One hundred years ago--November 1912--Captain Robert Scott and his team of British explorers launched a race to be the first team to reach the South Pole. They were doomed. Ill-equipped and poorly provisioned, Scott and his three companions froze to death.
But what do I mean by "ill-equipped?" Well, for one thing, Scott insisted on packing a gramophone and a selection of recordings so everyone could listen to music during phases of their explorations. That's right: the Scott expedition took along a record player and some records.
To be fair, no one was spinning tunes when the three members of the team died, but it boogles the mind that they'd even think of including this on a list of things to take to the bottom of the world, but it's true. Actually, Scott two TWO HMV gramophones with him.
Next question: what records did they take? Operettas, music hall sounds and a variety of inspirational marches.Several hundred of them, all on ancient 78 RPM discs.
Come Monday, EMI--the successors of The Gramophone Company, the company that donated the equipment to the expedition--will release Scott's Music Box, a collection of 48 songs the explorers used to buoy their spirits when it got so damn cold.