Founder & Moderator
Melvis has left the building....In 1996 Melody Tanner Clark took over running a tiny Paul McCartney email list with cut and paste, Eudora® and a lot of heart. Since then, it's grown up to SmartList and hundreds of members. 1998's New Year's resolution included retirement from the list for Melody. We miss her bright wit and iron fist and hope The Goddess smiles on her always.
Melody Clark and MACCA-L
As everybody is likely aware by now, Melody Clark has decided to step down as co-moderator of MACCA-L. It is, perhaps, not widely known that Melody Clark did not originate MACCA-L. What she did do, which was much more important, was turn a private, invitation-only listserv ("the best kept secret on the Beatle Net", according to HydraZine) into a public mailing list that anyone with an interest in Paul McCartney's music could join. The origins of MACCA-L are shrouded in the mists of time, but it existed for at least three years before Melody took over from LISTSERVkeeper@bugsby.com.
Melody felt troubled by the exclusivity of the original MACCA-L, and decided to open up membership to anyone with a sincere interest. Her first digest under this scheme was sent out at the beginning of February, 1996. A MACCA-L digest came out once a week, hand-assembled by Melody every Friday. In those days, membership fluctuated between 15 and 40, and at that time, the once a week format seemed quite sufficient for the traffic on the list. Aaron Gill offered space on his McCartney web-page to advertise the list, and a home page for the list was born, soon including an archive of each week's digest to help non-members find out what they were missing.
However, in May, 1996, with 36 active members, MACCA-L was becoming a bit too busy for just once a week. Melody sent out a message putting the problem to a vote: did we want twice-weekly digests, or daily digests? The situation was resolved by going to daily digests. However, not surprisingly, this turned out to be far too much work (apart from everything else, Melody was running a second mailing list devoted to a television show at the time), so by the middle of the summer, after some deliberation, Melody set up a listserv to handle all the new traffic.
Even with the listserv format, the list was starting to prove to be so much work that Melody put out a call for volunteers. If memory serves, this is when Cathy Munro answered the call, first as a part-time volunteer, and by and by as cheerful co-moderator.
As the Beatles Anthology juggernaut moved through 1996, more and more people joined the list, so that by the end of 1996 MACCA-L counted its membership in the hundreds. People were re-discovering the music of the Beatles after a long period of hibernation, and quite a number of them got to wondering what Paul had been doing these many years, and what they had missed. The release of Flaming Pie in 1997 produced another spike in interest, and after that it became not uncommon for the number of messages on a given day to exceed one hundred.
Among other things, Melody (with the help of Cathy and Lynn Harvey) started a 'MACCA-L Good Works' page to support some of MACCA-L's favourite charities. When Aaron Gill retired his McCartney page in the early fall of 1997, Melody, Cathy, and Lynn used their experience with the Good Works page to design a beautiful new replacement home page, and give it a proper new domain name: macca-l.com. The new domain name had another benefit: list members could now write messages to the simple-to-remember firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most importantly, Melody Clark has created a community. A lot of friends have been made as a result of this list, and a lot of happiness has been generated. The list attracted and brought together like-minded people from all over the world who might otherwise never have known of each others' existence. For MACCA-L members, Beatlefests became an occasion for joyful "reunions" with people they had never met. The two premieres of Standing Stone created even larger get-togethers of people from MACCA-L. Suddenly, it wasn't just about the internet anymore. It was about a common interest in some wonderful music, togetherness, and a common spirit of good will. Melody has helped to mould a strong and vibrant community of people from all over the world, who have come to care about each other in a way which is not common on the internet. Now, as she hands the reins over to Cathy and Lynn, in order to devote her energy and talents to new projects, the MACCA-L community has occasion to look back, and remember her achievements. No doubt she will bring to her new projects the same energy and dedication that has helped make MACCA-L so successful. We wish her all the best.
© 1998 Mark Tovey