CHOU BANANAH GROUP, Rock City, 1980Posted: June 3, 2009
This privately pressed record looks like a Punk record, but it`s not. It falls into the same category that I have already posted here repeatedly: not Punk, not New Wave, not Hard Rock (well almost), but a bit of everything. However the lyrics of Rock City make this stand out:
I´m walking the streets of my city of Berlin/ and as usual I´m driven to the bars/ Rock City, Shock City, here I come/ I also see the shadows, see dark clouds go by/ see your children high on Heroin/ I also see the dealers/ lurking in the corners/ you can wait for it/ you will soon be mourning again.
This sounds a little more like native Berliners are speaking. Musically and lyrically this is a pretty simple and short song, but the way the issue is described is decisive: there is a heartfelt sorrow for the people here that lacks any of the cynicism that most of the people showed that came to Berlin in search of a new identity and a wild lifestyle
The West-Berlin drug scene of the 80`s was described in the tape-recordings of the teenage Christiane F. that were turned into a best-selling book in 1979 and later a movie (Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo, featuring a performance by David Bowie).
We read it from the pre-printed magazine articles in our German class in Hamburg in 1978 when I was twelve years old. Some of the descriptions were quite drastic and obviously our young German teacher meant to warn us of the dangers of drugs but it still turned one of the girls in my class onto the junkie lifestyle. Being fucked-up just seemed so cool back then…
Today Berlin might still be a relatively cheap city compared to most European capitals but it´s changing rapidly. Young people from smaller towns still come here oblivious to the fact that there are people born in this city. And the natives are still simple, rough and ready, but warm at heart…
( Ein von mir auf deutsch geschriebener Text über die Chou Bananah Group und Firma 33 erschien als 1. Folge der Berlin Beatet Bestes Reihe am 25. Juni 2009 in der Wochenzeitung Jungle World. Im Internet zu lesen ist er hier. )