On August 9 1979, German punk diva Nina Hagen caused what was dubbed “the scandal of the year” on the Austrian youth culture TV talkshow Club2 when she demonstrated several optimal positions for female masturbation.
The (fully-clothed, sorry!) action takes place towards the very end, just after the hour and 28-minute mark, when she gets into a heated argument about female orgasms with one of the guests. I don’t speak German, but it’s pretty clear for all to see who loses the debate and it’s not Nina!
The guy sitting next to her is Ferdinand Karmelk, the father of her daughter, German actress Cosma Hagen. The duo perform a sort of unplugged version of NunSexMonkRock‘s “Future is Now,” here.
The host of the show was was obliged to step down over the incident.
Although she’s celebrated as “the mother of punk,” the musical fruits of Nina Hagen’s early career sounded much closer to the tuba-led Bavarian oompah music of Heino than the scratchy, three chord thrash of The Slits. Which is not to say that the young Nina Hagen wasn’t the very embodiment of punk rock rebellion in Communist East Germany before anyone had ever heard of the Sex Pistols, because that is exactly what she was…
Raised by her mother, well-known film and TV actress Eva-Maria Hagen and her stepfather, dissident singer-songwriter Wolf Biermann (who was a big influence on her political views and a big nuisance to the GDR), Hagen began singing professionally at a young age. Backed by her group, Automobil, her 1974 single, “Du Hast den Farbfilm Vergessen” (“You forgot the color film”) became a huge hit in the GDR and made Hagen a big star. The seemingly innocent-sounding lyrics (a girlfriend berating her boyfriend for not bringing color film on their vacation) were a subtle dig mocking the sterile, gray, Communist state. The fluffy-sounding ditty became one the most popular songs of 1974 and the double meaning of the comical lyrics was apparently well-understood by both the general population and the Politbüro elites.
In 1976, Wolf Biermann was stripped of his citizenship and refused re-admittance into the GDR after he’d played a TV concert in Cologne. When her mother left to join her husband, Nina claimed to be Biermann’s biological daughter. However, the thing that probably got her visa stamped stat was her threat to the authorities that she would become “the next Wolf Biermann.”
Four days later she was living in the West. I wonder how many people were thrown OUT of East Germany? That’s punk!
Below, 18-year-old Nina Hagen (and Automobil) singing “Du Hast den Farbfilm Vergessen” (“You forgot the color film”). There is a version with subtitles here.
A young Nina Hagen doing a punky—some might call it demonic—live cover version of “Ziggy Stadust” around the time of her Unbehagen album in 1980. I like the Bauhaus cover, too, but I like her version even better. It’s great to see how NIna Hagen has managed to retain such a devoted cult following for all these years. She works hard at it, that’s for sure. She deserves it.
Dangerous Minds is a compendium of oddities, pop culture treasures, high weirdness, punk rock and politics drawn from the outer reaches of pop culture. Our editorial policy, such that it is, reflects the interests, whimsies and peculiarities of the individual writers. And sometimes it doesn't. Very often the idea is just "Here's what so and so said, take a look and see what you think."
I'll repeat that: We're not necessarily endorsing everything you'll find here, we're merely saying "Here it is." We think human beings are very strange and often totally hilarious. We enjoy weird and inexplicable things very much. We believe things have to change and change swiftly. It's got to be about the common good or it's no good at all. We like to get suggestions of fun/serious things from our good-looking, high IQ readers. We are your favorite distraction.