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I changed my blog!

…it’s now Thanks to all the visitors over the last 2,5 years!

September 29, 2011 at 12:09 am Leave a comment

Techno — From Kraftwerk to Kalkbrenner

The following article is an edited version of an essay I had to write for university.

One easily stumbles into a terminological muddle when inquiring into the development of techno and similar genres. Trance, House, Electro, Dance – which style was first and who created or named it? This question, however, is misleading as there have been several processes involved which established techno music and its culture. This genre was always connected to a lifestyle, which influenced the music and, conversely, the music influenced the lifestyle. In this essay I explore the development of techno as both a music genre and a form of lifestyle. Furthermore, I will argue that what has been labelled as “techno” since the mid 1980s has had an impact on newer genres of music and has led to new articulations of a lifestyle connected to music.

Techno is a “dirty word,” as DJ Laurent Garnier once claimed. Even today, House or other genre names seem to be much more favoured by electronic music aficionados than the techno label. But where do the names house and techno come from? House is a shortened form of warehouse, thus it refers to the industrial place where electronic music became popular. Similarly, techno is also described as having its roots in industrial environments, such as Detroit and Düsseldorf. The genre name house incorporates the space where the music is perceived and techno refers to its electronic production side, but also to the technology dominated environment of Detroit, which has been nicknamed as “Motown” or “Motor City.” Thus the genre names house and techno both carry their industrial origins in their names and equally refer to the place and the manner of electronic music production and consumption.

Before techno was a buzz word in the mid 90s, the electro genre emerged as a distinction to hip-hop in the early 80s which then led to the first tracks being explicitly labelled as Techno in Detroit. Later in the 80s, Detroit Techno artist Juan Atkins also used the techno label as a deliberate distinction to Chicago’s harmonic House music, thus the more dissonant and harder techno reflects the more desolate social situation of Detroit. All in all, Techno is a contested term but generally is understood as a movement of music that first spread in Detroit along with hip-hop and house.

Techno is a contradictory reaction to industrial innovations in the 80s. In his telling book title “Techno Rebels: the renegades of electronic funk,” Dan Sicko sees Techno as a genre under the electronic music umbrella with “the most impact worldwide and [which] has the largest story to tell” (2). His title alludes to Alvin Toffler’s notion of “Techno Rebels,” which describes people who are cautious of the great speed of technological developments and argue that technology does not need to be “big, costly, or complex in order to be ‘sophisticated.’” (Toffler qtd. in Sicko 12).This quote sounds misleading, as techno did not rebel against technology, but innovates music with new electronic production devices, which are easier and less costly as compared to the technology that is required when a rock-band plays on stage. The “sophistication” of techno refers to the non-futuristic and non-technologic ‘basic’ ideals of many electronic artists such as equality and the belief in the positive potential of individuals in modern society (Sicko 12). Also, Sicko’s phrase “electronic funk” possibly relates to statements of DJs that the proto-techno group Kraftwerk was praised as being “funky” which undermines the original notion of “funky” as being played with soul and heart and not sounding as sterile and repetitive – at least superficially – as Kraftwerk.

The New York hip-hop artist Afrika Bambaata is also seen as one of the pre-techno artists. Bambaata is one of the early artists with an “electro-funk-sound” (Sicko 20) and his early single “Planet Rock” (together with the Soulsonic Force) is based on two Kraftwerk tracks (46). As with techno, which is interpreted as a counter-movement to Chicago’s house music, Detroitʼs Techno is seen as a renegade of Bambaata’s electronic funk flourishing in New York. In 1983, one year after “Planet Rock,” Cybotron from Detroit released “Enter,” the “blueprint for today’s electro and techno records.” Interestingly, Cybotronʼs following release “Techno City” was one of the reasons why the group split up, because the sound was becoming too little “rock-based” for one of the group members, Richard Davis (46-47). The success of the drum&bass sound in the mid 90s evolved as the mid-way or the compromise between techno and hip-hop. Particularly the Prodigy epitomises such a hybrid form: The founder Liam Howlett had his musical roots in hip-hop and as a “brit-hop” DJ mixed breakbeat and house music in his tracks (116-17). Also, the parallels to rock music are hard to miss regarding the bandʼs sound, as they perform like a rock band on stage and have a drummer. If one looks at Bambaataʼs music video of “Planet Rock” today, almost thirty years after its release, one notices a similar stylistic eclecticism on the level of the artistʼs clothing: The black artists on stage wear native Americanʼs clothing, one man is lightly dressed up as a woman with a pink hat, another band member wears a space suit with bull horns like in a science-fiction movie. Not only does this ʻqueerʼ carnevalistic scene call electronic musicʼs stylistic eclecticism into attention, but it also foreshadows the efforts of techno listeners to dress up at techno parades.

