Jeff Hayton’s monograph on punk culture in the Federal Republic and GDR could have become the standard historiographical work were it not for the many small and serious shortcomings and scholarly carelessness that undermine almost every positive aspect of the work. In fact, there is a lack of historical studies on German punk culture: since the early 2000s, only journalistic, cultural and social science works on punk in the Federal Republic have appeared, including publications in English. The steadily growing series of books on punk in the GDR have also lacked historical expertise. The only exception is Florian Lipp’s historical in-depth study on punk and New Wave in the last decade of the GDR, published in 2021, which, as Hayton himself writes, appeared too late to be included in his work. Consequently, the chapters on punk in the GDR do not offer much new information. Continue reading →
SPIEGEL SPEZIAL (2/1994): Pop & Politik. Photo: Spiegel.
Campino, singer of Die Toten Hosen, interviewed the then youth minister Angela Merkel for a special issue of the German news magazine DerSpiegel with the title “Pop & Politics” in 1994. The cover featured a collage which comprised of people like Elvis Presley, the Beatles and Bill Clinton playing a saxophone. Among them, Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols glared at the possible buyers in neighbourhood kiosks. In this issue the journalist and pop theorist Diedrich Diederichsen formulated ten theses for contemporary pop culture. Tony Parsons, one of the first journalists to write about British punk from 1976 onwards in the New Musical Express, pondered about the popularity of punk and its relation to mass culture in the 1990s. Punk as a media phenomenon and a lifestyle became part of mass culture and was a topic taken seriously by cultural critics. Continue reading →