Thursday, July 12, 2007

Random facts about me

This morning I'm feeling nostalgic looking up old music. So Francois, here are some random facts about me.

I went to this concert (but in Lund, not in Hamburg) back in 1984:

It was an immense experience. All these apocalyptic cold war people with black suits and orange haircuts. An aesthetic I now associate with German Expressionism and its use of notions of "degeneracy" (leading to the movement getting its own exhibit organized by Hitler - the Degenerate Art Exhibit in 1937).

I saw this show in Minneapolis in 1987:

It had an amazing opening film - a closeup of two lipstick-smeared lips making noises - that I now realize was an homage to "Flaming Creatures" (in fact, the whole Cure getup is I think an homage to Jack Smith, whose less famous films from the 1960s feature people with faux-arabic garbs and strange haircuts like Robert Smith's). That's just an aweful song. Ahrg. Good heavens. I can't believe I ever liked this band, but around 1986-87 it was just about all I listened to. That and the Smiths, a band that has aged better I think.

I went to this exact show in 1992:

I was thrown around by the crowd the entire show until the end when I was tossed down on the ground and some big biker guy pissed on me. This made me angry so I left the show before it was over and went to a side-tent and watched the guy from Talking Heads.

Though really the show that was the most important (if it's OK to use such an important word when talking about these random facts) was probably a show by the Minneapolis band Blackie in the basement of the Steamboat Gallery (?) in St Paul. Blackie was about 8-10 people who never rehearsed an only played together on special occasions. Some of them knew how to play the instrument and some didn't. The lead singer was this flamboyantly gay guy with a baseball hat. While the others produced mayhem he rolled around on the ground, video-ing himself while shouing "We're in Spokane." At first I was almost stunned with revulsion, but then I realized how powerful that revulsion was or could be.

All these instances deal in various ways with the Gothic interest in degenecracy and spectacle, things that have remained interesting to me (even though I don't go to shows anymore and when I go I'm bored.


Blogger François Luong said...

Speaking of the Cure and German Expressionism, I've always equated the former with Neue Sachlichkeit rather than with the latter. I think it had to do with the desolate landscapes (Giorgio de Chirico was loosely associated with NS). I'm thinking mostly about the Cure's trilogy (Pornography, Disintegration and the tedious Bloodflowers) rather than their other albums.

7:06 PM  
Blogger François Luong said...

Oh, and when I think German Exp. & bands, I tend to think of Siouxsie & the Banshees.

7:23 PM  
Blogger Johannes said...

That's a good point. You've also got something like Dr Caligari, which came in the 20s - like neue sachlichkeit - and makes use of g.e. ideas. I mean when you look at the people in that film, especially the sleepwalker, they look straight out of some goth band.

4:44 AM  
Blogger Johannes said...

But you can also see the influence from GE - for example if you look at the costumes from the strange plays etc. Also, NS is not entirely distinct from GE.

5:49 AM  
Blogger François Luong said...

Yeah, it's true that many painters described by Franz Roh as Neue Sachlichkeit were also members of G.E. (Grosz, Dix).

4:47 PM  

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