The many influences and articulations of techno outlined so far already suggest that it became a genre which takes a positive position towards living in a technology-dominated environment, or it fills the voids that industry leaves, such as filling warehouses with house music. The technological lifestyle required a new ʻspiritualityʼ of a post-industrial age, when machines partly replaced human labour, as it was the case in the formerly heavily labour-dependent automobile production plants in Detroit. Possibly for this reason, the Kraftwerk album “Mensch-Maschine” is credited as a great influence on Detroit artists (Sicko 9-10), as it metaphorically circumscribes the situation of locals being dependent on the industry in Detroit and which were searching for a reconciliation of the notions of man and machine. Even later, when techno music and computer technology developed further, techno-rebellion remains a helpful concept to explain why Techno music was becoming popular: “Techno Rebels” are “neo-hippies” that fight for more humaneness and followers of the techno culture, such as “cyberpunks” and computer “hackers” try to rescue the subject and the “me” in the industrial world, whose subjects increasingly felt threatened by the emergence of robots (Poschardt 378). The rebellion of the subject is particularly practised at techno festivals, whose visitors often wear individual and colourful costumes with an ‘anything goes’ attitude: thus they reclaim the individual in urban and – to speak with Marx – ‘alienated’ environments.

As figured out above, the techno culture implemented new digital tools in the production process but it has been open towards inspiration from established genres. Techno evolved before the internet era beginning in the 90s and could broaden its popularity and influence because of the internet. But there are critical voices: Jaron Lanier complains in his recent internet critical book about the “first-ever era of musical stasis” because popular music produced between the late 1990s and the late 2000s has no uniqueness and is “retro, retro, retro” (128-29). He admits that new styles evolved, but unfortunately “there’s an elaborate nomenclature for species of similar electronic beat styles,” for example dub, house and trance. This nomenclature leads to an easy method to figure out to which genre and era a track belongs (130). It is true that there is a great ‘category battle’ over electronic music styles. The internet facilitates such category discussions due to the amount and the instant online accessibility of electronic music, but this does not mean that this is inherent in the music or its quality. A producer criticises the fragmentation of electronic music and calls it a “pigeon-holing obsession [which] primarily comes from journalists and forum-heroes, and generally only serves a negative purpose” (Gresham qtd. in Sicko 137). Lanier has a point when he says that there is a loss of uniqueness and that electronic music is retro in the sense that it overtly makes use of other styles, or even whole samples and elements that DJs incorporate in their sets. However, this remixing of old elements and mashing them up is a consequence in a post-industrial culture with an abundance of images and sound. One of the the insights of modern art was that one can be creative with reproduction. Avantgardist artists of the 20th century such as Duchamp, Picabia and Warhol created art works that question the author-centered understanding of art (Poschardt 16). What Lanier also fails to see is that electronic music culture, particularly techno, is not so much about individual tracks, but about DJs who play their music for long hours and attempt to achieve an effect that exceeds the quality of an individual track. Good DJ’s have an intuitive understanding when a track has the best effect in a particular position of their set, which gains importance in repetitive sounding techno tracks. It remains a matter of interpretation whether one sees the repetitiveness and remix culture of techno as a strength or a weakness, but techno is a response to a culture that recognized that there are no ʻoriginalsʼ anymore and the creative challenge is rather in creating something new from something old.

In conclusion, techno is a new stage of music that resulted from technological developments in both a negative and positive sense: the increasingly automatized post-industrial landscape of Detroit led to the redundancy of many employees, but this gave room for new forms of experiencing music, such as in warehouses. It was felt that there was time for a techno-rebellion, meaning that people used technology creatively and thus becoming renegades of the old, pre-techno understanding of “funk.” Nowadays, the heritage of techno is still visible, as it influenced today’s pop and rock music. Hybrid forms such as the Prodigy and Pendulum are a strong example of the impact of techno music and its development into new genres. The DJ star cult and great marketing efforts by music corporations undermine the original understanding of techno with its focus being entirely on the music and experimenting with it. As a negative example, former underground ‘legends’ such as Paul van Dyk and Moby turn their gigs into performances evoking the same starcult as Rock bands did before. Significantly, DJ Paul Kalkbrenner’s recent international success is also due to him being the main actor in the film “Berlin Calling” which resulted in subsequent bookings and international fame, rather than that he became famous with the music itself. Moby, Paul van Dyk and Fritz Kalkbrenner were children of techno’s popularity in the 80s and 90s, but now take own ways in the more popular “dance” or “electronic” music genre. Techno, however, remains the most influential of the electronic music genres.


