THE TIE-BREAKS, Ist das der Weg zur Hafenstrasse?, 1990Posted: March 5, 2009
In 1989 Boris Becker, Germany´s greatest living athlete, had a smart girlfriend, Karen, who was studying at university. Karen`s influence might have rubbed-off on the notoriously simple-minded Boris, because in an interview for German magazine “Der Stern” he made remarks that he felt closer to the people living in the famous Hafenstrasse squat than to the yuppies he was performing for and that the Hafenstrassepeople should be left alone. He also offered to give away some tickets for his matches to people from Hafenstrasse.
Now this offer was taken up by a bunch of Hamburg punks and hardcore activists and on a early spring night in 1990 we all went to a sports-arena, were Boris Becker was playing in a friendly match. Self-made signs and flyers in hand and dressed in stupid disguises we were determined to get some response from Boris for making that offer.
I don`t remember the exact circumstances any more but we were distributing flyers and shouting silly slogans like “Boris, give us the tickets!”, ” Boris come to the harbour, we need you!” and “Solidarity with Red Karen” at the unsuspecting tennis-fans, until the police showed up. But then surprisingly, Boris Becker actually let four of our people talk to him and then promised to give away tickets for his next big tournament at Rotherbaum. What a good sport!
That would have pretty much been it, if the media had not reacted so intensely. Each and every newspaper reported about our little prank. And in a positive way, applauded “those Hafenstrasse folks or weren`t they for real?” for the very first time! Like today but even more so back then, black-clad anarchists were not known for their humour, but feared and hated.
One of the main people behind that prank-demonstration was Henrik “Henna” Peschel, who later became a prolific underground film-maker. He and I were the first ones who regularly took photos at hardcore-punk shows at the Hafenstrasse in the mid- to late 80`s. After the success of that happening Henna and some friends put together a press-package and took on more actions.
In April 1990 Henna asked me to do a cover-drawing for a upcoming 45 by his fictitious group “The Tie-Breaks”. To the music of Tony Christie´s “Is this the Way to Amarillo” they were singing “Ist das der Weg zur Hafenstrasse?” (Is this the way to the Hafenstrasse?). When I showed the finished artwork to Henna he complained there were not enough black bloc people on it. So I had to draw some more and just glued them on the paper.
In 1990 I was already on my way out of the hardcore punk scene, more interested in opening up in many ways and also preparing my first autobiographical comic book Artige Zeiten. Henna had befriended some more bohemian Hamburg musicians like Rocko Schamoni ( who among others is singing on this record) and the guys that later developed into Tocotronic. At that moment we were still connected to the Hardcore scene and to the people that took part in the prank-demonstration. That scene, though strict and often restricting, had nurtured us and given us a platform for our activities. It had inspired us and it had made us proud that we were taking part in something that was worth believing in.
The Hafenstrasse squat had been the focal point of the radical left and the squatters movement but also housed the Störtebeker venue, the home of the Hamburg hardcore-punk scene. We had been to a lot of demonstrations defending it and had seen countless bands there and made tons of friends. It meant a lot to us.
This one sided schlager record, as silly as it sounds , is really a tribute to the Hafenstrasse.