Tag Archives: Germany

Tolerable Xmas Records (1)

With the possible exception of the Eurovision Song Contest, no regular event in history has been responsible for so many  aural turkeys (seasonal allusion intended).

Unike the Eurovision Song Contest, however, Christmas does occasionally throw up something worthwhile.  We’ve sifted through the tons of shit to reveal the odd diamond, so that you dont have to.

Over the next few days we’ll be posting a selection of Tolerable Xmas Records – our seasonal gift to you. Enjoy !

TOM WAITSChristmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis

The weird thing is, if you hadn’t heard this and were speculating what a Tom Waits Christmas song might sound like, you’d probably expect it to  include references to hookers living above dirty bookstores, dope, whisky,  Little Anthony & The Imperials, Omaha, prison, used car lots, guys who play the trombone…

 

CAN –  Silent Night

As Tom topped and tailed his offering with Silent Night, we may as well continue the theme with this Krautrock reworking from the 1970s….

 

More tolerable xmas songs tomorrow. Ho ho ho…

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Almanac – May 26

1647 – Alse Young, hanged in Hartford, Connecticut, became the first known  person to be  executed as a witch in the British American colonies.

Very little is recorded of Alse Young; her existence is only known through her reputation as a witch. She is believed to have been the wife of John Young, who bought a small parcel of land in Windsor in 1641, sold it in 1649, and then disappeared from the town records.

There is no further record of Young’s trial or the specifics of the charge, only that Alse Young was a woman. Early historical record hints at the possibility that there may have been some sort of epidemic in the town of Windsor in early 1647.

She had a daughter, Alice Young Beamon, who would be accused of witchcraft in nearby Springfield, Massachusetts, some 30 years later.

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1828 – Celebrated feral child Kaspar Hauser was discovered wandering the streets of Nuremberg.

At first it was assumed that he was raised half-wild in forests, but during conversations with officials, Hauser told a different version of his past life, which he later also wrote down in more detail. According to this story, for as long as he could remember he spent his life totally alone in a darkened cell about two metres long, one metre wide and one and a half high with only a straw bed to sleep on and a horse carved out of wood for a toy.

He claimed that he found bread and water next to his bed each morning. Periodically the water would taste bitter and drinking it would cause him to sleep more heavily than usual. On such occasions, when he awakened, his straw was changed and his hair and nails were cut.

Hauser claimed that the first human being with whom he ever had contact was a mysterious man who visited him not long before his release, always taking great care not to reveal his face to him.

This man, Hauser said, taught him to write his name by leading his hand. After learning to stand and walk, he was brought to Nuremberg. Furthermore, the stranger allegedly taught him to say the phrase “I want to be a cavalryman, as my father was” (in Bavarian dialect), but Hauser claimed that he did not understand what these words meant.

This tale aroused great curiosity and made Hauser an object of international attention. Rumours arose that he was of princely parentage, possibly of Baden origin, but there were also claims that he was an impostor.

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1897 – Dracula,  by  Bram Stoker, was published.

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1916 – Moondog born. Blind American composer, musician, poet and inventor of several musical instruments.
 
Moving to New York as a young man, Moondog made a deliberate decision to make his home on the streets there, where he spent approximately twenty of the thirty years he lived in the city.

Most days he could be found in his chosen part of town wearing clothes he had created based on his own interpretation of the Norse god Odin.[citation needed] Thanks to his unconventional outfits and lifestyle, he was known for much of his life as “The Viking of 6th Avenue”.

Native American music, along with contemporary jazz and classical, mixed with the ambient sounds from his environment (city traffic, ocean waves, babies crying, etc.)  created the foundation of Moondog’s music.

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1926 – Miles Davis born. American jazz musician, trumpeter, bandleader, and composer.

 Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century,  Miles Davis was, with his musical groups, at the forefront of several major developments in jazz music, including bebop, cool jazz, hard bop, modal jazz, and jazz fusion.

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Almanac – April 01

ALL FOOLS DAY

1917 – Scott Joplin died.  American composer and pianist. Joplin achieved fame for his ragtime compositions, and was later dubbed “The King of Ragtime”. During his brief career, he wrote 44 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas.

