|Punk - Rock - Metal- Goth on POF Where are you ?|
Posted: 7/1/2017 4:12:22 AM
|Not very often i have praise for the bbc but i have to give them a wee nod for this article below. It's hard to comprehend that something we take for granted led to some being arrested and beaten by the secret police.|
Well worth a read on this nice sunny day. Your humble poster is going to his mates 50th this afternoon so much drink will be consumed..........
"Rocking the Stasi
By Chris Bowlby
The rise of Beatlemania in the 1960s brought a scathing response from Walter Ulbricht, the leader of the German Democratic Republic (GDR).
"Do we really have to copy all the rubbish that comes from the West… with all the monotony of their 'Yeah, yeah, yeah,'" he sneered during one of his turgid speeches to the Communist Party faithful.
If there's one story that symbolises GDR paranoia about music - and the tragedy of being a young music fan there - it's the story of a Rolling Stones concert that never happened.
It all began in 1969 with a throwaway comment by a DJ on the radio station RIAS - based in West Berlin but much listened to on the other side of the Berlin Wall.
I met Eckart Mann, then a 16-year-old, at the same spot opposite the Springer building where he'd waited in 1969. He'd heard the rumour, and thought, "Stones, play here. Wow, wow, wow!"
In fact, the Stones never appeared, but the GDR authorities did. As the crowd moved towards the Brandenburg Gate the policed arrived, and Mann was beaten and arrested.
He was convicted of being an "anti-socialist element". In his files I discovered that the head of the Stasi, Erich Mielke, had taken a personal interest in his case. Mann was given two years in prison, then expelled to the West, away from his family.
Another teenager, Alexander Kuehne, was desperate to bring more music into his life in a remote village hours from Berlin. What about getting hold of the latest Western records? As pensioners - not seen as vital to the state - were allowed by the GDR regime to visit the West, he'd give his grandmother shopping lists.
"It didn't go well. She misread The Clash and came back with Johnny Cash - you can still see the pain in Alexander's face as he recalls this "huge nightmare".
I managed to track down Jürgen Breski, then a Stasi officer ordered to monitor and infiltrate the punk scene. He agreed to meet in a discreet corner of a city-centre restaurant and tell me what his bosses had wanted him to do.
"They wanted to bring a kind of socialist lifestyle to the people so we tried to combat anything that didn't belong to that," he says. "The aim was to control 'the scene' as it expanded, to stop it from becoming too well known."
A church also provided the venue for another extraordinary concert, when British music producer Mark Reeder managed to smuggle a West German punk band, Die Toten Hosen, across the Berlin Wall to play a concert.
"I told my friends, 'If I get caught I get thrown out of the country. If you get caught your lives will change because you'll be classed as enemies of the state,'" recalls Reeder. "They said, 'We don't care we'll do it anyway.'"
Campino, lead singer of Die Toten Hosen, remembers how the band disguised themselves to get through border controls between West and East Berlin. "We had to comb our hair, get proper clothes on." He knew why the East German authorities would stop them if they recognised them. "Punk rock didn't officially exist in the East, they didn't want to spread the virus in any form."
Only around 25 could come to the secret concert in an East Berlin church. But "everyone in the room know this was something very special and maybe would never happen again".
He was very impressed, he says, with the way young East Germans created their own cultural space in spite of - or perhaps because of - all the regime's pressure.
"They had a certain kind of pride, a belief. They said, 'You in the West you've got the best clothing, the fashion, all those things. But we've got friendship and we help each other and we're not superficial,'" he says.
Their friendships "meant more because they had to pay a bigger price for everything that went wrong", as he puts it.