Top (End) Books

Great and very timely news from the publishing world tonight: Niblock Publishing has re-issued two of Andrew McMillan’s books, both of which have been out of print for far too long. I’ve written about both of them before, so I won’t go into details here.

The first is Strict Rules: the Blackfella – Whitefella Tour, McMillan’s chronicle of the concerts that took Midnight Oil and the Warumpi Band through Indigenous communities across the Central Desert and the Top End. The timing couldn’t be better, for this year marks the 20th anniversary of the blockbuster albums that came out of that experience, Warumpi Band’s Go Bush! and Midnight Oil’s Diesel and Dust. The Oils have just rereleased the latter and it comes with a DVD that features an hour of music and interviews from the tour. The film, also called Blackfella/Whitefella, has been even harder to find on the second-hand market than McMillan’s book, and it’s one of the classic concert films, right up there in my book with Gimme Shelter and Stop Making Sense.

The second is An Intruder’s Guide to East Arnhem Land, and I doubt you will find a better introduction, guide, compendium, or history of the world of the Yolngu between two covers. The opening chapter picks up where Strict Rules left off, on Elcho Island, and offers an affecting portrait of the lead singer Burrurrawanga’s homeland, made all the more poignant by his death in May of 2007. But it goes on to offer so much more, and should be required reading for anyone with an interest in Aboriginal affairs.

So don’t wait for Christmas; buy yourself and your friends a present today! You won’t be sorry. I promise.

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