 One of his first pieces, the “Maple Leaf Rag“, became ragtime’s first and most influential hit, and has been recognized as the archetypal rag.

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1919 – The Staatliches Bauhaus school was founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar. 

Commonly known simply as Bauhaus, it  was a school in Germany that combined crafts and the fine arts, and was famous for the approach to design that it publicized and taught. It operated from 1919 to 1933.

The Bauhaus style became one of the most influential currents in Modernist architecture and modern design and had a profound influence upon subsequent developments in art, architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, and typography.

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1948 – Jimmy Cliff born.  Jamaican musician, singer and actor, best known among mainstream audiences for songs such as “Wonderful World, Beautiful People”, “The Harder They Come,” “Sitting in Limbo”, “You Can Get It If You Really Want” and “Many Rivers to Cross” from the soundtrack of the 1972 film  The Harder They Come, which helped popularize reggae across the world;  Cliff starred as Ivanhoe “Ivan” Martin.  Arriving in Kingston from the country, he tries to make it in the recording business, but without success.

Eventually, he turns to a life of crime. The soundtrack album of the film was a huge success that sold well across the world, bringing reggae to an international audience for the first time. It remains one of the most internationally significant films to have come out of Jamaica since independence.

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1949 – Gil Scott-Heron born. American soul and jazz poet, musician, and author, known primarily for his work as a spoken word performer in the 1970s and ’80s.
His collaborative efforts with musician Brian Jackson featured a musical fusion of jazz, blues, and soul, as well as lyrical content concerning social and political issues of the time, delivered in both rapping and melismatic vocal styles.

 His own term for himself was “bluesologist“, which he defined as “a scientist who is concerned with the origin of the blues.” His music, most notably on Pieces of a Man and Winter in America in the early 1970s, influenced and helped engender later African-American music genres such as hip hop and neo soul.

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1976 – Max Ernst died. German painter, sculptor, graphic artist, and poet. A prolific artist, Ernst was a primary pioneer of the Dada movement and Surrealism.

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1984 – Marvin Gaye died. American singer-songwriter and musician. Gaye helped to shape the sound of Motown Records in the 1960s with a string of hits including “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and duet recordings with Mary Wells and Tammi Terrell.

 

 

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Almanac – February 13

1692 – Massacre of Glencoe: About 78 Macdonalds at Glen Coe, Scotland were killed early in the morning for not promptly pledging allegiance to the new king, William of Orange.

The massacre began simultaneously in three settlements along the glen—Invercoe, Inverrigan, and Achnacon—although the killing took place all over the glen as fleeing MacDonalds were pursued.

Thirty-eight MacDonalds from the Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were killed by the guests who had accepted their hospitality,  another forty women and children died of exposure after their homes were burned.

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1945 –  Royal Air Force bombers were dispatched to Dresden, Germany to attack the city with a massive aerial bombardment. In four raids between 13 and 15 February , 722 heavy bombers of the  RAF and 527 of the United States Army Air Forces dropped more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices on the city. The resulting firestorm destroyed fifteen square miles  of the city centre. At least 22,000 people were killed, probably more – estimates vary.

Lothar Metzger, a survivor, remembered  –

It is not possible to describe! Explosion after explosion. It was beyond belief, worse than the blackest nightmare. So many people were horribly burnt and injured. It became more and more difficult to breathe. It was dark and all of us tried to leave this cellar with inconceivable panic. Dead and dying people were trampled upon, luggage was left or snatched up out of our hands by rescuers. The basket with our twins covered with wet cloths was snatched up out of my mother’s hands and we were pushed upstairs by the people behind us. We saw the burning street, the falling ruins and the terrible firestorm. My mother covered us with wet blankets and coats she found in a water tub.

We saw terrible things: cremated adults shrunk to the size of small children, pieces of arms and legs, dead people, whole families burnt to death, burning people ran to and fro, burnt coaches filled with civilian refugees, dead rescuers and soldiers, many were calling and looking for their children and families, and fire everywhere, everywhere fire, and all the time the hot wind of the firestorm threw people back into the burning houses they were trying to escape from.

I cannot forget these terrible details. I can never forget them.

Kurt Vonnegut‘s  Slaughterhouse-Five (1969) is a satirical novel that used some elements from his experiences as a prisoner of war at Dresden during the bombing.

