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Thanks, Tom!

BBC 6Music

If you have a broadband connection and RealPlayer, I recommend giving BBC’s Radio 6 — better known as 6Music — a listen. It’s simply amazing — a radio station built on both the BBC’s excellence in broadcasting (commercial-free, even!) and a stable of DJs who eat, sleep and breathe music unlike any other. For their heavy rock show, they got Eddie the Head’s best friend, Bruce Dickinson, from Iron Maiden! The Saturday lunch show (or Saturday morning show for us listeners in the Eastern Time Zone of North America) features ska and rocksteady hosted by a man who should be considered an expert in those areas: Suggs, lead vocalist of Madness! There’s a show by Bob Harris, the guy who founded Time Out magazine, Craig Charles (he’s “Lister” from Red Dwarf) hosting the funk show, and Andrew Collins, former editor of two very good magazines, Empire and Q.

The 6Music DJ I know best

Actually, the BBC doesn’t call them DJ’s, they call them presenters.

Anyhow, the BBC presenter I know best is musician Tom Robinson, who hosts the evening show (or afternoon show, in my case). Tom’s been in the business for over 25 years, starting with the founding of Rock Against Racism and the Tom Robinson Band (2-4-6-8 Motorway, War Baby, Power In The Darkness, Atmospherics, Glad To Be Gay). In addition to being an excellent musician who knows the scene backwards and forwards, Tom also has a great announcer’s voice and delivery, which along with his eclectic musical selection, makes his show a pleasure to listen to.

Tom and I have crossed paths in tangential and unusual ways. I had all his albums until they were stolen in a bizarre snow-cone-related mishap (yes, the snow-cone vendor stories return later this week); he very kindly replaced them for me as a gift for my programming the enhanced CD portion of his 20th album, Having It Both Ways

Tom has a regular segment on his show called Heroes or Zeroes, which “examines the cases for and against some of rock’s most controversial artists”. Today’s star-in-question was Madonna. At the end of the segment, Tom asked the listeners to e-mail comments on Madonna: was she an important influence on popular music? I fired off a message to him. It was really just an excuse to say “hi” (I haven’t had a chance to talk or write to him since his visit to Toronto last summer), but he announced that he just had to read my e-mail on the air:

Subject: On Madonna

Hi, Tom!

At the very least, she’s been a positive influence on me, because from her, I learned the value of shamelessness. Shamelessness is very important in rock and roll, doubly so if you play the accordion.

Thank you, Tom. My plan to dominate the Earth is one step closer, thanks to your help.

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