Article on Detroit, Techno and Kraftwerk, New York Times

Toffler and the concept of “techno rebels,” Wikipedia

Short Interview with Dan Sicko, (Sicko is the author of my main source used above)

Or grab the books that I quoted above (Some are on GoogleBooks as well):

Poschardt, Ulf. DJ Culture: Diskjockeys und Popkultur. Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1997.

Lanier, Jaron. You are not a Gadget. London: Penguin Books, 2010.

Sicko, Dan. Techno Rebels: the renegades of electronic funk. 2nd Ed. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 2010.

March 22, 2011 at 1:19 am Leave a comment

Buchkritik: Ein Strohfeuer von Sascha Lobo

“Erworben aus Studienbeiträgen” steht prominent im roten Einband meiner Strohfeuer-Bibliotheksausgabe. Mir kommt also der doofe Spruch in den Sinn: “Strohfeuer –‘Erworben aus Studienbeiträgen’? Toll, also meine Studiengebühren für ein Strohfeuer!” Und dann gleich drei Ausgaben laut Uni-Bibliothekskatalog.

Nun aber zum Buch. Der Roman Strohfeuer liest sich schnell durch, ähnlich eines Strohfeuers, das sich durch’s Stroh frisst — ein telling title. Wobei die Kategorie “Roman” zu hoch gestochen ist. Vielleicht eher Blogger-Schmonzette.

Schmonzette soll hier nicht nur abwertend gemeint sein, denn laut Florian Illies darf Spaß ja auch mal sein — wobei Illies wohl davon ausgeht, dass höhere Literatur konträr zu Unterhaltung ist? Egal, Strohfeuer liest sich fix durch, hat wenig Dramaturgie, die Kapitel sind kurz, dafür gibt’s aber twitternswerte Sprüche. Mensch, was hab’ ich mein Umfeld mit dem Spruch “Bier ab Vier, Sekt ab Sechs, Alk ab Acht” genervt. Die Übertriebenheit der Ideen (Die Geilheit der Charactere auf die üblichen Statussymbole oder Flüche wie “Scheisse! Fuck! Hitler” und das Scratchen zu Hitlerreden, s. auch FAZ– oder Welt-Rezensionen) mag sicherlich ein paar müde Lacher hervorrufen, aber einen befriedigenden Roman ergibt die Summe von Vulgaritäten nicht. Da hätten hundert Seiten oder Kurzgeschichten gereicht.

Einfach gradlinig und anekdotisch irgendwelche Werbe-Hedonisten herumparlieren zu lassen, trägt nicht zur Auklärung dieser verlogenen New-Economy-Periode bei, sondern folgt ganz in seiner Logik: Auf halbgaren Gequatsche wird Roman draufgeschrieben, dann noch verlegt bei Rowohlt, und schon haben wir ein New-Economeskes Strohfeuer, das noch nicht mal leugnet, dass es auf intellektueller Ebene tatsächlich ein solches ist.

Dabei kann Lobo Bücher schreiben, bloss keine Romane. Viele Sachen die er macht, sind es Wert abgedruckt zu werden. Ist mit Wir nennen es Arbeit ja auch schon geschehen. Es braucht keinen schwachen Roman, der mit dem Symbolwerte seiner Frisur auf dem Cover wirbt, um die paar Twitter-Follower abzuzapfen, die den Gegenwert von 19 Songs aus dem iTunes-Store entbehren können.

November 16, 2010 at 10:50 pm Leave a comment

“Foreigners Out!” — Container Europe

The European Union seems to be a safe container in the stormy waters of globalisation. However, the EU is often idealised as a liberal, political power without violence, striving for peace. I would argue with Orwell and Zizek, that in order to maintain peace, one needs a great amount of violence: “People sleep peacably in their beds  at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” (Orwell’s 1984).

And this is particularly true today: The violence to maintain the “security,” or “peace” within the EU is not only used (or better: misused) at its very borders (EU’s Frontex border guards for example), but deep inside the EU — in the middle of France or Germany, perversely enough.

I owe the title and the idea of this blog entry to Christoph Schlingensief, who once organized an art project in Austria. His idea: Via the internet, one could vote foreigners/refugees out of the country. They where kept in a Big-Brother-like container standing in the middle of Vienna. Is this the idea that grows in some Sarkozy-Sarrazin-Jones-infected brains? Deciding to throw people out because they are not intelligent or French/German/Christian enough? This might be the first right-wing populist idea inspired by X-Factor or Big Brother.

For all the recent examples (Quran-Burning plans, Sarrazin, Sarkozy)  it is the case that advocates of these self-named culture protectors don’t take the Shrapnell effect into consideration. With their actions, they might hit some persons who fulfill the cliché of being , for example, a violent fundamentalist, but they hit many more presumable foreigners accidentally — which leads to strong reactions that even cause more violence or ill-behaviour. A vicious circles, but I am not telling something new here…

But why to care about Sarkozy and Sarrazin? The debates in France and Germany going on at the moment create great counter reactions, so that I don’t even know which movement is stronger: the intolerant one (most commentators pretend this), or the liberal, multicultural one. Hopefully these are just the necessary discussions that take place every now and then, and which have the function to test and re-negotiate the West’s values of tolerance and towards multiculturalism.

September 14, 2010 at 8:00 pm Leave a comment

“Germany Eliminates Itself”

There is a pile of Sarrazin articles in one corner of my room. Actually reading them closely is an idea that I erase quicker the hotter the debate gets.

I just come back from a trip abroad three days ago. In Romania I sometimes felt like being in a German colony: German shops here and there, Obi and Hornbach, Metro and Kaufland everywhere. Maybe I felt a bit of pride when I confirmed to Romanians, yeah this and that is German…

Then, what I read in the Financial Times Europe cover story on my way back to Germany is the opposite feeling: “Germany Eliminates Itself” (eliminates is a too strong translation, I suggest “Germany Abolishes Itself”). For a moment, the book title in the cover’ s large picture, with this awkwardly, stubbornly looking Doctor becomes representative for Germany, for all foreign businessmen and tourists accidentally seeing these news. No good news.

Sarrazin reminds me of Dr Strangelove in the Kubrick movie: Strange ideas, uncontrolled behaviour. For political correctness, I have to say that Sarrazin is no the Dr Strangelove in the regard that he plays a former Nazi, but I suggest that Sarrazin similarly has the habit of sometimes strangling himself metaphorically, because what he says is way too extremist — which will lead to the loss of him being perceived as a serious public voice: exclusion from his political party, loss of Bundesbank board post. Also: Did not Dr Strangelove had almost equally strange ideas about breeding of intelligent people?

Germany needs better and more integration. But does Sarrazin really think that with such polemic (“Jews share certain genes”, “import brides”, “hijab girls”) he could kindle a  discussion except within the circles that are as vulgraly conservative as Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck? The way Sarrazin implies that Germany is a fixed, stable entity is antiquated. Germany needs to be more open and reinvent itself. With the EU, it is on a good way. This may sound naive-liberal, laissez-faire, but the debate should not be taken over by the strong right wing alone. Nobody else, meaning the moderate and left-wing citizens, would listen anyway — as Sarrazin is already on the way to becoming a second Eva Hermann, a former newsspeaker who also stirred the debate with extremist comments (“not everything was bad [in Hitler times]!”).

The integration/immigration topic definitely deserves greater attention, but Sarrazin brings it into the self-applauding right-wing sphere, and then others — like me — don’t want to discuss anymore. Polemic is great, political incorrectness at the expense of others, underpriviliged people is fail! With Sarrazin’s way of discourse, integration eliminates itself, not Germany. There are already stories like “How people like Sarrazin make me a stronger muslim.”

Of course, Sarrazin might have passages worth discussing in his book, but what’s the point of fixing the crashed Sarrazin car when only two wheels are still OK?

“Germany Eliminates itself” (eliminates is a too strong translation, I suggest “Germany abolishes itself”). This book title, and this awkwardly, stubbornly looking Doctor becomes representative for Germany, for all businessmen and tourists accidentally seeing these news.

September 3, 2010 at 12:01 pm Leave a comment

No more Loveparade

Many news reports used something like “Dead…Loveparade”  as a title for the tragedy in Duisburg. And just the connection of these two words seems so strange to me… how could such a big festival turn into a disaster all of a sudden.

My condolences to all tragically involved.

