Guten Tag

I unfolded myself off the bus, after thirty six hours from Krakow to north west England yesterday. Sleeping sitting up is a skill I’ve not quite got the hang of and my back has suffered. But our school trip to Krakow and Berlin was fantastic, all the moreso because we were in Berlin last Sunday night when Germany won the world cup. The streets of Berlin were flooded with thousands of Germans, most draped in the colours. We’d passed the Brandenberg Gate early on Saturday and had a look at the fan park but decided that keeping sixty-four teenagers safe while watching the final might be tricky. Eventually we all watched it on a big screen in the square outside our hotel and Hauptbahnhof, the main railway station. This ensured a constant flow of fans before and after the match. It was crackers and probably a once in a lifetime experience- watching a country win the world cup in that country’s capital city. It certainly won’t happen as a England fan.

Berlin is an amazing city, one which I want to return to. There’s so much to see and do- in two days we squeezed in sections of wall, Checkpoint Charlie, a trip up the TV tower, Alexanderplatz with its 60s concrete architecture, Sachsenhausen and the Olympic Stadium. Seeing some of the wall was a highlight for me- something that was such a key part of world history and from my lifetime. After Berlin we went to Krakow, which has a beautiful square and buildings, and drank tea (black tea with cold milk, the English way) in Noworolski Cafe, frequented by Lenin in the mid 1910s. And had a couple of Polish beers.

I’ve downloaded a few of the pics off my phone here…

Holger Czukay of Can, was born in Gdansk, Poland and raised in Germany. He has recently remixed some solo tracks from his 1977 album Der Osten Is Rot and issued them on 10″ vinyl through a Berlin based record label, Gronland Records. Click on the link for loads of grooviness. The remixed Sudetenland, with Jah Wobble, Jaki Leibezeit and Conny Plank, is out right now and you can listen to it here.

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Harder Than You Think

There’s all this top sport all over the place at the moment and then the mp3 player shuffled up this on the way home from work on Friday, just as I was at the traffic lights near home. The World Cup and the Tour de France will be poorer for those injuries to poor old Neymar (definitely out) and poor old Mark Cavendish (probably out).

Public Enemy’s Harder Than You Think was a single from their 20th anniversary album How Do You Sell Soul To A Soulless People Who Lost Their Soul? and proved that Chuck D and co had not lost their edge. It is lit up by a Shirley Bassey horn sample and is probably best known over here as the song that soundtracked the paralympic games two summers ago. This Futurecast remix adds a massive, punishing breakbeat.

Harder Than You Think (Futurecast Remix)

Brazil One

Yay! The World Cup kicks off today, all the way from Brazil. Nothing the current art department produce gets anywhere near the poster that advertised the 1950 tournament (also in Brazil) but never mind. We may also have to ignore a) FIFA’s absolute corruption b) protests from the locals about the cost c) the poverty in the favelas just a stone’s throw from the stadia d) the likelihood that England will be knocked out by the end of the group stage; then we may be able to enjoy a festival of football. Tonight, Brazil versus Croatia.

 

From 1968, Brazil’s own psychedelic protest group and the mind blowingly good Os Mutantes. Just listen to that fuzz guitar and that tropicalia backing.

 

A Minha Menina

Montevideo Horror Show

Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay. Apart from being a lovely word to say, Montevideo was the home of the first football World Cup back in 1930. In the picture the French national team relax on deck on their way to the finals which were eventually won by Italy. Host nation Uruguay would go on to win the following tournament four years later.

Montevideo are also a Belgian indie pop outfit who produce music for fans of ‘funereal beauty’. They’ve made this song Castles (remixed by spindly legged, black clad Horror Tom Furse) available for free download from Soundcloud. Starts out all murky then lurches into sunny psychedelia. Just the thing for Saturday morning at the start of half term.

The Flaming Lips ‘She Don’t Use Jelly’

Some wonderful indie-rock nonsense from Oklahoma’s Flaming Lips for your Sunday enjoyment, concerning a girl who spreads vaseline on toast, a guy who sneezes into magazines and a woman who washes her hair using tangerines. The band’s own website says ‘It’s a happy little ditty about strange people and their individual idiosynchrasies… with crunching but still harmonious noise’, and I can’t describe it any better than that.

Tonights World Cup final? I’m not sure I care that much. The Netherlands are effective and not in the habit of losing. Van Bommel seems to be setting some kind of record for committing fouls and getting away with it, while the undoubtedly talented Robben draws as many fouls as possible and rolls over a lot. Espagna play lots of very nice little passing triangles, have the most talented strikers in Europe, and struggle to win every game One-Nil. Neither are exactly setting my heart racing with anticipation. Who knows, maybe we’ll get a Four-Three classic.

She Don’t Use Jelly.mp3

Wild Billy Childish and The Blackhands ‘Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr Hitler?’

So, with my tongue firmly in my cheek and Mr. Wild Billy Childish doing whatever he fancies doing, in celebration of today’s game here is the Dad’s Army theme done garage rock style by the bard of Chatham.

‘We are the boys who will stop your little game
We are the boys who will make you think again’.

Time to deliver Wayne.

Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr Hitler (Asda Advert – Dad’s Army Theme).mp3

La Dusseldorf ‘Rheinita’

England play Germany tomorrow. This opens several can of worms, from Twentieth Century history to always losing at penalties. Two World Wars and One World Cup. Don’t mention the war. Achtung, surrender. Dambusters. Stuart Pearce. And so on. Most of it seems to be in fairly good humour now, especially since England’s travelling support go to watch football and have a good time, rather than take part in racist/anti-Irish songs and seeing who can fling plastic chairs furthest across foreign plazas at riot police while being sprayed with the water cannon, and half murdering anyone foreign. The German media seem to have accepted our obsession with them, the war and football, and can smile benignly, especially as they usually hold the upper hand on the pitch when it counts.

This is La Dusseldorf’s Rheinita, one of the most gorgeous pieces of music I’ve heard. Formed by one half of Neu! Klaus Dinger and released in 1978, David Bowie called them ‘the sound of the Eighties’. If only more of the music of the 80s had turned out like this. Attention krautrock sceptics- this does not sound like your idea of krautrock. This is perfection spread over seven minutes thirty eight seconds. This has more in common with the production of disco, the attitude of punk and the feel and anything goes spirit of acid house and dance music. I can’t recommend it enough. Typical Germans eh?

Rheinita.mp3