His account relates that over 135,000 were killed during the firebombings. Vonnegut recalled “utter destruction” and “carnage unfathomable.”

The Germans put him and other POWs to work gathering bodies for mass burial. “But there were too many corpses to bury. So instead the Nazis sent in troops with flamethrowers. All these civilians’ remains were burned to ashes.”

In the special introduction to the 1976 Franklin Library edition of the novel, he wrote:

    The Dresden atrocity, tremendously expensive and meticulously planned, was so meaningless, finally, that only one person on the entire planet got any benefit from it. I am that person. I wrote this book, which earned a lot of money for me and made my reputation, such as it is. One way or another, I got two or three dollars for every person killed. Some business I’m in.

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Almanac – November 01

HALLOWTIDE.
An old Scottish proverb has it that when Hallowtide falls on a Wednesday ‘…the men of all the Earth will be under affliction.’

1762 – Spencer Perceval born. The only British Prime Minister to have been assassinated [so far].

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1889 – Hannah Höch born.  German Dada artist. She is best known for her work of the Weimar period, when she was one of the originators of photomontage.

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1907 – Alfred Jarry died. French writer. Best known for his play Ubu Roi (1896), which is often cited as a forerunner to the surrealist theatre of the 1920s and 1930s, Jarry wrote in a variety of genres and styles – plays, novels, poetry, essays and speculative journalism. He died  of tuberculosis, aggravated by drug and alcohol use. It is recorded that his last request was for a toothpick.

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1918 – Banat Republic founded. a short-lived state proclaimed in Timişoara on November 1, 1918, the day after the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Recognized only by Hungary, the republic was invaded by the army of neighboring Serbia on November 15. The next year, its territory was divided primarily between Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and Romania.

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1922 – The last sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Mehmed VI, abdicated.

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Almanac – September 6

1852 – The UK’s first free public lending library opened, in Manchester.

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1941 – In Nazi Germany and occupied areas, it became compulsory for Jewish citizens over the age of 6 to wear a yellow star of David.

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1989 – Due to a “computer error” – ie: a human probably fed in the wrong data or pushed the wrong button – 41,000 Parisians received letters charging them with murder, extortion and organized prostitution…instead of the traffic violations they thought they’d committed.

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1998 –  Akira Kurosawa died.  Japanese film director, screenwriter, producer, and editor. Regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers in the history of cinema, Kurosawa directed 30 films in a career spanning 57 years.  His film  Seven Samurai is frequently described as one of the greatest and most influential  ever made.

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Almanac – August 14

1040 – Duncan I of Scotland killed by Macbeth . Unlike Shakespeare’s version of events in The Scottish Play,  he was  killed in action, at Bothganowan ( now Pitgaveny), near Elgin, by his own men led by Macbeth, he’d actually have been known as Donnchad mac Crínáin, and he was aged around 40.

Also, he’s supposed to be an ancestor of mine (yeah, me and about 20 million others – I’ll not be putting in a claim for the Scottish crown…)

1851 – Doc Holliday born. John Henry Holliday, American gambler, gunfighter and dentist, probably best remembered for his friendship with Wyatt Earp and his involvement in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

1936 – Rainey Bethea hanged in Owensboro, Kentucky –  the last public execution in the United States.

1956 – Bertolt Brecht died. German poet, playwright, and theatre director. An influential theatre practitioner of the 20th century, Brecht made equally significant contributions to dramaturgy and theatrical production, the latter particularly through the seismic impact of the tours undertaken by the Berliner Ensemble – the post-war theatre company operated by Brecht and his wife, long-time collaborator and actress Helene Weigel.

1967 – UK Marine Broadcasting Offences Act declared participation in offshore pirate radio illegal.

1988 – Robert Calvert died. South African born writer, poet, and musician.  He began his career by writing poetry and in 1967 formed a Street Theatre group Street Dada Nihilismus but  was best known as the lead singer, poet and frontman of Hawkwind intermittently from 1972–1979,  during which time he co-wrote their hit single “Silver Machine” and directed their Space Ritual Tour.


1994 – Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, also known as “Carlos the Jackal,”  captured.

Mr. Frankenstein

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