I think what we need is not another shocking news report or Youtube video, not another quick judgmenent, but maybe a reflection on what has happened so far.  As an electronic music fan, I give you my personal Loveparade story;

I only once went to Loveparade in, in 2006. I danced — or whatever you want to call it — at the opening event of Loveparade with a comfortable 2000-3000 people, but then was rather too tired to go to the real rave the next morning. But somehow I found myself strolling around the Brandenburg Gate, very quickly passed the security gate which was directly installed under the famous arches of the Gate. I thought the people there, mostly cliché ravers, were disgusting but, as I told you, I was not in a party mood. I remember the fences around the Tiergarten, to prevent destruction and trash there, but in a situation of panic, these fences would have fallen easily. Thank god.

Just yesterday, I saw a short Youtube video in which the project manager rejects the concerns about the small area with humour: “Half a square metre is enough to dance….” (or so). I did not worry then, I thought “Well, there must have been enough heads in the city to think about that.” Compared to the spaciousness of Berlin’s Tiergarten area, the Duisburg area was a birdcage. And the same amount of people was expected as in the peak years of the former Loveparade.

As a child, I saw some of Dr Motte’s openings of Loveparade on TV — and I wondered about these crazy people dancing to brainlessly booming music. Some years later I found myself at a smaller rave and sensed why people like this music; music that was there played by a real DJ, so non-Scooter, so non-DJ-Bobo-like. It was so energetic, so creative, so without limits. Pure excess, pure escape.

Loveparade illustrated (simple past here, I guess the parade itself is dead now) the commercialization of techno music. After the political flirts of the parade in the 90s, the festival today was more a socially-accepted carnival for everyone. And of course, I liked the fact that more and more people got enthusiastic about the music I grew into and in which I discovered my own taste.

Still, the scene grows and in my hometown Hannover I discover a great variety of electronic events organized by the local scene. Not that big and mainstreamy, but very creative and intense. Techno was born in such small, clubby environments in which it still flourishes. Loveparade in Duisburg was  a Zombie — the event itself was dead, kept half alive by McFit and Duisburg City, but the scene was and is growing and growing, still in the stuffy clubs were it started. That the organizers and the city did not care about anything anymore is the toxic waste of absolute commercialization.

Sad to see that the music has been instrumentalized for purely commercial interests, and when reading this article and the comments (!!!) warning about a stampede way before the parade started on can only ask: How careless were the organizers? How deep was the city’s greed for money?

July 24, 2010 at 10:32 pm 3 comments

Im Trend: Bücherschränke

“Der Trend geht Richtung Zweitbuch”, entgegnete mir eine Antiquarin, als ich zu geizig war, anstatt die Bücher im Zweierpaket nur einzeln zu kaufen. Zu dem Kafka nahm ich dann widerwillig noch Adorno, und schon sah ich mein Lesepensum im Niedergang, denn dann liegt hier in meiner Bude nur wieder ein neuer ungelesener Haufen, und man weiß nicht, womit man überhaupt anfangen soll.

Zuviele Bücher verstopfen also den Kopf, und jetzt steht hier einer dieser Outdoorbücherschränke am Fiedelerplatz, wo jeder nehmen und geben kann, wie er will. Heute zeigte ich den ersten ausländischen Besuchern diesen Schrank — sie waren sehr begeistert und machten Fotos mit ihm.

Die Leidensgeschichte fang aber schon im Juli 2009 an: In Bonn-Poppelsdorf. Jawohl, ich habe diesen Bücherschrank am Bild von Wikipedia wiedererkannt, und ich erinnerte mich sogleich daran, dass ich dort das vielbeachtete Internetarbeitsweltbuch “Wir nennen es Arbeit” (Lobo/Friebe) aus dem Schrank gezogen habe.

Und seitdem stehe ich in der Schuld mit dem Bücherschrank Bonn-Poppelsdorf, denn natürlich hatte ich kein Buch dabei, um Ausgleich zu schaffen. Irgendwann, wohl als Pensionär, werde ich zu diesem Schrank zurückkehren um meine Schuld zu begleichen.

Ich kann mich noch dran erinnern, dass dort sogar die Hardcover-Version von “Das Parfüm” in der Bonner Sonne schmorrte. Auch heute wieder, bei meinem fast hauseigenen Bücherschrank am Fiedelerplatz: Die Qualität der Bücher ist gut, und die Anzahl der Leute, die alte PC-Handbücher reinstellen doch sehr gering.

