A Compilation Album for Birdo's

To: "Vella" <>
Subject: A Compilation Album for Birdo's
From: "Andrew Stafford" <>
Date: Fri, 27 Oct 2000 22:18:41 +1000
The funny thing about Edwin's rather esoteric posting (for me, anyway) was that it was in fact three birders, currently racing around Victoria in the twitchathon, who introduced me to the wonderful world of music that lay beyond the reaches of the pop charts. This was the early 80s, when I was 12 or 13, and the music today would fall under the unfortunate misnomer of "alternative rock". Back then, I guess, it was punk.
These days, I have two main obsessions in life. Of course, being a birder, as I was going through school, all I wanted to do when I grew up was watch birds, so I thought I'd do a zoology degree or some such. (Now, of course, I realise that I'd probably have ended up spending my life grubbing in the soil for invertebrates.) Anyway, my brain wasn't very technical, and my maths and science marks were pretty atrocious, but I had a way with words, and eventually the words won.
By the time I finished my BA, I'd started writing about music for the local street press, which graduated to Rolling Stone and a bunch of other youth-oriented publications. These days I'm back at uni - I delivered a lecture on music writing at QUT in August - and I've just submitted a music-related proposal to undertake an MA next year.
Back to birds then. The point I want to make is that to me, birders and birding was already pretty cool, and the fact that the first birders I met had damn good taste only amplified that (if you'll pardon the pun). But it also has to be said that a lot of what I listened to back then was a great antidote to years of getting my head kicked in for indulging in such a "sissy" hobby.
I have to say, all that aside, I doubt that a soundtrack of rock stars is likely to convert too many youngsters. No record company would release it in such a format - at least in part because birding isn't likely to form part of any record company's marketing strategy in the near future. They're not known for their largesse.
Convincing a bunch of bands to record a benefit album on behalf of our endangered species, however, isn't an entirely far-fetched prospect. Such compilations have been done before: the Surfrider Foundation put together an album a few years ago under the banner Music for our Mother Ocean (uuueegh), with artists including Soundgarden, silverchair, the Ramones and many others. (I'm aware that a large proportion of this list won't have a clue who I'm talking about, but anyway...) I suppose whether or not those who bought the album did so for the music or the cause or both is immaterial - it raised money, and probably a little awareness too.
My feeling is that there's a birding gene waiting to be located, and you either have it or you don't. It's not the sort of thing that can be readily sold as "cool", whatever that means, but I think most kids do care about endangered species, and if a benefit album could be put together, I'd be all for it.
Oh, lastly, I can't resist adding my favourite bird-referencing lyric, by an obscure American outfit called The Meat Puppets, from Arizona: "There's nothing at the top but a bucket and a mop, and an illustrated book about birds". This beautiful song ("Plateau") was one of three Meat Puppets tunes covered by Nirvana on their famous MTV Unplugged appearance.
Hope all this hasn't been too out-there for some of you.
Edwin Vella wrote:
Has anybody heard Fat Boy Slim's new song "Bird Of Prey"?. Well this and a few other songs including that Twitchers anthem "I like Birds" from the Eels should form part of a compilation for those who like birds. An official release of this compilation album could be jointly produced between Birds Australia and a good Australian record company to bring this out. It could feature a range of music - folk, rock, techno etc. This could be away to entice young birdos in our facinating hobby and see birding as a cool thing. The cover of the CD could feature some of Australia's rare birds. Some of the proceeds could be donated to major Bird conservation projects. This is just a thought.
Has anybody other suggestions of what other songs could go into this album?
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU