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Meet ‘The Fred Banana Combo’ Germany’s first new wave punks
12.02.2016
08:56 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Germany
1980s
new wave
The Fred Banana Combo


 
While the name of Düsseldorf band The Fred Banana Combo might sound more like something you’d come across in a bargain bin at your local record shop, don’t let their amusing moniker fool you as it appears the somewhat obscure band was responsible for releasing what has often been classified as “the very first independent punk/new wave single” to come out in Germany in 1978. The single contained two hot tracks, “No Destination Blues” and the in-your-face “Jerk off All Night Long.”

The band were one of many that played legendary Düsseldorf punk club the Ratinger Hof in the 80s, which also served as a rehearsal place for the band. The Ratinger Hof was a mecca for up and coming punk bands, many who gained a foothold thanks to the The Hof’s fertile breeding ground. Discovered by Krautrock king Conny Plank (who would produce the band’s first four records) Fred Banana’s sound, much like Plank’s, is rather unique. Purely punk at times FBC enjoyed infusing their sound up with new wave and power pop with most of their jams punching out in less than three minutes. The band’s first full-length album, 1981’s FBC was fast, loud and rowdy and when combined all eighteen tracks on the record clock in at just over 30 minutes. Like a lot of bands trying to cut their teeth FBC was fond of doing covers and have recorded a few great ones including Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire” and “Runaway” by Del Shannon. Both songs feature the fantastic vocals of FBC’s Nicolle Meyer—formerly the muse of influential French photographer and Man Ray protégé Guy Bourdin. The multi-talented Ms. Meyer also doubled as the timekeeper for FBC.
 

 
FBC were no more by the late 80s only to return with their original lineup in 2015 and a new record containing eleven fresh songs. One of them, the devastatingly cool “Splinters”  features the guest vocals of Sara Jay of Massive Attack fame. The Best of The Old Shit and The New Shit also contains twenty tracks from the band’s back catalog as well as a DVD featuring FBC appearances on Rockpalast. I’ve included two FBC live performances from 1980, their excellent cover of “Bird on a Wire,” plus the original song “I Don’t Know,” as well as “No Destination Blues” and “Splinters” for you to listen to below. I would have posted the masterfully weird “Jerk Off All Night Long” but it came along with lots of photos of topless ladies which while they pair perfectly with the songs title, was a little too visually stimulating to post here on a family publication like DM. You can “listen” to it here whenever you’re needing some alone time.

Much more after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Strassenjungs: The ‘fake’ German punk rockers who toured with The Clash
11.23.2016
09:59 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Punk

Tags:
The Clash
Germany
1970s
Strassenjungs


German ‘punk’ band Strassenjungs circa 1980.
 
In 1977 two German producers decided to try to follow Malcolm McLaren’s success with the Sex Pistols by creating a “fake” punk rock band. The result would be a quad hailing from Frankfurt called Strassenjungs (which translates as “Street Boys”).

Axel Klopprogge and Eckehard Ziedrich pulled Strassenjungs together during a time when the punk scene was still in a formative state in Germany. Their timing, as far as Strassenjungs was concerned, was pretty perfect. It should have worked. But it didn’t.

Despite getting lucky enough tour rather extensively through Europe with The Clash in late 1977 (and according to the band’s official site Siouxise & The Banshees in 1980), Strassenjungs’ albums pretty much bombed as soon as they were released. Which is strange because they were seemingly laser-focused on being as “aggressive” as possible penning songs about teenage rebellion, sex, drugs and booze. While the combination of these things generally produce hit-making results, this was not the case for Strassenjungs until much later in their career. They were never truly accepted into the punk scene in Germany and in 1977 German musician Peter Hein accused the band of not being “punk” at all but “langhaarig, blödfressig, deutsch” or “long-haired, loud-mouthed Germans.”

If certain folklore about Strassenjungs is to be believed after a couple of failed records in 1982 the band’s debut record was added to the German Index (a censorship program) under the charge of “inciting crime and alcohol abuse” both of which seem pretty fucking punk rock to me. Sadly the dubious classification now prevented the album from being sold to minors. With all that working against them you’d think Strassenjungs might have called it quits, but they didn’t. Though they’ve been through various lineup changes over the decades the band still performs today with original bassist Nils Selzer. I’ve included some singles from Strassenjungs for you to consider below as well as a couple of photos of the band pretending to be punks back the day. If you dig what you hear in this post here’s a link pick up a “best of” compilation from the band Strassenfeger: Die Hit-Box! (best of) by Strassenjungs.
 

The goofy cover of Strassenjungs’ 1977 debut.
 
More after the jump…

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France Gall Sings About ‘Computer Dating’ In 1968
10.18.2016
09:12 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Science/Tech

Tags:
Germany
France Gall
Computers

Der Computer Nr.3 45 on Decca Records
 
In 1968, Serge Gainsbourg protégé France Gall participated in the televised song contest Deutscher Schlager-Wettbewerb (“The German Schlager Competition”) where hundreds of composers and lyricists from all over Europe were called upon to write a brand new hit song. A total of 495 titles were submitted, and only twelve songs were selected for the finals which were broadcast live on channel ZDF. Although she was French-born and famously known as a yé-yé singer, Gall did enjoy a successful career in Germany in the late ‘60s. With a little help from Werner Müller and Giorgio Moroder, she published 42 songs in German language between 1966 and 1972.

On July 4th, 1968, 21-year-old France Gall took the stage at the Berliner Philharmonie concert hall and performed a song titled “Der Computer Nr.3” live with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra leaving 300 people and a panel of judges dramatically baffled over what in the world she was singing about: “Computer #3 searches the right boy for me. The computer knows the perfect woman for every man and happiness is drawn instantly from its files.” The song then suddenly takes an unexpected turn when it switches over to a vocoder German computer voice which pre-dates the formation of Kraftwerk “22 Jahre, schwarze Haare, von Beruf Vertreter, Kennzeichen: Geld wie Heu” (Age: 22 years, black hair, professional representative, features: money galore)

The song (credited to the biggest hit-making duo in Germany at the time: music producer Christian Bruhn and lyricist Georg Buschor) then takes yet another completely unexpected turn as it dips into a Beatles cover for a brief moment before diving right back into the subject matter at hand. “Lange war ich einsam, heut’ bin ich verliebt, und nur darum ist das so, weil es die Technik und die Wissenschaft und Elektronengehirne gibbet.” Translated into English, France Gall is singing perfectly to the “Eight Days A Week” melody “Ohh I need your love babe, yes you know it’s true, that’s only because the technology and science and electrons are there.”

Cut to the audience to see hundreds of upper-class post-war Germans staring blankly, emotionless, and reactionless at the very first song ever written about computer dating. While personal computers and the internet were still years away, computer dating was an actual trend in the late ‘60s being targeted to lonely hearts all over the world by way of magazine advertorials. Participants would submit their vital stats, a punchcard-plotted questionnaire, and a personal check in the amount of $3-5 in an old-fashioned stamp-licked envelope. Then they waited patiently (usually several weeks or months) while an IBM mainframe the size of an entire room crunched the numbers on their personalities, intelligence, and preferences (no photos were involved).

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Doug Jones | Leave a comment
‘Space Patrol – The Fantastic Adventures of the Spaceship Orion’: German TV’s first sci-fi show
07.15.2016
03:24 pm

Topics:
Television

Tags:
Germany
Spaceship Orion


 
The 1966 German TV sci-fi cult classic Raumpatrouille – Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffes Orion (literal translation: “Space Patrol – The Fantastic Adventures of the Spaceship Orion”) was the very first German science fiction television series, predating even Star Trek’s appearance there by six years. The two shows were developed concurrently, with the German series airing its first episode just nine days after the American program’s first appearance and they have several (accidental) similarities. The Spaceship Orion is supposed to be the fastest flying saucer ever invented. The craft’s commander is a dashing, impulsive American and the plot involves a brewing war with an alien race called—get this—“The Frogs”! (Scriptwriters must’ve been Brits, jah?). Only seven episodes of Raumpatrouille – Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffes Orion were produced.
 

 
The voice-over intro is similar to Star Trek’s:

“What may sound like a fairy tale today may be tomorrow’s reality. This is a fairy tale from the day after tomorrow: There are no more nations. There is only mankind and its colonies in space. People have settled on faraway stars. The ocean floor has been made habitable. At speed still unimaginable today, space vessels are rushing through our Milky Way. One of these vessels is the ORION, a minuscule part of a gigantic security system protecting the Earth from threats from outer space. Let’s accompany the ORION and her crew on their patrol at the edge of infinity.”

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Germany issues commemorative stamp collection in honor of Lemmy Kilmister
05.13.2016
01:13 pm

Topics:
Heroes
Music

Tags:
Germany
Lemmy Kilmister
Motörhead
stamps


One of the five commemorative stamps issued by the German postal service honoring the late Motörhead frontman, Lemmy Kilmister.
 
If you have friends or relatives in Germany, it’s time to call out a favor as the German postal service has just released a collection of stamps honoring the late Lemmy Kilmister.

There are a total of five different images of the iconic Motörhead leader in the book of ten stamps, that will be available for sale starting on May 17th through June 17th, 2016. Sales of the Lemmy stamps will be limited to only 7777 books (an homage to Lemmy’s “lucky seven”), and will run you about eleven bucks (US) over here. But again, you can only purchase them if you’re actually in Germany. So get going on locating your long-lost German Aunt or Uncle as I’m 100% sure these stamps will sell out swiftly. 
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Siouxsie & The Banshees, Kraftwerk, Suzi Quatro, AC/DC & more on German TV show ‘Rockpop’

AC/DC rehersing with Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielson for German music TV show
AC/DC jamming with Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielson during rehearsals for the German music TV show “‘Rockpop’ in 1979. You can see footage of Cheap Trick on ‘Rockpop,’here.
 
Today I have the perfect remedy for it sadly being Monday—again!—some incredible footage of bands such as Siouxsie & The Banshees, Kraftwerk, AC/DC, Suzi Quatro, and a number of other notable musical acts performing on German music television’s Rockpop in the late 70s.
 
Suzi Quatro performing on
Suzi Quatro performing on “Rockpop” in 1979
 
Rockpop was aired on German public-service television broadcaster, ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen) starting in 1978 and running until 1982. The show would feature several performances from its diverse selection of musical guests on each episode. Some even performed live, not just miming along to their tunes, like AC/DC, Suzi Quatro, and Wayne County & the Electric Chairs did in 1979.

I’m especially fond of the clip of Siouxsie & The Banshees performing their 1978 single, “Hong Kong Garden” on Rockpop in 1979 (during which a 22-year-old Siouxsie Sioux does a sweet punk rock aerobic routine on stage) to a virtually motionless, rather serious-looking studio audience. In addition to the bands I’ve already mentioned in this post, I’ve also included clips from Rockpop featuring heavy metal heroes like the Scorpions and Judas Priest because the crystal clear footage (in most cases), is just too good not to share.
 

AC/DC performing “Highway to Hell” live on ‘Rockpop’ live in September of 1979.
 
More from ‘Rockpop’ after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
The far-out sci-fi costume parties of the Bauhaus school in the 1920s
12.31.2015
10:25 am

Topics:
Art
Design

Tags:
Germany
Bauhaus school
costume parties

Bauhaus school costume party, 1920s
Bauhaus school costume party, 1920s
 
As we get ready to tell yet another year to kiss our collective asses on its way out the door, that also means it’s almost time for that annual liver-killing bacchanal known as New Year’s Eve. But no matter what you have planned this year, I’m fairly certain that your party will not even come close to the costume parties thrown by students and teachers of Germany’s Bauhaus school back in the 1920s.
 
Bauhaus costume party, 1920s
 
Sadly, there are not many surviving photographs of the costumed shindigs thrown at the school, which was founded by the revered German architect Walter Adolph Georg Gropius. It has been said that attendees of the costume parties took the preparation of their costumes as seriously (if not more so) as their studies at the school and the results were a spellbinding array of imagery created by the upper crust vanguard that made up Bauhaus’ academic population. Such as Russian abstract painter, Wassily Kandinsky and the great painter, Paul Klee both of whom taught classes at Bauhaus for approximately a decade starting in the very early 1920s.
 
Bauhaus costumes by Bauhaus mural and sculpture department head and later theater workshop director, Oskar Schlemmer (1925)
Bauhaus costumes by Bauhaus Mural and Sculpture Department head (and later Theater Workshop director), Oskar Schlemmer (1925)
 
As for the the school itself, Gropius was very specific about the type of students he and his free-wheeling, arty-administration wanted roaming the halls of Bauhaus. As detailed in his 1925 essay, “Life at the Bauhaus,” then student and Hungarian architect, Farkas Ferenc Molnár, described the very specific “party people” attributes a prospective student should possess before deciding to pursue their studies the school:

For someone to be admitted to the Bauhaus workshops he or she must not only know how to work but also how to live. Education and training are not as essential requirements as a lively, alert temperament, [464] a flexible body, and an inventive mind.  Nightlife at the Bauhaus claims the same importance as daytime activities.  One must know how to dance.  In Itten’s apt phrase: locker sein [loosen up].

I don’t know about you, but if this was a part of my former higher education institution’s “mission statement,” I probably would have stuck around longer. As many photos of the fantastical Bauhaus costume parties that I could dig up follow.
 
Bauhaus costume party, 1920s
 
Bauhaus costume party, 1920s
 
Bauhaus costume party, 1920s
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Amazon sells baseball bats as plus-sized sex toys in Germany
03.17.2014
10:08 am

Topics:
Sex
Sports

Tags:
Germany

Baseball bat
“The Berlin Slugger”
 
It’s clear that there aren’t very many baseball fans in Germany. It’s a little less clear whether these Amazon.de listings for “Bondage Fetish Mega Dildos” (seems like German English have a common vocabulary for such items) are intended to be funny or not. It doesn’t really matter—because they are pretty funny!

The wooden bat costs 25.95 Euros (about $36), while the aluminum model costs 34.95 Euros (about $48.50). This pricing makes sense to me. After all, the aluminum model might be cold to the touch but is almost certainly more pleasant to use—that’s not even taking into account the splinter factor.
 
Baseball bat
“The Weisendorf Wanger”
 
The company listed as the supplier is called “FEIHOFF sarl,” and if you look at their other offerings on Amazon.de, it’s clear what they specialize in.

Both products feature the term “Basballschlägel” (baseball bat) in the description, so at least we can say with confidence that they do know what’s going on here. Both products also use the phrase—I love this—“Bondage für Kenner,” which translates as “Bondage for Experts.” Actually, here is a list of English words that can serve as accurate translations for “Kenner”: “connoisseur, maven, adept, fancier, appreciator, authority, classicist, dabster, expert, cognoscenti, sophisticate.” You get the point: beginners, do tread carefully!

Ordinarily we at DM like to put a video at the bottom of the post, but I think we’ll pass this time. If you’re curious to see this ... er… “implement” in action, well, Google is your friend!
 
via Das Kraftfuttermischwerk

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Gorgeous color film footage of turn of the century Berlin
01.24.2014
04:11 pm

Topics:
History

Tags:
Germany
Berlin

Berlin
 
Absolutely stunning. The footage below is primarily of Berlin around 1900, though it contains a bit of Munich and some shots from 1914, as well. Around the turn of the century, Berlin was experiencing a population boom, mainly due to migration. Massive, rapid industrialization created the beehive of activity you see below, which inspired Mark Twain to call Berlin, “the Chicago of Europe.”

There’s an amazing array of life seen in such a short clip, from political and military pomp and circumstance to children playing to men drinking beer. Beyond the hustle and bustle and beautiful architecture, it’s the fascination of the subjects with the camera that really drew me in. Their curiosity gives the film a very intimate view of life at the time.
 

 
Via The Wall Breakers

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Hear the final (drunk) broadcast of Lord Haw-Haw, Nazi Germany’s answer to Tokyo Rose
10.14.2013
08:26 pm

Topics:
History

Tags:
Nazis
Germany
IRA
Fascists
Lord Haw-Haw


 
A lot of folks are familiar with “Tokyo Rose,” a series of English-speaking female broadcasters who trolled Allied forces during World War 2. The idea was that American soldiers would hear the broadcasts and become demoralized, as they contained false information of Japanese victories, supposed “inside information” on unfaithful wives back home, and great music (just to keep them listening). The primary voice of Tokyo Rose, Iva Toguri D’Aquino, was actually an American taken prisoner by the Japanese when she arrived to care for a sick aunt. While she was sent to prison for treason, she was later pardoned in light of the coerced circumstances of her participation in anti-American propaganda.

Like Tokyo Rose, “Lord Haw-Haw” originally referred to quite a few English-speaking broadcasters. Eventually, however, Lord Haw-Haw just became short-hand for William Joyce, an Irish-American with the sort of aristocratic accent described by a British radio critic as “English of the haw-haw, dammit-get-out-of-my-way-variety.” Unlike D’Aquino, Joyce was politically committed to the propaganda he produced. As a teenager he was already an active fascist, and aided the Black and Tans by squealing on the IRA. By 1939, Joyce was a vehement anti-Semite and rising political figure in the British Union of Fascists (BUF) under Oswald Mosley. After receiving a tip that his political activities were about to land him in jail, he fled to Germany.

Joyce quickly became a naturalized German citizen and got involved in wartime propaganda, at first as an anonymous broadcaster, but eventually revealing his identity and becoming a major programming writer as well. The Germany Calling program was exceedingly popular among listeners in the UK (I know that sounds odd, but the announcers enabled prisoners of war to send regards to loved ones.) Like Tokyo Rose, Haw-Haw mocked the British and lied about Axis victories. Opening each show with the trademark, “Germany calling,” Joyce never met Hitler, but was awarded the War Merit Cross (First and Second Class) at the behest of Der Führer.
 
Lord Haw Haw
Joyce after he was captured
 
Below is the final broadcast of William Joyce, drunk as a skunk, recorded during the Battle of Berlin in April of 1945. What follows is a sort of epic apologia on what he perceived as Germany’s well-intentioned fascism, and an admonishment of Britain for “escalating the war.” Joyce ends with a simple “Heil Hitler and farewell.” He was captured, tried, and executed for treason soon after, though not before some disgustingly unrepentant final words:

“In death as in life, I defy the Jews who caused this last war, and I defy the power of darkness which they represent. I warn the British people against the crushing imperialism of the Soviet Union. May Britain be great once again and in the hour of the greatest danger in the West may the standard be raised from the dust, crowned with the words – “You have conquered nevertheless”. I am proud to die for my ideals and I am sorry for the sons of Britain who have died without knowing why.”

The day after this recording, the British seized the radio station. A few days later, they broadcast their own show, opening with a sly, “Germany calling.”
 

 

Part 2

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Ode to Der Musikladen’s Teutonic go-go girls, the worst disco dancers the world has ever seen
08.23.2013
06:05 pm

Topics:
Television

Tags:
Germany
Der Musikladen


 
Der Musikladen was a West German television program running from 1972 to 1984, and one of the most diverse music-performance shows ever to grace the international boob-tube. It showcased an incredible array of artists, from Motörhead to Pat Boone to Ray Charles to Blondie. There’s a kind of low budget “fuck it” attitude that goes along with European variety TV that tends to promote a very pluralistic consumption of pop culture (plus it looks like, in the 70s and 80s at least, that they took what they could get).

However, in my opinion, the true legacy of Der Musikladen has nothing to do with their varied musical line-ups. No, the absolute best part of any episode was the go-go dancers, who simply cannot dance for shit. Yes, these Teutonic beauties are captivating, enthusiastic and totally charismatic, but their total lack of skill is mesmerizing. A dearth of coordination, the absence of any semblance of a symmetrical chorus line, and a general awkwardness is the essence of their charm. They literally appear to just be fun girls in skimpy outfits who maybe had a bit of schnapps before the show. Here are some of my favorite segments:
 

 
Above is a 1984 performance, and one of the last episodes ever broadcast. The ladies are dancing to Patto’s “Black and White.” Not to be confused with the English jazz-rock band from the 70s, this Patto is a duet of a white German and a black American rapper and the song is a sort of ham-fisted attempt at a rap-version of “Ebony and Ivory,” (which was already pretty ham-fisted to begin with). Needless to say, the track and the dancing are both pretty damning indictments of Germany’s ability to interpret hip-hop in a way that doesn’t make you shudder. But look how cute and happy the girls look in their leotards!
 

 
Admittedly, this 1978 segment is a much better use of their talents. First of all, the Michael Zager Band’s “Let’s All Chant” is a disco track, which is kind of their wheelhouse. Second of all, at least this particular line-up of women has some moves… or at least one move, anyway. Before you get too excited about the brunette knowing a step or two, notice they’re using those bitchen’ video effects to disguise the fact that they’re literally using the same footage over and over again. It’s maybe 20 seconds of dancing that they used weird zooms to stretch over an entire song. But who cares! Look at that hilarious weird shimmy the blonde woman does at 1:30!
 

 
And here we have some of the most incongruous choreography and costume choices known to god or man. This 1981 performance of Status Quo’s “Lies” suffers from somewhat the same problem as before: weird visual effects does nothing to disguise the fact that there are basically three poorly performed moves in the entire routine. The difference here is that the song is a Nick Lowe-style country influenced rocker, and it’s three and a half minutes long. That is two minutes longer than any go-go dancing segment should be, with the added confusion of a song that really doesn’t take well to go go dancers.
 

 
Let’s go out with a bang, shall we? Talk about, talk about, talk about CRAZY EYES, a confusing outfit, lip-syncing, and at 2:12, she even does “The Robot.” I’m out.

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Not quite ‘Phase IV’: Woman kept awake at night by ants ringing her doorbell
05.31.2013
09:13 am

Topics:
Amusing
Animals

Tags:
Germany
Police
Saul Bass
Ants
Phase IV

ivesahpstna.jpg
 
A 75-year-old woman from Offenburg in Germany, was kept awake at night by a colony of ants ringing her doorbell.

According to the Metro the woman became so fed-up with the nocturnal bell-ringing that she contacted the police, in the hope of catching the prankster.

After an investigation, local police discovered the culprit was a colony of “prank playing ants.”

They said the insects had built such a big home that the nest pressed the switching elements together, keeping the bell ringing.

In the end, officers removed the nest with a knife, allowing the lady to enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep for the first time in a while.

There was no news on the ants but we wouldn’t be surprised if they’re off playing pranks somewhere else.

It’s a small pity Saul Bass didn’t include such larks when he made Phase IV, his cult film about intelligent ants at war with humanity.
 

 
Via the Metro
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Black Francis ‘The Golem: How He Came Into The World’

melogredmelogkcalbknarf.jpg
 
Black Francis scores the classic silent movie—Paul Wegener and Carl Boese’s The Golem: How He Came Into The World.

Often regarded as the height of German expressionism, the silent, black and white film The Golem (also known in it’s German form, Der Golem) was the last of a series of three films by director Paul Wegener and was released in 1920.

Set in the 16th century, The Golem: How He Came Into The World tells the story of the persecution of the Jews of Prague. The towns Rabbi (Rabbi Loew), foreseeing these events, constructs a giant ‘Golem’ out of clay in order to protect his people. Mayhem ensues when the creature rebels and begins to destroy the ghetto. The highly expressionistic imagery seen in the film was captured by legendary cinematographer Karl Freund, who went on to do the classic Metropolis in 1927.

Groundbreaking as it was, the film sat ‘silent’ for nearly 88 years until the San Francisco International Film Festival requested Black Francis score the film and perform it live for their annual film festival in April, 2008. Despite the sold out show at San Francisco’s Castro Theatre (with a line stretching around the block) the score has never been performed live since. However, BF recorded the resulting double album in a matter of days in SF at Hyde Street Studios, with help from longtime collaborator/producer Eric Drew Feldman. The album features Black Francis on vocals/guitar, the late Duane Jarvis on lead guitar, EDF on keys, Joseph Pope on bass, Jason Carter on drums and Ralph Carney on horns.

 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Kate Bush: Splendid concert documentary from 1980

image
 
I’d never seen this rather splendid documentary on Kate Bush before. Made for German television in 1980, Kate Bush in Concert captures what was, and still is so irrepressible about the pioneering singer and performer, and explains the delightful (and naive) charm that caused so many young virginal fans to pine for her. Mixing live performance with an interview, in which we hear how Kate’s brothers’ taste in Prog Rock (Pink Fairies and Pink Floyd) and Folk Music that inspired her, and explaining the difference between her on-stage and off-stage persona.

‘When I perform, there’s just something that happens in me, it just takes over. It’s like suddenly feeling you’ve leapt into another structure, almost like another person, and you just do it. But when I’m not working, it’s me and I certainly wouldn’t dance around a table and sing.’

Och, well, there goes another wee fantasy of Ms Bush dancing and singing around a homely kitchen whilst baking fruit scones.
 

 
With thanks to John Kowalski
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Shadow Play’ and ‘Happy Homes’: Powerful new work by artist Sig Waller

image
 
Artist Sig Waller has been very busy with 2 excellent new projects, Shadow Play and Happy Homes, both of which will form part of a new exhibition to be held later this month.

Sig’s latest work has been inspired by a 1950s book called “Happy Homes”, which is described on its frontispiece as “an indispensable guide to housewives and home lovers everywhere.”

Sig has sabotaged the book’s illustrations creating a humorous and pointed critique of the prescribed roles for women within the home. Shadow Play presents an unsettling cartoon figure manipulating a 1950’s housewife (excitedly frothing at the mouth with toothpaste?) through a series of household chores. While Happy Homes is bleaker and more critically of the enforced relationships between women and home, where objects objects and electrical goods take on a controlling, religious, almost sexual and menacing quality, with the figures isolated in darkened voids on blood soaked floors. The images are like stills from a David Lynch movie, but far more potent and disturbing, each creating their own narrative that leaves the viewer unsettled.

Shadow Play will form part of an exhibition called Happy Homes, which will feature work by Sig Waller and Chris Shaw Hughes. Here’s the blurb:

Family life tends to be portrayed as blissful, idyllic and safe, but reality often tells a different story.

In this show, Hughes and Waller explore the dark circumference of the family circle, exposing the crumbling façade and the unseen stories behind the saccharine smiles that stare out at us from family albums or media and advertising photography. What lies beneath this apparent perfection?

‘Happy Homes’ explores these boundaries, the everyday secrets that families seek to contain and withhold. Found imagery is given new meaning, reality is warped and altered – or is it?

They say “the camera never lies”, but the power of the photographed image lies in its ability to conceal or to contain both truth and falsehood. On closer inspection, the ordinary almost always becomes extraordinary.

Happy Homes opens on January 25th-February 17th, 2013, at Krefeld, 35 Blumen eV - Blumenstrasse 35 47799 Krefeld. More details here.

Shadow Play and Happy Homes on the Sig Waller site and on Facebook and Tumblr.
 
image
 
image
 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Beautiful Fevered Dreams: The Art of Sig Waller


Sig Waller: ‘Our capacity for cruelty and suffering is timeless, as is our ability to look away’


 
More of Sig Waller’s ‘Happy Homes’, after the jump….
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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