Thomas Venker


Bildschirmfoto 2016-03-23 um 10.56.11

Sometimes it’s quite strange how the incidents in our lives flow between the days. How the last thoughts before and the first ones after the dreams fit together to this oh so real writing of history of our existence.

On Monday night I watched the last episode of the fifth season of “House of Cards“ before I went to bed. Here is the spoiler for everyone who hasn’t seen it yet: President Underwood and his wife found themselves so much in the political defense, that they, in their paradigm of obsession for power, have been left with nothing but the ultimative step forward, they declare the “total war“. Well, all is quiet on the western front, that’s what you think to yourself and fall asleep with the picture of the awkward and after all not less dangerous sit-in-president George W. Bush before your inner eye.

Just to find yourself, after waking up and before having your first cup of coffee (a horrible mistake, always) in the middle of contemporary world politics. Donald Trump screams at me  via Spiegel and Washington Post about the possibility of a Third World War with Russia – and kick-boxed Obama aside as „the worst thing that ever happened to Israel“, to absurdly talk himself up as a friend of Israel all of a sudden.

Following was the shock of the attacks in Brussels. Which unfortunately wasn’t that surprising, because not that much sense of reality for the circumstances was needed to surmise, that a reaction to the detention of Salah Abdeslam had to be coming. The cycle of violence regrettably rules everything.

I can’t and won’t get too deep into the security and geopolitical discourse of the events, as much as they stir me up as everyone else, it’s a subject that pushes the limits of ones political articulation possibilities: you are affected, furious, and at the same time powerless. We all sense, that over the last years something got into motion, that isn’t easy to rectify. The normality, that shaped life in Europe – especially in distinction to many other regions of the world – for so long, that is the past.

Last night, before going to bed I read the January issue of thes british Wire Magazins, in which the editorial staff and various artists look back on the year 2015. Not an easy endeavor for everyone in the aftershocks of the attacks of Paris. In light of the events the task to create top 10 lists of your favorite records of the year doesn’t seem that important. And so, the Wire editor Derek Walmsley reminds us of a statement from author Mark Fisher from 2010. In The New Statesman he stated, that “the idea, that music could change the world, is hopelessly naive“.
You certainly know immediately why Walmsley as well as Fisher wrote this, and somehow you do agree with them, but on the other side you don’t.

Why? I just have to turn two more pages of the Wire Magazine, to find a great example against the reflex of questioning and resignation. On the letter to the editor page Diego Bat from Patagonia in Argentina wrote on the occasion of Dieter Moebius’ death. Bat writes, how he did send an envelope with money to Germany to Mr. Moebius, in order to acquire records (and since he was aware how vague the chances were, he even sent two of these letters – both of which arrived). He also tells, how he later did meet Moebius at a show in Argentina and did spend an amazing night with him and other musicians.
It’s a beautiful letter, because it proves how music brings people together, that are separated by many kilometers and big cultural differences (and political systems).

Today I woke up to the sad news about the death of the A Tribe Called Quest rapper Malik Isaac Taylor aka Phife Dawg. It was not completely unsurprising, as we all knew how sick he was since the documentation “Beats, Rhytmes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest” and the Tribe reunion tour in 2013, both of which were means to fund his treatment.

I got to see Phife Dawg again at  Splash 2013, and it was a very touching performance. His illness and it’s consequences were obvious. During the last third of the set Q-Tip had to support him with his raps with increased frequency. Their relationship might not have been very easy during the last years, but seeing how in these moments the deep friendship of those two was able to disregard all conflicts, that was very moving.

I want to conclude today’s column with music from my friends from Brussels Soumaya Pheline and Pablo Saccomano.

(english version: Denise Oemcke)

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