Passend zur WM fand ich in diesem hannoveraner Bücherschrank auch Bücher zu Afrika — Die Nelson Mandela Autobiografie sowie Irgendwo/Nirgendwo in Afrika von Caroline Zweig. Themenaktualität ist also gegeben! Übrigens auch viel Englisches — Kurishei, Joyce, Poe etc.

Auch kann man gepflegt Selbstmarketing mit so einem Bücherschrank betreiben. Wie, ihr habt noch keinen Roman geschrieben? Nunja, Michel Turzynski schon, denn er hat zwei seiner Reiseberichte (“100 Länder nebenbei” und “Auf dem E1 von Göteborg über Flensburg nach Genua”) da signiert reingestellt, und nun wird er auf diesem hochklassigem Blog erwähnt. Seine Bücher gibt’s auf Oder diese Tage am Fiedelerplatz, wenn ich die Turzynskis wieder zurückstelle.

Laut Wikipedia gibt es in Hannover rekordverdächtig viele Bücherschränke, 13 an der Zahl, plus den an der Fiedelerstraße, denn ihn hat noch kein Wikipedianer erfasst.

Und mit gibt es das Ganze, wenn auch etwas anders, in ver-socialnetworkter Form, mit Merchandising, Community und allem drum rum.

Spätestens dann, wenn es wieder soweit kommt, sich mit Communities rumzuplagen, und die Bücher mit IDs zum tracken zu versehen, sollte man lieber ein Buch zur Hand nehmen und lesen, Internet aus.

July 4, 2010 at 10:20 pm 2 comments

Pimmel oder Partei?

Der Wahlkampfauftakt der SPD am Montag in Hannover hat mir einige Besucher über Google-Suche beschert: “Scharfschützen SPD Hannover, Scharfschützen Opernplatz, Scharfschützen Opernhaus Hannover” und weitere Variationen. Das sagt meine WordPress-Statistik.

Was Sicherheit anbelangt muss man ja kein Puritaner sein, denn es war ja u.a. Außenminister, Finanzminister, Ex-Kanzler, die Gesundheitministerin, SPD-Chef u.a. da. Ja, da will ich garnicht schelten, und diese Sicherheitsmaßnahmen hat sich die SPD ja nicht alleine ausgesucht.

Was mich aber stört, war dieser Orchestergrabenähnliche-Bereich vor der Bühne, gefüllt mit Zott-Steinmeier-Logo-Winker, SPD hipphepphurra! usw., zu dem Spontanbesucher keinen Zugang hatten. Da fühlt sich das SPD-Mitglied ausgegrent und denkt über Gleichheitsgrundsätze nach, und erzwungener Wahlkampfinszenierung.

Öffentlicher Platz muss öffentlicher Platz sein und bleiben. Für sozialdemokratische Parteien sollte das mal 1000 potenziert gelten. Große Plätze kann die Stadt ja vermieten und der Mieter übt dann das Hausrecht aus. Wenn das Brüno am Brandenburger Tor mit Pimmelkostüm macht, dafür Berlin Geld gibt, ist mir das alles politisch völlig egal (Wie geschehen, um Werbung für den Cohen Film zu machen).

Aber welche politische Botschaft sendet eine sozialdemokratische Partei aus, wenn eine selbstgerechte SPD-Organisatorin einfach ein Satiremagazin vom Platz schmeißt? …wie vorgestern in Kiel geschehen:

(Danke für Video, RT@Nerotunes)

Die Jusos können gut damit umgehen, scherzen herum. Der Hausrechtsausübende-Kleingeist der dann kommt denkt wohl, aha Bruderkuss, Steinmeier mit Lafontaine, pfui-bah, Linkewohlnwanich. Also runter von dem Platz, Polizei zur Hilfe!

Diese Sache, plus meinen Erlebnissen am Montag, wo Jusos versucht haben, einen “Internetaktivisten” (nenne ich mal so, ausdrücklich war er kein Piraten-Partei-Mitglieder!) von der Stelle zu vertreiben, zwingen mich zu der Frage, inwiefern ich mich als Mitglied mit der SPD identifizieren kann.

Wenn schon auf kleiner Ebene so geheuchelt wird, wie kann es dann auf großer Ebene klappen?

Die provokante Überschrift heißt übrigens nur so, damit dieser Blog neben der Google-Suche “Scharfschütze SPD” auch unter “Pimmel Partei” gefunden wird. Da fällt mir der präpubertäre Kinderwitz ein “Bist du Mit-Glied?” Nicht nur das, ich bin SPD-Mitglied.

