music


While on the trail of Thomas Müntzer, we were staying in the old mill in the town of Allstedt (Saxony-Anhalt). At the foot of the stairs is a box of free books, some of them hailing from the time of the DDR. Rifling through the collection, Christina came across the following:

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Yes, it’s a book of young children’s songs, called Sputnik, Sputnik, Orbit. Published in 1964, the first section states clearly:

Lieder vom sozialistischen Aufbau in Stadt und Land, von den Helfern bei der Arbeit, von Kran un Bagger, von Traktor und Kombine, von den Berufen der Eltern, von den Soldaten unserer Volksarmee, von Auto, von Feuerwehr, Eisenbahn und Sputnik.

Wonderful! If only there were more books like that for young children today. Some of the songs include the Sputnik song:

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The long train of which the child’s father is the driver:

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And there is a special section for May Day, naturally one of a number of children’s festivals:

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Even a 1 May song for kiddies:

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A rich resource for songs to sing with my grandson!

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Yes, we went to see them – again. For me, this was the ninth time since 2005. So now I’ve seen Tull in Australia, UK, USA, Denmark, Norway, and Russia. They seem to like turning up in places where I happen to be.

Equinox will publish a paperback version of my Nick Cave book in June 2013. At $25, it’s a bit more affordable.

Nick Cave 02

Some stray notes, one concerning an item completed, and two to come:

1. Sacred Economy book outline, over at Political Theology. This is a biggie, offering a whole new model for the economies of the ancient Near East. Due out later this year.

2. A very thoughtful response indeed to my Nick Cave book by Anthony Paul Smith. It deserves a response, especially on the matter of total depravity. And in response to Anthony’s question, a paperback is slated to appear soon.

3. A job: this will be a research associate position, 0.4 ($30,00o per year) at the University of Newcastle. I’m looking for a specialist in Marxist economic theory, ancient societies, and the emergence of capitalism. Full details soon.

The year 1980. Communism has taken over the world. Crowds in New York City are happily celebrating May 1. London is breaking the record in scrap metal collection.  South Africans are opening up yet another monument to the leaders of the proletariat. A young man whose heart is full of love is singing a song about the girl with whom he is in love. Together they travel  round the world to experience the utopian kingdom of universal equality.
The creators of the video clip dedicate their work to the unfulfilled dream of their fathers and grandfathers: the ‘bright future’ of communism.

Lyrics (Russian translation):

Heute hab ich dir gebracht
Schöne Blumen in der Nacht
Keine Röslein legt’ ich dir ins Bett
Weiße Pracht, zarter Strauß
Kam mit Maiglöckchen ins Haus
Auf dem Kissen lagen sie so nett.

Karl-Marx-Stadt, Karl-Marx-Stadt,
Du bist die Stadt roter Blumen,
Karl-Marx-Stadt, Karl-Marx-Stadt,
Aber ich mag nur weiß.

Keine Schrillheit in der Blüte
Steigt der Duft uns ins Gemüte
Bringt uns jetzt den Frülingszauber
Als ob ein weißes Lied erklingt
Als dein erster Hochzeitsring
Als ob deine erste Liebe, glaube ich.

Karl-Marx-Stadt, Karl-Marx-Stadt,
Du bist die Stadt roter Blumen,
Karl-Marx-Stadt, Karl-Marx-Stadt,
Aber ich mag nur weiß.

(ht sk)

Coming out shortly with Equinox (paperback a few months later). New title; new cover design by Jeff Iffe:

As some of you may know, I have recently spent a week in Transylvania with some of the best hosts in the world. It began in Bucharest, from where I took the ‘express’ to Baia Mare, the second last stop on the route.

‘Express’ meant it stopped at every second station, and in between it rolled along at a very leisurely pace – absolutely the best way to travel. 14 hours it took, for 690km:

Once in Transylvania (Maramureş to be exact) I enjoyed the mating rituals of the locals:

Was intrigued by the burial practices:

Was drawn to diabolically spicy Reformed churches:

And even more alluring Orthodox churches in the villages:

I even went to a rock concert:

But what really intrigued me was the fact that students and professors have different toilets – the professors a type of unisex arrangement:

Throughout this time, I kept being offered clear liquid in plastic bottles, which I naturally thought was water. Ţuică is its name, I was told, although I couldn’t figure out why it was served in small earthenware vessels and had a rather fiery taste. Which is probably why I thought this was the main road home:

By the time I realised I had been swilling the 60% proof plum-brandy, the locals were ready to celebrate my departure with gay abandon:

Can’t wait to return …

Not sure if Marx was into singing the Communist Manifesto, but why not? I read some Marx (and I liked it)here

(ht JM)

Listening to Timbuk3′s ‘Assholes on Parade’ while finishing off an article on that excitable, if often stoned, Giorgio Agamben. Some great lyrics:

Step aside, good people, it’s the assholes on parade

We’ve got the assholes for freedom,

assholes for fun,

assholes for Jesus,

and the assholes for guns

I once heard it said that old assholes never die,

They just lie in bed and multiply.

Assholes in the morning, assholes every night,

Assholes to the left and assholes to the right;

There’s 20,000 assholes on an asshole promenade.

And now for the ‘Tea Party’ version, one version here and one from youtube:

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Well, more soon – concerning James Juniper’s critique of Badiou’s mathematics this coming Tuesday. But for now the theme song for my new page, News from Newcastle. It comes from the incomparable Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – an overlay of the Odyssey and William Morris:

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What a physique (Nick’s, that is)!

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