Spin doc­tor

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Iain Shedden

SPIN Doc­tor was de­lighted to read that the mu­sic col­lec­tion of cel­e­brated English ra­dio DJ John Peel, a cham­pion of the un­der­ground, the ob­scure and some­times of the silly, is to be­come a mu­seum piece. Peel’s 25,000 vinyl al­bums along with 40,000 sin­gles and un­told thou­sands of CDS are to be­come part of The Space, a ser­vice spon­sored by the Bri­tish Arts Coun­cil and the BBC that will make all of Peel’s mu­sic avail­able on­line. Adding to the ap­peal of this un­usual arte­fact will be Peel’s per­sonal notes and recorded ob­ser­va­tions plus in­ter­views with some of the mu­si­cians with whom he rubbed shoul­ders dur­ing five decades as a broad­caster, pri­mar­ily at the Beeb. The on­line col­lec­tion is to be made avail­able be­tween May and Oc­to­ber. SUCH a bold ini­tia­tive in Blighty has been food for thought here in Australia, or more specif­i­cally at SDHQ. Some of you will have noted from these pages last year that it makes per­fect sense to get rid of al­bums — vinyl, CD or cas­sette — that you will never play again, even if they do hold some per­sonal mean­ing. This prac­tice has been en­forced strictly in the of­fice here since the idea was pub­lished and I would hope that oth­ers have fol­lowed the ex­am­ple. What’s more, it would be sen­si­ble if one or two na­tional in­sti­tu­tions here — sim­i­lar, say, to the Bri­tish Arts Coun­cil and the BBC — were to pick up the man­tle and pro­vide an ar­chive of un­wanted al­bums that the public could tap into at any point on­line (that is apart from the thou­sands of unloved al­bums that lan­guish in what’s left of our public li­braries). To start the ball rolling — and since the Australia Coun­cil for the Arts and the ABC’S Syd­ney head­quar­ters are but spit­ting dis­tance from here — I’ll be drop­ping off ev­ery­thing I have by An­dre Rieu on my way home. From lit­tle things, big things grow. DUE to un­fore­seen cir­cum­stances Spin Doc­tor won’t be do­ing his rounds of Ade­laide’s wel­com­ing Botanic Park as Wo­made­laide plays host to the finest roots, folk and world mu­sic artists from across the globe this week­end. It’s a great line-up this year, too, with the Mas­ter Drum­mers of Bu­rundi, Johnny Clegg, Ti­nari­wen and our own Gur­ru­mul, Pi­gram Broth­ers, Blue King Brown and Dirty Three on the ros­ter. Spare a thought for Ti­nari­wen, how­ever, one of the finest out­fits to come out of Mali. The desert blues band has known tough times. One of the group’s founders, Ibrahim Ag Al­habib, trained as a sol­dier in Libya un­der Muam­mar Gaddafi while in ex­ile from Mali. Later he was part of the Tuareg rebel forces in Mali fight­ing the na­tional army. Now, with civil un­rest again ram­pant in his home­land, Ag Al­habib has had to with­draw from Ti­nari­wen’s Aus­tralian visit, as has gui­tarist Elaga Ag Hamid. The band’s man­age­ment says Ag Al­habib is in a refugee camp as fight­ing con­tin­ues be­tween rebel MLNA and gov­ern­ment forces. Let’s hope both men are safe. spin­doc@ theaus­tralian.com.au

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