Danke für die Logo-Sammlung an

September 3, 2009 at 11:58 pm Leave a comment

Randbeobachtungen: SPD-Wahlkampfauftakt in Hannover

Manchmal muss man sich die Politik ganz klassisch geben. In Athen war das vor 2000-und-ein-paar-zwerquetschten-Jahren auf der Agora, dem attischen Marktplatz. Heute war das hier in Hannover, auf dem Opernplatz.

Politik fernab der Fernseher und der Elefantenrunden. Unmoderiert und frontal. Mit dieser Neugier ging ich also an die Oper, um Müntefering und Steinmeier reden zu hören. 5.000 bis 8.000 andere Leute dachten so ähnlich. Web 0.0 ist im Trend!

Wo sich sonst Emos, Punks und manchmal Openbesucher tummeln, war also eine große Bühne aufgebaut. Auf dem Opernbalkon waren drei Scharfschützen und Polizisten mit Fernrohren. Neben Münte, war auch noch der zweite von den Stones anwesend: Stein-brück. Außerdem Gerhard Schröder mit Frau. Und ein paar vom “Kompetenzteam” — ich meine Manuela…die immer als jung und unverbraucht bezeichnet wird. Tatsächlich, diese Kernkompetenz hat sie!

Wichtige Menschen, die ich auf einem der drei Projektionswände reden hören darf. Und grund genug, dass maskierte Scharfschützen ihre Gewehre auf die Menge richteten.

Der Politikerkopf wurde auf der Enternung also recht klein, da der Orchestergraben ein näheres Herantreten an die Bühne verbat. Im Orchestergraben saßen also Schröder und andere Special Guests, und natürlich auch die sicherlich überzeugten Schilderwinker der Jusos.

Ich war naiv anzunehmen, dass dort eine Bühne steht, und das schnöde Volk sich dort sammelt. Nein: Presseeingänge und Ehrengäste. Abstand zum Volk blieb also gewahrt. Zusätzlich standen an der Seite des Orchestergrabens also Übertragungswagen, die den Blick auf die Bühne beschränkten. Irgendwo fand ich meinen Platz dann in der Nähe eines solchen Eingangs, wo gerade ein Juso mit Flagge hinter einem Internetaktivisten stand.

Wie also zu 75% meiner Zeit begnügte ich mich mit dem Blick auf einen Bildschirm. Spannender war, was so drumherum geschah: Zwei Jusos im besten gebügelten Hemd versuchten den anscheinenden Piratenpartei-Anhänger zu verdrängen, da er wohl die Sicht auf eine Projektionswand versperrte. “Scheiss Spinner von der Piratenpartei!” fiel dann als sozialdemokratischer Kommentar.

Im Orchestergraben allerdings störte die SPD-Jubelschilder-Winkerei (u.a.”Mindestlohn für Ackermann!”) im gleichen Maße meinen unmöglichen Blick auf den Redner, wie der Web 2.0-Aktivist mit seinem Web 0.0-Schild.

Und die Inhalte? Interessant fand ich, wie Müntefering meinte, der boulevardeske Angriff auf die Privatuni-Studentin die heuchelnderweise gegen Studiengebühren sei, “bringe die ganze FDP-Denke auf den Tisch.” Leider finde ich den Artikel auf bildonline nicht mehr, den Münte als Quelle nannte. Doch finde ich  generell, dass man auch in der SPD “Champagnersozialist” sein darf. Oder sich aus einer Luxusposition für eine Politik einzusetzen, die nicht nur auf den eigenen Vorteil ausgerichtet ist.

Steinmeier sprach hinterher noch in einem Satz von einer “Generation Ellenbogen und Generation Bonus.” Gibt es da schon Bücher zu, nach “Generation Golf” und “Generation Doof”? Haben wir es da nicht mit einer Klasse zu tun, die sich zuviel bedient.

Bekannte Positionen also, die die SPD zuverlässig vertrat. Gerechtigkeitsthemen, die breiten Zuspruch finden (die Zustimmung für einen Mindestlohn lag bei ca. 70%). Allerdings sind dort zwei Stolpersteine, die nicht in Richtung SPD deuten: Warum ist Graf Guttenberg so beliebt? Warum SPD und nicht gleich die Linke wählen — die diese Positionen nach Hartz-IV glaubwürdiger vertreten?

