have another path and that is through our relationship with a well-known studio here in Porto and the mayor of Porto. We have been talking about the archive as a cultural treasure and bringing it here under the auspices of its cultural value. But getting hold of the mayor who has actually seen the building we will put everything in and has enthused about the idea, has not as yet signed off on it. At this point, we don’t know where we stand with the latest shipping costs in the fuel crisis and the status of moving everything here outside the resident’s year to move personal belongings. What I do know is that if I don’t move it the storage charges in England will be huge anyway as time goes by and all the while this magnificent collection lingers in boxes, waiting, vibrating.
The Archive when it was in Penzance:
So last but not least, as we try and find our way through all this, trying to communicate with the lawyers, the transport companies, the customs and the mayor, we are left not knowing if we will succeed in getting the archive here without horrendous costs even though it isn’t commercial goods – we could still be liable for a lot of money. This week we are attempting to get moving with meetings with lawyers, customs and the mayor so we can find out. Ultimately, I can only imagine that we should soon start another GoFundMe page for the potential costs of Phase 2. I hope this has explained to everyone who contributed to Phase 1 how all donations have massively helped to get us where we are and we have been most grateful for the support, but it’s not over yet.
Music today has been the latest album from Sharon Van Etten, which I bought on vinyl as I do with all her records, We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong (2022). I only hope the way we are doing everything is the right way.