von_geisterhand: (Default)
A quite readable article even if they leave out a chunk of how things developed between the time that Cosey took her kit off in an artistic way and the recent Nachtmahr-Combichrist-Adversary conflict. That stuff did not happen overnight, you know? There was a logical and fairly depressing development.

On Misogyny in Industrial Music"

Funnily enough, some of the arguments in this discussion match the constantly regurgiated discussion on "Nazis in Goth", particularly when it comes to the demand that an artist should step away from their work and comment on their actual opinions/thoughts on the matter in order to quell a possible suspicions. Laibach, as the article states, "hasn’t broken character in over 30 years of interviews" and still nobody seriously suggests they might actually be Nazis or calls for them to unambigiously distance themselves from the Nazis that attend their shows.
Death In June/Douglas P., on the other hand, has (admittedly reluctantly) stepped away from and commented on his work on occasion, as well as confronting fans that found the rainbow flag onstage incompatible with their political beliefs. Yet, his explanations are simply discarded as false excuses, his contradictions are seen as invalid/irrelevant and he remains the poster boy for Nazis in Neofolk. Frustrating!
YMMV on this, but IMHO there is nothing wrong with an artist presenting him/herself onstage as a baby-eating, this-that-or-something-else-hating, satanist monstrosity calling for death, destruction and eradication of this, that or something else. That stuff has worked well for decades in metal and it probably will remain popular. As long as they don't show the same attitudes off-stage as well, it's fair enough. (Or if they do, they have to live with the consequences. That is what distinguishes Varg Vikernes from Marilyn Manson.)
This approach requires the listener/fan to critically approach the material, though, to not raise their arm to a salute when the artist does. Think of "Tomorrow belongs to me" from "Cabaret". It is rousing and if it is staged well, you do want to join in and the moment you catch yourself wanting to salute, suddenly forced to face something dark inside yourself, is the moment when the magic happens.
Reaching this critical moment is hard, particularly if the artist in question has built a complete entity that almost entirely lacks any "cracks" to begin an analysis/deconstruction with. Laibach's "cracks" are things like their avantgarde past and their usage of seemingly innocent pop songs. It bewilders the listener, thus making him/her think.
Death In June, on the other hand, have been fairly consistent and "crack"-free since essentially becoming a one man show.
Zentriert Ins Antlitz's "Geschäftsfrau" drags you out on the dancefloor with its catchy beat and then faces you with a fairly tough conversation, which hopefully let's you hesitate for a second and go "Hang on, what am I dancing to? What have I been dancing to all night for that matter?"
(To be continued)
von_geisterhand: (Default)
The conversation I wish would take place:

Me: I am so excited because I will see Death In June/Non/Sektion B/etc. next week.
Marc: Are you sure? They're Nazis, don't you know?
Me: They are? Why do you think that?
Marc: Well, they say (this) in their lyrics and worked with (them) in the past and what exactly is this talk about a European identity and a reverence for the past anyway? That's dodgy, innit?
Me: Well, I see what you mean about this and yes, that was dodgy but they have adressed that, said that it was just a folly of youth and that they're embarrassed about it. Of course you never know what the performers are actually thinking or saying when they're not in public but then, you never know that with other artists either.
I mean, Metallica are quite clearly more conservative than I would feel comfortable with if they were friends of mine but as far as buying the albums or going to concerts goes, I am happy to live with this conflict.
Marc: And you still want to go the concerts even though you feel uncertain about the artists?
Me: I do. As an assumed adult I made an adult decision and decided to go for it.
Marc: I will still stand in front of the venue and protest.
Me: Cool. I'll see you at the venue then.
Marc: Cool. See you then.

But no. It always turns personal and hearsay and sooner or later violence and disruption is threatened and acted upon. Oh, how I long for an informed and rational discussion.

What I am also missing in this whole discussion, whenever it comes up is a willingness/ability to not take shit at facevalue or rather see it in context. I, for example, always cringe when I see the graffito "Deutschland has gotta die" or "Deutschland muss sterben, damit wir leben können." ("Germany has got to die in order for us to live."), because I feel that this is an incredibly teen angst/rage slogan which (if taken seriously) aiming at the wrong golden calf, as well as assuming the author to fight the same righteous fight as the resistance in Nazi Germany and occupied areas, without actually facing the same risk.
Yet at the same time, I am more than happy to scream the slogan along with Atari Teenage Riot and really like the song. In popular music there is always this abstraction and the choice about how far you are willing to go along with it is yours alone.

