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Memory of a summer festival - click opera — LiveJournal
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Tue, Aug. 7th, 2007 04:04 pm
Memory of a summer festival

I'm really not a summer rock festival kind of guy -- I've never been to Glastonbury, for instance -- but the Goldmund Festival, held by a lake in a forest 30km north of Berlin, is supposed to be one of the better ones, and this year Rusty Santos, who recorded big chunks of my Ocky Milk album, was playing. So Hisae and I set off on Saturday on what turned out to be quite a trek, trying to find it.

First of all we had to get tickets -- none were being sold on the door. I located the last few at Dense and headed to Oderberger Strasse to pick them up. The website had absolutely zero instructions on how to get to the site, especially by public transport. Somehow I got the impression that Goldmund was happening at Schloss Lanke. So we took the S-bahn to Bernau then took a taxi to the tumbledown castle. Some people were having lunch out on the grass. Hisae needed to go to the loo, but the castle is now in such a state of decrepitude that it doesn't have running water.

"Wo sind die toiletten?" got the melancholy reply "Keine!"

"Im natur, dann?"

"Ja, im natur!"

So we spent a couple of hours wandering about in the forest (it was rather pleasant, bedding down on moss and listening to woodpeckers rather than rock music) before realising our mistake. There was no music festival here after all. We had a meal in a local hostelry (the landlady was feeding a posse of local policemen and their wives, it was all scarily rustic, and they hadn't heard of this thing called "the internet") then took another taxi. This guy was able to find out from his central control (who did have the internet) that the festival was in Biesenthal, a town ten kilometers away, but not exactly where.

So he just dropped us in the centre of this tiny town (which apparently housed a concentration camp during World War II) as night was falling. We found the festival by asking around, learning that the lake was probably where it would be happening, then following the distant rumble of music. Some of the forest roads were so dark we could hardly see a thing as we walked down them, and spiders and fierce dogs abounded.

We got to the site ("Wilkommen und viel spass!") just as Rusty was finishing his set. But the place was pretty magical, like a funfair with all sorts of food and drink stalls, kino screens, giant chess boards, treehouses, a sauna, all lit with clever theatrical lighting effects (trees shone blood red, white rays spread through the night sky, flecks dappled the ground). Ticket sales had been limited to 500, so it was quite a manageable size, and the people were quite cool and interesting looking (I also provoked interest from the photographers for my red ear pads, eye patch and Granatengarten hoodie).

We hadn't brought a tent, so we spent the night under the stars, lying on a comfy rubber sofa by a big campfire. From under our sleeping bag I enjoyed the set played by Horton Jupiter, aka Michael from They Came From The Stars I Saw Them; pretty wild song structures, and a big Sun Ra influence. The other music I heard (DJ sets and some German sub-Radiohead band) was pretty dismal, and we didn't stay long enough on Sunday to hear any of the music acts.

Sunday was sort of blissful -- we drifted on a raft, watched people bathing naked and sauna-ing by the lake, played giant chess and listened to Chopin -- the ambient area was playing classical music, which was much more civilised than the boomboomboom from the main stage. Having to sleep through constant din all night (as well as inhale toxic fumes from a fire) was like having someone else's iPod welded to your head. I thought of the poor animals in the forest, condemned to listen to this bunch of aggressive apes blaring their tribal music across the lake.

Wouldn't it be great to have a festival like this without any music at all? With bird-listening forest tours instead? Never inventing electricity is one of the greatest things animals have done.

20CommentReply

fugitivemotel
fugitivemotel
Make Music Not Friends
Tue, Aug. 7th, 2007 02:12 pm (UTC)

I am going to be visiting Berlin for the first time at the end of September, for 36 hours, and I would be most grateful if you or anyone else reading this could suggest a "what to do in Berlin in 36 hours" sort of guide.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Aug. 7th, 2007 02:26 pm (UTC)

I could tell you everything I know, but then I'm afraid I'd have to kill you, Mr Bond.


ReplyThread Parent
fugitivemotel
fugitivemotel
Make Music Not Friends
Tue, Aug. 7th, 2007 02:45 pm (UTC)

Well, just a "top ten lost of things to see / do in Berlin according to Momus" would be fine, too.


ReplyThread Parent
fugitivemotel
fugitivemotel
Make Music Not Friends
Tue, Aug. 7th, 2007 02:46 pm (UTC)

Top ten list, not lost.


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Tue, Aug. 7th, 2007 02:48 pm (UTC)

Momus, what do you make of this article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/06/world/asia/06equal.html?_r=2&th&emc=th&oref=slogin&oref=slogin


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Aug. 7th, 2007 03:06 pm (UTC)

Japan may be behind the West in terms of gender parity, but it's ahead in overall pay parity as measured by Gini coefficients. In other words, Japan is overall a much fairer and more unified society than other advanced nations, especially Anglosphere ones, which are seeing inequality increasing exponentially.

But if we want to look only at gender parity, it's worth saying that a UK committee reported last month that in the UK "the gender pay gap could take another 78 years to close at the current rate of progress". We do not have this licked ourselves.

