As an archive the Internet is...a bit mixed. On the one hand, we ominously intone that "the Internet never forgets" and on the other, the Internet is full of pages lost behind "link rot." Sometimes it feels like the physical, though moths and rust destroy and thieves can break in and steal, is the only sufficient way to protect the past.
Or at least that's what we tell ourselves here in the Afropop office, which is under strata of records, CDs, DAT tapes, a small museum of the history of personal computers, books, dusty annals of bookkeeping best described as "impressionistic"--our past written across formats, labeled by the person who previously held my job, and the person before her, and the person before him and back and back.
We're thinking a lot about the past, not just because we need to clean, but because our 30th anniversary is coming up. We're celebrating with a huge bash at City Winery on May 3--something you should definitely come to, if you're able.
One physical bit of our past that surfaced recently are copies of our old year-end newsletter from 2000 and 2002, which had accounts of parties celebrating our 12th and 14th years. At the turn of the millennium, Habib Koite and Bamada played, as did Oumou Sangare and her band. In 2002, Bonnie Raitt, musician and longtime friend of Afropop, helped us induct Thomas Mapfumo, Mahotella Queens and Dorothy Masuka into the Afropop Hall of Fame.
You can read our brief little accounts, and remember the era of Afropop having a printed arm. The physical media looks good for its age, if the images in particular don't look too great after being scanned--the captions become indispensable for identifying faces lost to pixels.
Still it's a reminder of our past. Join us May 3, and we'll think about the future.