Friday, November 11, 2005

Teutonic Knight

About 15 years ago, while on a train in Hamburg, after an exhausting day spent record shopping at World Of Music (sort of the Tower Records of Germany, but so much better), an elderly woman sitting nearby began yelling things in German--a language I don't speak--and gesticulating violently towards me. This went on for the entire 20 minute ride but it wasn't until departing the train that my friend (a Hamburg native) explained what had happened: in my fatigued state, I had put my feet on the empty seat across from me, to which this woman took great offense. Not knowing the local language, I never responded to her harangue and continued brazenly stretching my legs out in front of her. Apparently, she was screaming to everyone within earshot about my rudeness and lack of manners, and all the while I just sat there, unknowingly taunting her sense of public decency. Of course, I was well aware of her hissy fit as it occurred, but assumed she was a nutjob, ignorant to the fact that she was merely acting as some sort of law-enforcing knight, keeping the social fabric of Deutschland sewn smoothly. Yes, those were good times, and I think of that warm and cuddly event whenever I hear Die Qualit├Ąt des Staates by Felix Kubin. It's the perfect soundtrack to accompany images of a large-boned matriarch chasing after a lazy Yankee with loose behavioral morals. What I love about Kubin is that, like the self-appointed correctional officer on my train, he seems to scream everything coming out of his mouth, Donald Trump-style: all overpowering volume, lacking subtlety and dynamics, which I find so charming when placed on top of Teutonic angular electroclash. Someday, I'm going to turn my little stretched-leg train encounter into a Broadway musical, and Kubin is just the man who will be able to translate that Hallmark moment into a theatre event for the ages. You can buy The Tetchy Teenage Tapes of Felix Kubin 1981-85 at Forced Exposure.

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