— rabatjoie

In 1978, the Swiss post-punk band Kleenex (later LiLiPUT) recorded this magnificent song and music video. Below a translation of the german lyrics. The lineup is: Regula Sing (vocals), Marlene Marder (guitar), Klaudia Schiff (bass) and Lislot Ha (drums).

Oh, they are so pretty
oh, they are so nice.
Pink, that’s what they like,
light blue, that’s what they wear.
The little white poodles,
Oh, so naïve in the pack.

They don’t need you,
they can buy everything.
Pink, that’s what they like,
light blue, that’s what they wear.
The little black poodles,
Oh, so naïve in the pack.

They say what you’re saying,
they think what you’re thinking.
They can buy everything,
they cannot dream.
Pink, that’s what they like,
light blue, that’s what they wear.

Oh, they are so pretty
oh, they are so nice.
Pink, that’s what they like,
light blue, that’s what they wear.
The little black poodles,
Oh, so naïve in the pack.

They don’t have to think,
they are so light.
Pink, that’s what they like,
light blue, that’s what they wear.
The little black poodles,
Oh, so naïve in the pack.

I’m currently reading Céline:

Louis-Ferdinand Céline: Voyage au bout de la nuit. Paris: Gallimard, 1952, p. 36

Le canon pour eux c’était rien que du bruit. C’est à cause de ça que les guerres peuvent durer. Même ceux qui la font, en train de la faire, ne l’imaginent pas. La balle dans le ventre, ils auraient continué à ramasser de vieilles sandales dur la route, qui pouvaient «encore servir». Ainsi le mouton, sur le flanc, dans le pré, agonise et broute encore.

A quote from Elfriede Jelinek’s acceptance speech for the Heinrich Böll Prize 1986:

In den Waldheimen und auf den Haidern dieses schönen Landes brennen die kleinen Lichter und geben einen schönen Schein ab, und der schönste Schein sind wir. Wir sind nichts, wir sind nur was wir scheinen: Land der Musik und der weißen Pferde. Tiere sehen dich an, sie sind weiß wie unsere Westen, und die Kärntneranzüge zahlreicher Bewohner und deren befreundeter Politiker sind braun und haben große Westentaschen, in die man viel hineinstecken kann. So sieht man sie in der Nacht nicht allzu deutlich, diese mit dem Geld befreundeten Politiker und deren Bewohner (das Wahlvolk, das Volk ihrer Wahl, das die Politiker in ihren Herzen herumtragen), wenn sie wieder einmal slowenische Ortstafeln demolieren gehen. Vielen von ihnen würden, nach eigener Aussage, gern noch einmal nach Stalingrad gehen, wenn sie nicht die ganze Zeit damit beschäftigt wären, die Kommunisten im eigenen Land zu bekämpfen.

Full text.

Above a video by Primal Scream, for the song Kowalski, from their 1997 album Vanishing Point. Kate Moss and Devon Aoki (who would go on to play Miho in Sin City) can be seen stealing a Dodge Challenger, the same car that was featured in the 1971 car chase classic Vanishing Point. The two girls drive through London and stop by a random guy’s place to beat him up, handcuff him to the bedframe, and leave him to be discovered by the yellow press. They then go on to karate-chop two members of Primal Scream unconscious and dump them in the streets near the port of London.

References abound: Kowalski is the name of the driver who, in the film, races a white Dodge Challenger from Denver to San Francisco, high on speed, trying to escape the clock, the cops, and maybe also the dawning seventies. The voice which can be heard throughout the video belongs to Super Soul, a blind Radio DJ who guides Kowalski during his odyssey, and who in his speeches elevates Kowalski’s voyage to the level of a transcendental struggle:

This radiostation was named Kowalski
In honour of the last american hero
To whom speed means freedom of the soul

There goes the Challenger
Being chased by the blue blue meanies on wheels
The vicious traffic squad cars
Are after our lone driver

The last American hero
The electric centaur, the demi god
The super driver of the golden west
Two nasty Nazi cars are close behind
The beautiful lone driver
The police number are getting closer, closer
Closer to our soul hero, in his soul mobile
Yeah baby, they’re about to strike
They’re gonna get him, smash him
Rape the last beautiful free soul on this planet

Ten years later, Quentin Tarantino brings out Death Proof, the second half of which also has a couple of girls drive around in a Dodge Challenger and beat up a guy. Tarantino makes his hommage to Vanishing Point very clear, even annoyingly so when he has one of the actresses literally explain it to the audience. However, viewing the Primal Scream video one wonders if there is not a second layer of reference to be found here, one that Tarantino maybe was more hesitant to flaunt?

So apparently they’re making a new live-action Akira movie, and the majority of the cast will be made up of western actors. This guy will play Kaneda, and the role of Kei will be taken on by (brace yourselves) this charming lady here. Just sayin’.

Yesterday I went to a preview screening of The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 at the MK2 Beaubourg. The film, directed by swedish documentary filmmaker Göran Hugo Olsson, consists mainly of footage that was discovered in the archives of a swedish television station after having been forgotten for over 30 years. It does a decent job in introducing the uninformed spectator to the different variants of black radical movements in the sixties and seventies, and holds some unseen footage for the more seasoned viewers interested in this period of time.

The best moments of the film arise when the stage is left to the charismatic personalities of the time, especially Stokley Carmichael and Angela Davis. These historic documents are counterpointed by voice-overs recorded in 2010, where veteran activists but also current figures such as Questlove, Talib Kweli and Erykah Badu comment on the impact that these speeches had on them, or in the case of Talib Kweli, who was held up by police in 2001 for having listened to speeches of Stokley Carmichael, what consequences they can still have.

However, at times it seems that the film does not so much attempt to provide a comprehensive presentation and analysis of the various political movements, but rather tries to present absolutely all of the footage that had been found. This may explain why the film makes a detour into a quarrel between swedish television and the US publication TV Guide, which is funny to watch but which does not really contribute anything to the topic at hand. In the same fashion, the drug problem in the early seventies is dealt with briefly, but again it seems that this is done because there is some footage rather than because it makes sense in the overall plot – in order for that to be the case, the problem would have to have been analyzed more thoroughly.

For all its shortcomings, The Black Power Mixtape is an eminently necessary film today – for actually talking about the last real revolutionary movements that the U.S. of A. have seen in the twentieth century, and for separating the different movements that are usually thrown into one and the same pot nowadays. One can only hope that this film finds further distribution, and is not destined to exist in the obscurity of documentary film festivals that reach only a handful of people.


Official Site
Review in the NY Times

From Faulkner’s Sanctuary (1931):

William Faulkner: Sanctuary. London: Vintage Books, 2011 (1931), p. 114-115

He changed again. The waiting crowd was composed half of young men in collegiate clothes with small cryptic badges on their shirts and vests, and two girls with painted small faces and scant bright dresses like identical artificial flowers surrounded each by bright and restless bees. When the train came they pushed gaily forward, talking and laughing, shouldering aside older people with gay rudeness, clashing and slamming seats back and settling themselves, turning their faces up out of laughter, their cold faces still toothed with it, as three middle-aged women moved down the car, looking tentatively left and right at the filled seats.

Look out honey, ’cause I’m using technology

[ I.P. & the Stooges ]

Into the ear of every anarchist
that sleeps but doesn’t dream
we must sing
we must sing
we must sing

[ Bright Eyes ]

There is a mean poem about the Leid-Stadt, by a German man named Mr. Rilke. But we will not read it, because we are going to Happyville.