Die FAZ titelt heute, “Rot-Rot und  Schwarz-Gelb gleichauf.” Links hat also wieder aufgeholt, wenn man die Landes- und Bundesebene unzulässigerweise verquickt. Dennoch betont Münte, auf Bundesebene seien “die Schotten dicht. Keine Zusammenarbeit mit der Linkspartei.” Er merkt dann aber auch: “Da hat jetzt nur die Hälfte der Leute geklatscht. Dennoch…”

Die Bühne hatte das große Schild mit:”Unser Land kann mehr.” Und das ist vielleicht eine gute SPD-Botschaft, die Merkels passiver Haltung entgegentritt. Ich interpretiere das so, dass die SPD versucht, Wähler bei ihrer bequemen “Naja, die Merkel ist diplomatisch und hatte keine großen Fehler”-Haltung abzuholen.

Zum Schluss gab Steinmeier noch Autogramme beim meterhohen SPD-Würfel, der auch durch die Lande tourt. Die Würfel sind also noch nicht gefallen. OK, das war ein billiger Spruch.

August 31, 2009 at 9:09 pm Leave a comment

CouchsurfingStories#2: A tourist in the own city

On Monday, there were lots of guests in Hannover for the Coldplay concert. After a while of not-hosting (nobody asked me, indeed), I was happy to be the couchsurfing-host for two guests from Russia, St. Petersburg. My idea here is not to tell boring travelling stories like “have-you-been-here-and-there and I-have been-here-and-there and so on and so on and I have been to more countries to you and it is all soooo great and exotic.” No, this is boring, as I already wrote in my first couchsurfing story.

I think it is more interesting to tell you how couchsurfing changes the way you think.

So, on Monday, my guests from Russia, me and others were sitting in the Hannover-Künstlerhaus with some fruit juice. Two hours before Coldplay started to play, I and another person from the couchsurfing-Hannover-Community said goodbye to the guests, as we were not joining (Tickets 60-80 Euros!).

We helped to carry the sleeping bags of them, and as I was walking with a sleeping bag, an ice in the hand, lost in thoughts, it suddenly came to my mind: I feel like a tourist in my own city!

And this is cool, being a tourist in your own city.

It always happens to me, that I feel more conscious about the seemingly well-known-environment. People notice the facades of the houses, that are sometimes extremely beautiful in the area where I live. I first noticed them after a year living there.

Often, I become aware, that I should appreciate more the area I live: Guests notice how great it is to have a lake to swim and a big forest. Tourist go into a museum, inhabitants of a city only rarely. A year ago I went with a Canadian guest into the modern art Sprengel-Museum, and she told me about her modern art idea:

“I and a friend once wanted to make an art installation consisting of a transparent plastic-block were we vomited into.”

Disgusting idea, but could be modern art. If you have such stories, connected to all the modern art,  it really helps you to understand, how people might draft modern art ideas.

Couchsurfing also helps you to understand what Germany is, if you walk through these allotments (Kleingartenkolonien, Hannover has many!), where you think Snow White will soon show up between all the kitschy Gartenzwerge.

As I visited Oldenburg again, where I was born, I showed a Brazilian the Schlossgarten. Autumn, leaves were falling, ducks were swimming in a little lake. She spontaneously said: “It’s so Disney!” It seems that Disney had a huge impact on the global Europe-image, and there was also an exhibition in Munich about this («Walt Disneys wunderbare Welt und ihre Wurzeln in der europäischen Kunst»). The danger, off course, is that you affirm klischees. But, I think, the danger is the very much higher, if you travel with friends using a hostel and then visit all the mainstream attractions such as Maschsee or Rathaus.

If you want to change yout perspective in a more luxourious way, you can do what Svennov wrote on his Limmerstraßenblog:

Nach dem Einchecken bin ich zum Gast in meiner eigenen Stadt geworden, denn normalerweise wäre mir das Viertel um den Maschsee viel zu langweilig und das Maschseefest zu sehr verseucht mit unkultivierten und gleichzeitig langweiligen Menschen. Aber an diesem Tag war es genau das richtige, ein Kurzurlaub in einem anderen Stadtteil; ich beobachtete die Menschen wie ein Aussenstehender, sog alles in mich auf und fühlte mich ein bisschen wie auf einer Safari, die ohne Kamera auskommt.”

Join if you also want to be a tourist in your own city. Or go into a hotel as Svennov did, but this is probably the more expensive option.

August 29, 2009 at 6:15 pm 1 comment

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This Blog has no real mission, but it is just a place for me to publish stories.
I like to have the pressure to simply write something down for an abstract audience. was another attempt of me to do this when I was in Bristol. See below.

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