You also have to look at the issue of demographics -- Japan needs new people to be born if it isn't to see its population dwindle away over the next century. It probably needs that more urgently than it needs its entire population at the office until midnight.


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Aug. 7th, 2007 03:21 pm (UTC)

I do not accept the article's argument (attributed to non-named "advocates") that having more women in the workforce increases fertility rates:

They point to studies showing that nations with greater workplace participation, like the United States, actually have higher fertility rates. Advocates say this is because working women in other countries start having children earlier in life, while many who leave the work force do not do so until their 30s.

That really squares the circle, allowing the article to have its cake (declare that being in the workforce is good) and eat it too (declare that having kids is good too).

In the case of the US, the higher fertility rate is down to the much greater inequality there: there are more extremely poor people with developing world patterns of childbirth (high infant mortality rates, for instance). It's not about "the choice to have children and work", it's about the harsh realities of high-Gini superpoverty. It's amusing that this is being presented as an ideal that Japanese women should aspire to.


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Aug. 7th, 2007 03:43 pm (UTC)

Those birthrate stats:

Japan 2.8 per thousand and declining.

US 7 infant deaths per thousand births and rising.


ReplyThread Parent
som_o
som_o
som_o
Tue, Aug. 7th, 2007 04:14 pm (UTC)

For a discussion of (western) notions of 'lag' concerning gender and sexuality in Japan see

Jonathan M. Hall, "Japan's Progressive Sex: Male Homosexuality, National Competition, and the Cinema," in Queer Asian Cinema: Shadows in the Shade, ed. Andrew Grossman (New York, London, Oxford: Haworth Press, 2000).


ReplyThread Parent
mistresshellena
mistresshellena
Mistress Hellena
Tue, Aug. 7th, 2007 05:23 pm (UTC)
just trying to make sense of this tangent:

I think a secluded German wood sounds like a great place to make babies...(or at least go through the motions)

[=back to lurking=]


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Aug. 7th, 2007 05:27 pm (UTC)
Re: just trying to make sense of this tangent:

Were you spying?


ReplyThread Parent
som_o
som_o
som_o
Tue, Aug. 7th, 2007 05:49 pm (UTC)
also:

Jonathan M. Hall, "Area Studies at the Bedroom Door: Queer Theory, Japan, and the Case of the Missing Fantasy," Japanese Studies 23, no. 2 (2003).


ReplyThread Parent
niddrie_edge
niddrie_edge
raymond
Tue, Aug. 7th, 2007 05:30 pm (UTC)

I think I remember Steve Roden and some other field recordings people used to organise walking tours focussing on the sonic environment. Not quite a festival but groovy none the less.
All technology powered by rechargeable batteries I believe.

Seems he has a blog featuring,
some fluxus

and some original hippie

I also recall you saying you were part of a Placard headphone festival. I set up my home pc to be a listening point for the London end one year.


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wildbirdcall
wildbirdcall
k.
Tue, Aug. 7th, 2007 05:40 pm (UTC)
Quiet Party in the woods

I love this idea - kind of like the Quiet Party, but in nature. Recently I had to defend myself for not enjoying large, loud events outside the city because I leave the city to in order to leave the city, ie, the noise. They didn't get it.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Aug. 7th, 2007 06:23 pm (UTC)


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Aug. 7th, 2007 11:04 pm (UTC)
Da!

Oh, what a curmudgeon you've become! I utterly approve.

And, yes, why does every festival aimed at youthful, interesting people have to include music at all? I think you're on to something there.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Aug. 7th, 2007 11:19 pm (UTC)

Hurrah fer animals in the forest! Even if we spent our lives eating their asses, it was in a sensitised way. Dear Big Nuthin, keep the tanks in Iraq full of beats and Helmut Newton fans outta the forest. "Yippee-ki-yay, this one's fer Norman Parkinson, fuckwads!" Boom. "Yeah! Looks like a big noisy badger abattoir." "Fer sure. I'll sleep when a'm Cecil mother-lovin' Beaton." "Fer sure."


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microworlds
microworlds
Sparkachu Maelworth
Wed, Aug. 8th, 2007 02:59 am (UTC)
All I could think of while reading this


AR, YOU YOUNGINS', GET OFF MY LAWN!!!!


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Aug. 8th, 2007 05:38 pm (UTC)
Re: All I could think of while reading this

"Having to sleep through constant din all night was like having someone else's iPod welded to your head." You didn't have to sleep. Many festival attendees continue enjoying their weekends without any sleep (bar an occasional power nap)for the few days the parties last.

"
Wouldn't it be great to have a festival like this without any music at all?" What a day in the park/ by the lake festival? Why not organise/curate one yourself? I'm sure there would be quite a few keen to attend, and it could do wonders for your 'cultural capital'.


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Thu, Aug. 16th, 2007 12:56 pm (UTC)
festival without music

dear momus,
indeed a festival without all electricity would be quite an outstanding experience. it would allow for more tunes to recover.
- allthough, a gig of yours does wonders.


most sincerely,
milena


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