So the cop levelled his service revolver at my chest and screamed FREEZE! I was half in and half out of my car at that exact moment and seeing the barrel of the gun drawing a bead on my chest made me go momentarily crazy.
My arms didn't work like I wanted them too. I was begging my hands to rise into the air submissively but they refused. They were arguing that if I threw my arms into the air too quickly that the cop would get spooked and shoot me dead. They might have been right---the cop looked that scared. At any rate my hands stayed put, holding onto the door and roof of my car.
The cop shouted FREEZE! again, and since I was already frozen this confused both me and my hands. I started to shake all over, wanted to speak, to tell the cop I meant him no harm, but no words would not come out of my mouth, which was suddenly shot through with both the taste of burning metal and the feeling of being stuffed with wads of dirty cotton.
After about 20-30 seconds, which seemed like an eternity both to me and I'm sure the cop, I found my voice and managed to make a plaintive sound that said, "I'm a paperboy. I'm delivering papers."
It was 5am, pitch black dark still, and the cop had just pulled me over after I banged my Chevy Nova around a corner, headed for the next run of throws. I guess he hadn't seen the papers flying out of my windows on the previous block, because when he pulled me over he immediately went for his gun.
I'm sure I looked wrong---this was the mid 70's and I had hair down to my waist and was wearing a pilot's flight suit, as it was winter and it was the first thing I grabbed daily when I awoke to throw my morning route.
The cop's gun hand began to shake and tremble and I worried that he was going to a accidentally pull the trigger so again I informed him that I was a paperboy, and this time managed to sound a little more convincing.
He inched closer to me, then shouted for me to slowly put my hands on the roof of the car. My arms managed to cooperate better and at that point the cop rushed forward, frisked me, slapped a pair of handcuffs on me, then threw me in the back of his cruiser.
A moment later a swarm of cop cars descended from all directions. Blue light convention. Uniforms and plain clothes, even a few detectives. They were rifling through my car and seemed amused. They were showing each other the neatly folded newspapers. I finally caught a snippet of what the lead detective was saying to the cop with the gun, the one who'd pulled me over. "Good work." he smirked, "You caught a goddamn paperboy."
With that the swarm of cops departed, leaving me and the cop with the gun alone there. He opened the door to the cruiser, helped me out, unlocked the handcuffs and apologized. He explained that the night before a cop had been shot in a neighboring city and my car matched the description of the car involved. He'd seen me driving erratically (I used to drive with my knees while I threw papers out both windows) and thought he'd found the shooter. When he pulled me over and I innocently started to get out of my car to see what the problem was he got spooked and drew his weapon.
He said that each night before leaving for work his wife would make him promise to not come home dead. He'd made that promise to her that night and intended to keep it. With that he shook my hand and wished me well.
It took me days to get my head back on straight. I got flushed with nausea at the drop of a pin---post traumatic stress related I'm sure. I was eighteen years old, the same age as Michael Brown.
We all run these narratives in our minds about how we'll behave in moments of duress, but those narratives are the stuff of fantasy. When the gun is pointed at your chest you don't behave rationally, your body disobeys simple commands and that leads to some real problems, which is why drawing guns should be a last resort, not the first.
Thinking about Ferguson, it occurs to me that if my skin were not the same color as the cops, I might not be here today. I was white, as was he, so he held back and reserved judgment. Had I been black maybe things would not have worked out so well for me. So I guess I'm thankful for that, but it's little consolation. Jim White
Izabel used to host the Lullabies For Insomniacs radio show on PBS 106.7FM here in Melbourne. At the moment she lives in London and as
she says: “The mix I have done for you is inspired by Autumn in London, visiting the Sigma Polke
exhibition at the Tate Modern and Paul Virilio’s ‘Speed of Politics'”
Thesis: PhD Performing Arts University of Liverpool (2009)
This thesis represents the first comprehensive examination in English of the work of the Berlin-based music collective, Einstürzende Neubauten. It intends to offer evidence that the sonic forays of this group have not only defined a particular cultural moment but have also created new musical possibilities (to appropriate words from Brandon LaBelle). It does this by investigating why the work of these musicians is important within contemporary music, what cultural concerns their music reflects and how the music is created, performed and disseminated. These questions are explored through a range of contexts, including post-war Berlin, Germany’s problematic relationship with music, the development of Musique Concrète, Noise/Music and strategies for creative independence. There is a detailed analysis of Neubauten’s performance and textual techniques.
