Monday, August 30, 2010

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The Martin Rev setup

Synth-punk-rock-performance-art-legends SUICIDE played Copenhagen this Friday.

Performing at the Danish National Gallery (courtesy of glorious Art Freq) I was there with my camera and have uploaded a few lucky shots.

The sound was a bit murky from where I was standing, but definitely LOUD and I'll agree that musically this was perhaps not one of the duo's peak performances, but I had the pleasant memory of seeing them play at the Roskilde Festival in 2003 in a much larger room (tent actually) which improved the aural experience a great deal.

As a nostalgia, and sort of "lifetime achievement-" event it was unsurpassed.
Suicide belong to the few who have created something unique in music, and one of the VERY few (only?) acts who have created electronic music with the same raw edge and driving rhythm you find in rock. You sometimes get the feeling that all electronic musicians wants to be the next Mozart, and never the next Chuck Berry... but not so for Messrs. Vega & Rev - they came to caress behinds with the army boot sole. On top of that, there is something very joyful about two gentlemen aged seventy plus still being creative, menacing and crazy. Martin Rev must be the scariest looking septuagenarian not in a holding facility.

As usual, Alan Vega got slagged (by the reviewers) for, well... being Alan Vega.
These days the criticism directed at him is not about his screaming into the microphone (people do that all the time to pass their art-school exams) or for swinging a motorcycle chain on stage (teenage girls do that all the time in schoolyards to mark their territories), no - he was:

"messing up his lyrics and needed help with his sheets of text..."

the horror!

You've got to hand it to Vega: Forty years ago he pissed off even the Pope of Beat: Allen Ginsberg, by playing in a band called Suicide (too offensive a name for the author of HOWL...), ten years later Suicide alienated the punk generation by using synths instead of guitars (this coming from a group of people who hated guitar solos...) and now reviewers, who were just being born when the duo's first album came out, can be provoked, soured, disappointed, because he,

FORGOT HIS LINES...

In my recollection of the punk scene, you were lucky if the announced bands turned up and were capable of entering the stage (and didn't begin demolishing it) so it's just tooooo baaaaad these condescending concert consumers couldn't have Alan Vega returned to the store where he was bought and replaced with a fresh copy.


In my view: A primo night, it's good to see trail blazing pioneers get the credit they deserve, even if you wondered if they wouldn't have been more comfortable playing in an abandoned XXX-movie theater instead of a state-sponsored art museum.

Walking home alone in the streets of Copenhagen after the show was the perfect way for me to celebrate it. The magic in your head. The ringing in your ears. Descending from the high (no, I gave up drugs years ago... I was high on LIFE man!)

Too bad it didn't snow.

(it always snowed back in the eighties, even during summer...and by "snow" I mean those tiny frozen water thingies floating in air)

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Sturmgeschütz III, Ausf F8
A companion photo to the one shown last week.
A very beat-up StuG, either waiting for repairs or maybe "cannibalized" for useful parts by the unit's workshop company and then left for later transport to one of the refurbishing plants far behind the front lines or back in Germany. If this was not possible, the panzer would be blown up to avoid any future use by the enemy.
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Monday, August 23, 2010

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Autumn seems to hit Copenhagen early this year. We've had monsoon-like showers for about a month now, and more on the way.

I like autumn, and welcome this.

But.

For those who do not, why not catched ye some cheer-up time by clicking ye way over to vintage florida beach babe postcards


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Sturmgeschutz III, Ausf F8
As the written message on the back of this photo says it was taken in the Russian city of Rostow (German spelling) in 1943.
Rostov (on the Southern front) changed hands between German and Soviet forces no less than three times in 1941-43.
Note the "Winterketten" tracks fitted. Wider than normal tracks, they were specially designed for the deep snow encountered on the Eastern front.
Of special interest is the colouring of the StuG. It was part of a batch produced in december 1942 and earmarked for the battles in Northern Africa and thus finished in overall desert brown. Some of these StuGs were instead dispatched for urgent service on the Eastern front, where it would normally have received a coating of whitewash for winter camouflage. Why this has not been done is hard to determine but it's most likely a case of the troopers having more important things to do, like fighting the Soviets. As can be seen by the powderdust on the gun's muzzlebrake, the StuG has been in use for some time when the photo was taken. Also note the crew wearing the early version of the German Army reversible winter uniform, colored mouse grey on the "spring-autumn side" (the other side was of course white) These were introduced in autumn 1942 after the Wehrmacht's disastrous experiences with the Russian winter in 1941-42. It looks like brand new uniforms being worn (they would be returned to Germany when winter was over for repairs and cleaning and then re-issued the next autumn)The trooper in the middle of the group is also wearing the special heavy winter boots made from felt. Later versions of the reversible winter uniform were made from various types of camouflage material on the non-white side

