Research project: Estonian punk (1985-1995)

Punks in Tallinn, ca. 1982. Photo: Arno Saar, collection of Tõnu Trubetsky.

The first punk bands in the ESSR were established at the end of the 1970s. Punk was blacklisted in the ESSR, after youth riots erupted at a September 1980 concert of the punk band Propeller. During the first half of the 1980s the punk movement was small but steady in size. The punk’s main ways of expression were extravagant behaviour and clothes, organizing illegal concerts and social life in Tallinn’s cafés. Nevertheless, being a punk was socially frowned upon and meant problems with family, in school and in public where the youths were ofter arrested by the militsiya. Continue reading

Research Project: ENDZEITOPIA. Forever Celebrating The End. Post Punk, Goth and Avant Garde in East Germany (1982 – 1992)

The  punk scene was in a deep existential crisis when post punk, new wave and goth music and fashion trends finally reached East Germany in the Orwellian year 1984. For the punk community in particular, the prevailing mood was indeed a dystopian one (Pehlemann, Papenfuβ, Mieβner, 2015). Punk was not dead (yet), but East German punk (no) future views increasingly contained a sense of pessimist fatalism, while goths escaped any kind of future scenario by playing already being dead. In any case, change was happening within the cultural underground which corresponded with a broader societal change and a spreading Endzeitstimmung (Wirsching, 2006) during the final phase of the Cold War. This ‘global’ existential fear, caused by political, societal and environmental crises, like nuclear threat, AIDS and environmental pollution (for example the ‘Waldsterben‘: dying forests) inspired both avant garde artists and participants in protest movements on both sides of the Iron Curtain.

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“In that mess we became part of the Geniale Dilletanten scene”: Mark Reeder and the West Berlin avant-garde music scene around 1980 (Interview)

Mark Reeder, 1999.

The West Berlin avant-garde music scene from around 1980 was a wild movement. This scene is an inexhaustive source of fascinating stories and ideas. For instance, while the rest of West Germany was trying to cope with the threat of a nuclear war, Blixa Bargeld tried to recreate the sound of collapsing buildings, and the girls from Malaria! played with the gruesome idea of bathing in ice cold and clear water, as if they couldn’t wait to speed things up and call upon the end of the world by themselves. Frontstadt West Berlin was the perfect playground for developing an experimental and mysterious scene like this one. But how to define this avant-garde scene?  Continue reading

Projektskizze: “‘Unleashed in the East’ – Heavy Metal in der DDR”

Die globale Revitalisierung von Heavy Metal in den 80er Jahren machte nicht an der Elbe Halt. Von den DDR-Medien meist nur abschätzig betrachtet bildeten sich im gesamten Gebiet der Republik unterschiedlich straff organisierte Gruppen, die sich in ihrer Freizeit kaum etwas anderem als dem (gemeinsamen) Musikkonsum widmeten. Nach Zählungen des MfS formierte die so entstandene Subkultur sich zur größten ihrer Art in der DDR. Besonders problematisch war aus der Sicht der staatlichen Organe dabei die Tatsache, dass sich die „Heavies“ vor allem aus der jungen Arbeiterschaft rekrutierte. Die SED konkurrierte um die Gunst des Proletariats von nun an mit King Diamond und der (Gräfin) Bathory. Continue reading

Punk/Post Punk

Plusieurs manifestations autour des scènes punk/post-punk vont se tenir prochainement à Paris:
1) Le colloque Disorder: histoire sociale des mouvements punk/post punk les 27 et 28 mars à l’Université Paris Diderot et à l’University of Chicago Center of Paris. Toutes les informations en ligne, ainsi que le programme sur le site:
Attention! Il est fortement recommandé de se préinscrire en ligne à la même adresse:
(télécharger le formulaire en ligne et le renvoyer par mail à l’adresse indiquée sur le site).
2) La 2e journée d’étude du projet “Punk is not dead. Une histoire de la scène punk en France, 1976-2016” se tiendra le 27 juin au Centre musical Barbara Fleury à Paris. Plus d’informations sur l’affiche et le programme.

Appels à communication/Call for Papers: Heavy Metal/Punk

Deux appels à communication qui peuvent vous intéresser pour des colloques qui se déroulent en France /Two call for papers for conférences which will take place in France:

1- Heavy metal et sciences sociales. Un état des lieux de la recherche en France et dans le monde francophone. Angers, France, le 18 et 19 décembre 2014/ Heavy Metal and Social Sciences. A State of the Art of Research on Metal Studies in France and French-speaking countries. Angers, France, 18-19 December 2014.

Les propositions doivent être envoyées d’ici le 15 septembre/Proposals should be sent by 15 September. All the détails here.

2) Rappel: Disorder. Histoire sociale des mouvements punk/post-punk/ Reminder: Disorder.Towards a social history of punk and post-punk. Attention, les dates ont changé: le colloque a lieu les 26 et 27 mars 2015 à Paris!/Be careful: the dates have changed: the conference will take place on the 26th and 27th of March  2015 in Paris!

Les propositions doivent être envoyées d’ici le 15 septembre/Proposals should be sent by 15 September. All the détails here.