This thesis argues that Einstürzende Neubauten are one of the few examples of ‘rock-based’ artists who have been able to sustain a breadth and depth of work over a number of years while remaining experimental and open to development; that their work offers evidence that they are one of the most complete examples of Artaudian practice in contemporary performance and that their Supporter Initiative (2002-2007) provided a unique working strategy for independence of the consumerist model of music. Finally, it argues that their work helps to present the case for the re-evaulation of European, non-English language contemporary music.
Note -this version contains German spellings, corrected after final submission at the author's request. HERE
Photos by Claude Crommelin for Vinyl magazine (NL) This was a great gig by EN that was unfortunately shut down by the cops after about an hour. I was lucky enough to catch all the London and Amsterdam gigs by them until I moved to Australia in 1986. The sheer power and 'danger' (e.g. a pneumatic drill making its way into a support column of the Westway when they played Acklam Hall) of their performances back then are something that was missing when I caught them last year out here in Melbourne when they played at ATP's 'I'll Be Your Mirror'. and indeed also way back in 1989 when they played at The Old Greek Theatre.
Anyway I am currently reading this book, which I have to say for an academic tome is actually really enjoyable (and accessible)
Firstly one thing that constantly irks me though is the rewritten history of the 'Concerto for Voice and Machinery' night held at London's ICA back in January 1984 (and I am not going to go anywhere near The 2007 re-enactment except to ask "why?")*
It is stated that it was not advertised as a Neubauten gig...
...but it certainly was. There was a sign outside the door explaining that this was not to be a performance by Neubauten and this partly explains the 'aggressive' behaviour of the crowd that night. I'm sure Frank (Fad Gadget) Tovey was a lovely bloke but that was not who I had spent my money to see.The crowd's palpable disappointment certainly contributed to the rather mild (to my mind at least) mayhem of the night but it was also helped along by a certain Genesis P'Orridge, who with the aid of a megaphone was encouraging everyone to basically cause as much damage as they could. This resulted after the twenty minute set, in a rather ludicrous tug of war involving a cement mixer going on between those on stage and off.
Those supposed secret tunnels under the ICA that led to Buckingham Palace were safe that night after all...
*At the discussion after the 2007 re-enactment Chris Bohn (who attended both performances) is quoted in Shryane's wonderfully engrossing book)as remarking that the original night was a "non-event musically, made into an event through media coverage." At the conclusion instead of being forced out of the gallery by the ICA staff as quickly as possible, the audience having now endured forty minutes of theatre could disperse leisurely to discuss the art that they had just witnessed.
Which still begs the question "why?" Secondly while I can whinge that I have been slightly disappointed in the two live EN experiences that I've encountered in the last twenty eight years, on record they have matured into one magnificently (mostly) refined beast culminating in 'Lament' which is quite probably the crowning achievement of their long career. If there was ever a band to summon the horrors of war then that band is Einstürzende Neubauten
Einstürzende Neubauten were the first band which successfully used the Internet productively to gather and concentrate activities of their fans from around the world. Einstürzende Neubauten launched their official website neubauten.org in 2002, and made it the center of their musical activities. Entire albums are financed by registered Supporters via subscription.
The principle was simple: their Supporters bought the next Einstürzende Neubauten album before it was recorded. With this funding in hand the band had time to work in peace rather than wasting time and energy in endless discussions with record companies about marketing and "brand identity" - irksome intrusions into the artistic process! In return Supporters world-wide have exclusive access to Einstürzende Neubauten's internal working processes.
Supporters were able to watch the recording sessions via web-cam for the first two Supporter Albums (2002/2005) and were also called upon by the band members in direct chat discussions to comment on the working process and influence it. In the same way, the Musterhaus series (a collection of experimental albums) is being marketed solely on the website.
One high point of the supporter-project was the highly symbolic 4th of November 2004 show at Palast der Republik, the former headquarter of the power apparatus of the fallen GDR which was in the process of being demolished. This impressive and unique performance (featuring the 100-person Supporter choir on Grundstück) was recorded and filmed for release as the Grundstück CD and DVD of the same title (2005) as well as on the Palast der Republik DVD (2006).
The project ended in 2007 with a supporter edition of the album Alles Wieder Offen and a supporter DVD 3 Jewels. Via
The different official release
The cast includes: Blixa Bargeld, Nick Cave, Nina Hagen, Dieter Meier, Butoh legend Kazuo Ohno, Campino (Die Toten Hosen) and Lene Lovich with music by Einstürzende Neubauten, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Abwärts and Yello amongst others
The Pop Group have announced details of the release of their first album in 35 years. Citizen Zombie will be released through Freaks R Us on Monday February 23rd 2015
1. Citizen Zombie
2. Mad Truth
3. Nowhere Girl
4. Shadow Child
5. The Immaculate Deception
7. Box 9
9. St. Outrageous
10. Age Of Miracles