Monday, August 16, 2010

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American writer Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) photographed in the 1990's when he began using a Macintosh IIsi computer instead of a typer.

Unlike some of his contemporaries on the artistic circuit, Bukowski did not see the computer as "the devil's tool", a threath to the true magic of creativity. Instead, he praises his Mac in several poems, explaining how it made it much easyer for him to do the writing, and also gave him a new perception of the word.

Too bad he wasn't considered for Apple's "Think Different" campaign.

If your recollection of Charles Bukowski is that of a raving boozehound copulating with overweight prostitutes on the dirty floors of skid row hotels you are talking about the early Bukowski (of his prose writing), but I can highly recommend giving his collections of poetry a try, like this one. One of his best.

For me, his down to earth observations and simple style often touch something deep, like one of my favourite lines of his:

"Poetry is what happens when nothing else can."



Charles Bukowski would have been ninety years old today.


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Pzkpfw III, Ausf H
A group of Panzer III's parked for a staff meeting during the invasion of Soviet Russia, summer of 1941.
Note the "bedstead" aerial of a Befehlspanzer III in the foreground and the "30.." numbering on the middle Panzer III.
"Zero" numbers (300, 301, etc) were usually reserved for vehicles serving with the staff of panzer units . Also note the two officers sitting on the turret of the middle panzer III holding some white boards, presumably map tables. All the men have their attention directed at the same point in the distance, most likely at a battle going on. Also note the non-standard wooden stowage boxes fitted to the read ends of all three Panzers, and the swastika flags draped over them. The flags were used for air-recognition during the first stages of this campaign when the Luftwaffe had almost complete command of the skies.
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Monday, August 09, 2010

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Chasing away summertime weariness with a thrilling questionaire for you readers here at DAMIJWH!

A: Is this blog getting boring, or has it always been boring?
B: When visiting DAMIJWH, would you rather be doing something else?
C: If DAMIJWH was a horse, would you bet on it?
D: If DAMIJWH was a woman, would you have sex with it in a cheap hotel room and include that scene in a script you were writing for television? (your part grossly exaggerated and with unrealistic dialogue, mainly because it never happened in real life)

Your answers in the comments!

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Befehlspanzer III
A fine photo from 1942 when the German Panzerwaffe was enjoying the last successes of the Blitzkrieg-era during their drive into Southern Russia. Beyond lay Stalingrad and the long hard retreat that took up the remainder of WWII for the Panzers. The divisional symbol of the 24'th Panzer Division can be seen on the front armour of the Sdkfz 251 immediately behind the Befehlspanzer, one of three Panzer Divisions destroyed at Stalingrad. Note the "bedstead" aerial of this command version of the Pzkpfw III, visible behind the commander, and the manner of wearing the headphones so the commander (strangely, only with the rank of private) can hear both the communication over the radio and vocal information.
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Monday, August 02, 2010

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Yes, right...back...hmmm... but not much going on...
Due to illness in my family I've spend quite some time this summer in the small town where I grew up.

Interesting in many ways - did you know that out in the country, if you are late for the bus and running towards it, the bus driver will WAIT FOR YOU (!!!)

My father also claims his neighbors sometimes "helps him"...

Strange people out there, and so different from us city folk.

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Pzkpfw V "Panther", Ausf D
Badly shot up, this Panther belonged to the 1'st SS-Panzer division while fighting in Normandy, France 1944. Note the "I03" marking denoting a vehicle belonging to the staff of the Panzer regiment.
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