At the same time, I have disovered a new pet peeve, which is: "They are so leftwing that they are already rightwing." No, they are not. There are no "lefty fascists". I admit that the difference whether you are being beaten up by somebody who thinks you unpatriotic or by somebody who finds you too patriotic is academic but that still does not mean that the theoretical background is the same, just like something totalitarian is not automatically fascist. You might consider this nitpicking but you'd be wrong. If you actually want to talk about something in a sensible and informed way, you should really try to avoid easy (and wrong) shortcuts.
von_geisterhand: Monika küsst Jörg. Sie liebt ihn. (kiss)
We went to an alternative culture place yesterday to listen to a lecture about Neofolk and its supposed inherent right-wing tendencies. In fact, let's just quote the entire text advertising the event here:

Thursday 07 June
EAG-Tresen Diesmal mit Infoveranstaltung ab 20.00 Uhr. Die „Schwarze Szene“, wie sich das Milieu der Gothics und „Gruftis“ selbst bezeichnet, wird wegen rechter Tendenzen immer wieder von Antifaschist_innen kritisiert – meistens völlig zu Recht. Besonders unangenehm fällt in diesem Zusammenhang die Stilrichtung „Neofolk“ auf, der unter anderem die bekannten rechten Musikprojekte „Death in June“ und „Von Thronstahl“ zuzurechnen sind. Der mit ein paar Bildern und Hörbeispielen garnierte Vortrag wird darüber informieren, was Neofolk eigentlich ist, woher die rechten Einflüsse kommen und was das Ganze überhaupt soll.
Danach noch ein bisschen düstere Musik und gruslige Cocktails wie „Zombie“, „Suicide“ und „Bloody Mary“ (angefragt).


For a start, the mentioned cocktails were not served and those that were, were lacking in quality. But that's besides the point now and in any case, beer was cheap.
Even if I had no particular feelings about Neofolk, I think I might have been enticed to attend on the strength of the first sentence. Allow me to translate: "The 'Black Scene', as the subculture of the goths calls itself, has repeatedly been criticised by anti-fascists due to its right-wing tendencies - mostly absolutely justifiedly."
That is quite an accusation to make, isn't it?

The lecture that followed did not live up to this level of vitriol, was rather half-arsed, not terribly well researched and preferred to suggest and insinutate rather than analyze any band or song in detail. In fairness, I have heard worse discourse on the subject but remain convinced that I could have made a better case accusing the bands of using images and ideas questionably while defending them than the speaker did just accusing them.
Where said speaker really let himself down, though, was when we corrected him on certain details and disagreed (politely*) with some of his suggestions. As he later told us, he had not expected to have somebody who already knew about the subject present and would have much preferred if we had not been there. Of course he would, it's much easier to "teach" people if they just unquestioningly accept all you tell them.
Will I have to write the final word on neofolk myself?

To cap it all off: You will have noticed that the lecture was held in the context of the "EAG"-group. That's short for "Emanzipative und Antifaschistische Gruppe", in other words: anti-fascist and anti-sexist. And ye verily, out beloved speaker did say at several points that he really wasn't all that interested in what artist said what when and why (after doing just that making his case) but that he was rather interested in equal rights and lack of prejudice.
At the same time, his girlfriend was spreading flyers advertising her events all over the place, which sported the picture of a woman cutting the throat of another, deep-clevaged female on the front. Lesbians as psychos, psycho females, the male gaze on the suffering female, the murder of the confident female, you take your pick.

*Okay, slightly less politely when he suggested that Current 93 are actually a Nazi band. Why? Because they have a song and an EP ("a whole album", in his words) called "Hitler as Kalki". What is that song about? He could not tell us.
You do not insult David Tibet lightly in my presence.
von_geisterhand: (Default)
There were actually people at the Agra handing out flyers saying: "Bats need no gasmasks" and "Schlauchköppe? Nein, danke!" ("Hose-heads? No thanks!") with a symbol of essentially "No cybers!" inbetween.
Now, I have no problem with cybers. It really isn't my cup of tea and I do greatly enjoy the fact that one can find many a industrial-disco in Berlin where one does not run the risk of having to listen to Combichrist et al. all night long, but as long as I know which clubs I have to avoid and which to frequent, it is all the same to me. I sometimes feel that, if you need a symbol for what has gone wrong in the "Gothic Scene" in terms of mainstream sexist bullshit suddenly being very prominent in it as well, the whole Cyber thing might be a prime candidate, but then maybe my experiences with equal-opportunity-moshing metalheads are not representative. (In related news, check this out.
Combichrist and Nachtmahr both also played WGT. Adversary was not invited. In terms of the responses, Andy Combichrist comes over quite reasonable in this. YMMV on his point of view but he seems to really take in and consider what is being said about him. Thomas Nachtmahr, on the other hand, comes across like a spoiled brat.)
In any case, on the one hand, I could not help but feel slightly impressed by the fact that some private individual actually felt strongly enough about "their" scene to go to all this effort, on the other hand, I obviously think that this is all pretty pointless and ill-considered.

One thing that impressed me in Leipzig and I guess that this must be a common experience is just how much visible the festival is all over the city and with how open a pair of arms all the "weirdos" are greeted with (Yes, yes, I know: lots of money). The feeling of pretty much every way a visitor wishing to express themselves being accepted and tolerated is quite impressive, even compared to Berlin.

For me, this was particularly notable during the neofolk and industrial concerts. In Berlin you get a fair few Haus Arafna and Crunchy Techno shirts but people tend to be hesitant when it comes to wearing much else. During the WGT there really is the whole range of band t-shirts and patches on display with nary an eyelid batted (outside Connewitz, but I suspect they don't want any goths or other outsiders in their area full stop). Quite besides the fact that the record stalls in the Agra sell a fantastic range of albums and merchandise. So much of my money was left there. :-D

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