David Bowie had a flat in Schöneberg!
Well I am surprised at that one, as it was never the most jumping part of Berlin from my memory of living there in the 80’s. I do remember an Arthouse cinema being down there that was about 8 seats wide and 40 deep. Inside the auditorium a well dressed tailors’ dummy sat permanently in one of those seats.
I do remember that there was also a very good sausage stand in that part of town that people used to travel to from all over in order to grab a famous “Kurrywurst.” Nevertheless Schöneberg was not the edgy, dark side of the city like Kreuzberg was. Schöneberg was ‘safe’. No self respecting anarchist, or draft dodging student from the “West” would want that sort of Postleitzahl. Even posh neighbourhoods like Charlottenburg were more bohemian. Wedding and Moabit were working class districts. Schöneberg was just dull.
It was famous for one thing though. JF Kennedy once stood on a platform outside Schöneberg’s town hall and declared to the huge crowd gathered there that he in fact was “a doughnut”!
I found this page of information about Schöneberg at an ex-pat website. I think it is quite amusing that it appears to be as dull as I remember. Still each to his own. Berlin was a really crazy place to live with its distinct districts having their own flavour. Maybe there was a “scene” there that was “out there” in Schöneberg when Bowie lived on Hauptstrasse. I just cannot see him living in a flat near the sausage stand!
Staff talent show.
The Staff Talent show was something that students eagerly anticipated for weeks leading up to Christmas. This lunch time performance was hotly contested affair, which always took place on the Thursday of Charities Week (See Those were the days Part 26).
The winner was chosen by a panel of judges that was not quite of the same caliber as that from X-Factor. Teachers used to dodge the honour of appearing on this judging panel as it always used to end in tears and tantrums from the Staff band in particular if they did not come out on top.
Your brief as a judge was basically to decide if the Staff band had done enough to defeat a less talented, but very determined bunch of reprobate teachers (mainly teaclub members) that locked horns with the band every year. Other groups of staff performed various party pieces, or mimed to tracks of the day from performers such as Rick Astley. Invariably these side acts were poor and often slightly toe curling. Therefore it always boiled down to a straight shoot out – The band versus the “Tea Club Boys”.
The Band was pretty tight and would bash out an Oasis cover or something similar. The Rake 2 for further stories from the band’s exploits.
The lads in opposition knew their limitations, but would use props, bribes, humour and what talent they had to try and win over the audience. One year they built a life size Cadillac out of MDF for their performance of Grease Lightening.
The vision that I still have of one of their best shows was of the four of the reprobates lined up, wearing tutus, leotards and ballet shoes performing a series of demi plies to the soundtrack of the Sugar Plum Fairy. The whole front row of the audience was screaming in shock and blind panic every time the lads bent their knees to lower their torsos gracefully and sweep their arms upwards. This was due to the fact that one of the teachers had burst his tights in a rather crucial area and so every time he stooped down his scrotum squeezed out of the hole for a gentle airing! This was the cause of the screams of terror from the Year 10 girls who were copping an eyeful of this in the front row.
Bootsy Collins is a crazy cat. The sort of bloke you would not sit next to on the tube unless you had to. Well he does dress terribly loud.
He appears here on a classic BBC2 series from the 1980’s called Rock School – the programmes sought to give musicians an insight on the technicalities of playing certain instruments with certain styles, be it Rock guitar, Reggae drums or in Bootsy’s case – Funk bass guitar.
He makes it look so simple!
It is just all about being on the “ONE”!
Now where am I heading on this post then? Well there are two things that stand out about Bootsy.
Firstly he has lived a life and seen the World, for instance you see him happily playing bass lines for the Great James Brown in a televised show in Italy. Notice the crowd clearly do not know what to make of the Godfather of Soul here as he struts on stage. Nevertheless Bootsy seems to be enjoying himself in the background.
Now that was years ago – but Bootsy keeps busy giving talks on his musical past and also helps to encourage and support young musicians with his own University of Funk. The next clip has Bootsy telling a story in one of his seminars about the relationship he had with James Brown.
So I say “Good on you Bootsy!” for giving it back.
And listening to Bootsy speak reminds me of, the second thing…….
PETER CROUCH – Mr “You know….” immediately to mind when you hear Bootsy speak. You know you end up counting them, you know, during any interview that Crouch gives on TV.
Soul Wax. Love Them. Those barmy Belgian disco kings have done it again!
There is a certain uniqueness about Billy Bragg. He is clearly no political giant, but well thought of enough to be invited onto Question Time by the BBC. Cannot see that happening for many other people who have played live on Top of the Pops!
It was interesting to hear his response to the question posed by a member of the audience at the live show which was along the lines of ‘what would you do to solve the current economic crisis?’ After suggestions from politicians to cut public spending, stimulate small businesses and ease pressures on world economies by essentially printing more money, Billy said “I would pay the ordinary workers a decent amount of pay by increasing the level of the minimum wage.”
I will leave you to think that how that compares with George Osbourne’s ideas on quantitative easing.
My mind goes back to Billy Bragg as I first saw him play during the miners strike. Strike is a word that has become metamorphosed into ‘industrial action’. Not too sure about that one.
A strike is still a strike in my book.
Old photos get me thinking and I am digging some out to post as we speak.
However there is one blog that just “makes I laff!” and brought back some vivid memories of some nights out. It is the one linked below:
It was interesting to read today in The Independent on Sunday about the comeback of vinyl.
Peter Hook echoes my sentiments about buying an LP as opposed to downloading an mp3 file in the article.
Also of note is that it seems that youngsters are raiding lofts for their parents’ old rock albums and not knowing how to play them on a turntable, or even how to get hold of one! Bless!
Got this tip for a tune from Baz.
As soon as I saw the video I said that is Broadmead Shopping Centre!
How did I recognise that location?
Well I was walking through Broadmead on the way home after a day “at the office” filing planning appeals at Tollgate House when some random woman keeled over and started an epileptic fit outside BHS.
Loads of people just ignored her – stepping over her with their shopping. I put my jacket under her head (which she semi dribbled/chundered over), put her in the recovery position as best I could and waited for her to stop fitting.
So the backdrop to this video is the same view I had of the shopping centre as I crouched amongst the shoppers.
In 1984 – Talking Heads produced a concert movie called Stop Making Sense.
Now kids access music by standing in public car parks in the dark gawping over some uninsurable, souped up (ie new spark plugs) Mk2 Vauxhall Corsa with some crappy 2nd hand alloys and mean sub woofers in the boot. The ground shakes gently to the sound of some “West coast” whilst the man in the kebab van looks on glumly at the other end of parking area.
The Selecter – Three Minute Hero
Rummaging around in that singles box again. There are a few 2 Tone singles in there and I forgot that the Beat were actually on Go Feet! Towards the back I found this little tune.
Singles always used to have the song time length stamped on the label.
Guess what the digits are on this disc?