Monday, May 26, 2014

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The end is near!!!

....or at least the end of an era here in Copenhagen, with shops closing down that have been around for a long as I can remember (I moved here in the late eighties)

Second hand books, CD and DVD's ...yes, I myself buy these things on the Internet today...the death of these proud businesses is entirely MY fault!

Still, sad to see them go...I used to save up to go to TP music and check out their David Bowie CD's, because every now and then they would sell one of them at a 33% discount, and if I waited long enough, and kept buying... I would eventually own every CD  he's put out,  correction: every CD he's put our worth listening to, "Let's Dance" is the watershed for me,  I have never listened to it.

And... good old "Antikvariat 2B"...the owner, Erling generously gave up some window space for artists to exhibit their work, including meeee!

He even bought a drawing from me! but the last time I spoke to him, a couple of years ago, he had stopped with the art exhibits in his window "I'm fed up with artists, too much trouble!" he explained.

Now he has retired to his home far from Copenhagen, and the young man who runs the shop for him is not interested in continuing " I like to travel and you can't do that if you have a shop" he told me.

Well, the bet is on: what will it be, the new businesses opening in these fair spaces left behind by the Age of Gentrification?

-Restaurant?
-Real estate dealer?
-Bicycle rental for tourists?

I'll fill you in when I know the answer,

if I'm still here...

*****
Panzer: Pzkpfw Tiger, Ausf E
Some battle scars on this Tiger, probably photographed during the Battle of Kursk, summer of 1943.
Note the barbed wire fitted to the side of the hull, for preventing Soviet infantry from climbing onto the Tiger to try and destroy it with Molotov cocktail fire bombs.
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Monday, May 19, 2014

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The bahns of auto.

*****
Panzer: Sdkfz 10 mit PaK 36
A homegrown remedy against attacks from Soviet armour on the Eastern front in 1941 or 42 was something like this innovative combo: a 37 mm PaK 36 with the wheels removed and placed on top of a Sdkfz 10 leichter zugkraftwagen.
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Monday, May 12, 2014

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Yup....that band back from the eighties....groundbreaking...genre-defining.

I listened to them intensely when I was eighteen-nineteen years old, especially that famous first album of theirs, but I never caught them live. But there they were, spotted it by pure coincidence on Facebook...a comeback tour...original lineup, playing venues in Europe and Scandinavia

 "Nah -  forget it! I thought - what would I be doing standing in a run-down old factory with a crowd of kids half my age, listening to a band I was crazy about thirty years ago?  Stupid.

So I bought a ticket. Online, a few days before the gig.

I had to go by train to get to the venue. I had to go alone, because nobody I knew would be interested.
Just like the old times thirty years ago. As cliched as it sounds, it was also the pitiful truth: I was the only punk in town.

So I got to the venue. And thirty years IS a long time...the days of punk gigs in abandoned factories filled with angst-ridden unemployed youths were gone. This was not the rat hole of an entourage of squatters - this was a council supported house of youth culture! The place was fully refurbished, there was a uniformed security team, a well equipped bar, a friendly and smiling staff, the supporting bands showed up on time, and played well!

As old punks do, I found a position in the back of the room. And was in for another surprise,  there was  a specially designed platform you could step onto, giving you full view of the stage. I couldn't believe it. Everything had been done the right way.

I waited through the three supporting acts, carefully sipping on my glass of tasty, but also quite expensive beer . The bands were not bad at all, but me and the rest of the crowd all knew why we had come here...

Eventually. They mounted the stage, just walking on in the off-hand manner of the true hardcore punk band. No division between the bands on stage and crowds down below. Yes. There they were...the original four members, half of them with a considerable amount of extra fat, but who cares about that when we're speaking legends?...

The guitarist positioned himself on the left hand side and started making sounds...THOSE sounds... the sounds I remembered from thirty years ago... while the drummer and bass player joined in, testing if the sound was OK. Then the singer grabbed the microphone, announcing who they were and  the name of the first song.

And off  they went. The pure magic of the powerful songs being fired at us one after the other...a crowd of young punks jumping off, and onto the stage as the wonderfully droning SOUND of this band filled the room, and me... relieving pain, giving comfort.

And yes... there was also the opportunity for checking out young punk girls in tight leather skirts...but I couldn't help noticing that I was not the only middle aged person in the room...standing a few feet from me was another man also in his late forties, early fifties. Overweight and dressed in a worn dinner jacket, wearing glasses, nondescript shoes and baggy black jeans, he looked like a failed geography teacher...but there he was, his eyes fixed on the stage, and as I looked at him he looked back at me, and I saw the most beautiful thing: His face so grey, mask-like and motionless, his eyes so filled with hate and disdain. The clothes, the physique, his position in the world (whatever it was), had changed. But not him.

He was still a punk inside. Pissed off and angry. And here, with the like minded.

And so was I.


*****
Panzer: Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer
Damaged and abandoned Hetzers in an East European town shortly after WWII.
The factory applied hard-edge camouflage scheme used on many Hetzers is clearly visible on the vehicle in the foreground.
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Friday, May 09, 2014

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Celebration of May 9'th, "Victory Day" here at DAMIJWH...

Yes, we've been here before.... and this time I giveth you Max Alpert's famous 1942 photo "COMBAT" or "The regimental commander".

Was it staged?, was it taken during a drill and not in the face of the horrible Nazi enemy?... or was everything we project into onto it, giving it meaning, absolutely true?... a man brave, insane, or desperate enough to rise up and lead other men into battle, risking their lives so that others can live?...so that their children will have a future outside of the concentration camp, or the mass grave?

Who knows. Besides Max Alpert and the men in the photo.

But what's important about a photo like this is perhaps not what happened where, or when or why, but maybe more the inspiration that photo conveys, telling an ancient tale of heroism and self-sacrifice,    Often stupid and miss-used ideals when mixed with the illusions and manipulations of propaganda, but central to the human heart.

A photograph doesn't mean anything to a cow, a dog or a cat. To them it's just shadows caught on a piece of paper, but we feeble humans find something else, something to project our dreams onto, giving us hope in times of despair.

Like this photo does for me.

Happy Victory Day.

*****
Panzer: Sdkfz 250/1 NEU
Belonging to 11'th SS- Panzergrenadier Division Nordland. This vehicle was part of an unsuccessful attempt to break out and escape Berlin by some of the last defenders of the Reichstag,  which included SS-volunteers from my home country Denmark, initiated after Hitler had committed suicide.
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Monday, May 05, 2014

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Impress your comrades with these Chinese public health care posters

*****
Panzer: Pzkpfw Tiger, Ausf E, mid production.
Probably belonging to the III'rd (Tiger) battalion of the Panzer Regiment Großdeutschland, spring/summer 1944. One of the rare command Tigers with extra radio equipment,  distinguished by the five fingered "star" antenna visible behind the turret
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