Archive | saw it RSS feed for this section

Die Antwoord, Berlin

26 Jan

23 January 2015

Back from Berlin. I didn’t take a single photo, but we did have a good time. Remember, I was quite sick again beginning of this week. So it was risky, but there was simply no way of missing out on Die Antwoord! The concert had been sold out for weeks, ticket prices sky-rocketed on Ebay. For me it was revisiting some childhood nostalgia, like really childish childhood period, haha! >:-)

So we went. Travel was not particularly smooth, with a broken tire 10 min before arrival but we had enough time. Arriving in Berlin, it was damn cold and windy. Imagine railway stations and an icy wind constantly blowing. It was rather uncomfortable. But therefore we had a really nice place to stay.

On the way to the concert hall we got stuck again due to some demo and police cordoning off part of the area where our train had to pass. In a way it was one of the many instances occurring this week I’d connect to Mercury retrograde…

We arrived 20 min late at Columbiahalle, where people had been gathering outside and were hardly moving forward, even though doors were said to open by 8pm. It took over one hour of freezing in the cold until we finally got inside. The concert hall was full packed with people at the time we entered. And I spent another 20 min in a waiting line until I could finally hand in our jackets at the cloakroom.

Die Antwoord had already entered the stage when I was finally back in the audience. Like all their other German concerts this one had been sold out and the place was really full packed. The show was great though. With each song we could venture forward and by the middle of the concert, had ended up close to the stage. People were jumping around and crowd surfing like crazy. At times the whole crowd was jumping up and down synchronously, even the folks on the balcony. It looked mad. We were waiting for someone to jump or fall down (which didn’t happen.)

Die Antwoord played all their known hits and the show was choreographed in large parts. There was plenty of twerking combined with 90ies style dance moves. The chaotic elements were first and foremost Ninja’s stage diving actions and the audience’s responses. The whole show was a single burst of energy with no particular lows. A climax was certainly “Fok julle naaiers“. On one of the banners was scribbled “Hello Charlie” along with a little devil face, which made us smile.

We were definitely most impressed by Ninja’s rapping. Altogether the show and level of professionalism was greater than I’d expected and certainly worth the ticket and travel. But it was the crowd that made this event really special.

Enter the Ninja” was the scheduled bonus for the night, with a little blond girl entering the stage and performing the choreography from the video alongside Yolandi. They were certainly also making a point with taking a kid on stage, where the main message was “fuck your rules”. Die Antwoord are in a way children themselves, or addressing the child within with their music. Which is totally okay. It made us feel like 16 ourselves (or even younger, haha). And I was crazy enough to spend 40 bucks on a tour shirt (the last in size S). Usually I wouldn’t do this (and even less can I afford it), but this shirt is now a reminder of that child within – and also it does look pretty zef. >:)

Besides, the day after we visited the Berlin museum of natural history. The museum has some of the biggest known dinosaur skeletons on display, which was another reminder of a childhood fascination of mine (for a while I had my walls plastered with dino posters). But there were tons of other awesome things, like thousands of stuffed animals and specimen preserved in glass jars… the room with the jars was tangibly colder and in the dim light all the glasses, with pale serpentine and coiling fish specimen piled up to the ceiling, reminded of some freakish Frankenstein horror cabinet.

Still in awe we spent the evening with our lovely host until taking the bus back to Dresden. I slept like a stone and there were certainly some of the experiences from these days entering my dreams…

Today we took it easy and went for a walk to a nearby castle. There was moss all over, and strange masks carved in stone… it’s that type of old, abandoned building that makes for a perfect horror movie setting. I wonder what it would be like to live there…

But it’s late and I must end this brief written summary. No photos this time, you’ll have to use your imagination…

Advertisements

Antiquarian: Aus dem Reiche der Drogen, 1926

7 May

Stumbled upon this book a few weeks ago at an antiquarian bookshop in Dresden and swore to myself if I returned and sold some stuff in the meantime I’d buy it. Turns out I did!

The book is from 1926 and published by Schwarzeck-Verlag Dresden. I was surprised to find such a publication here. It contains valuable information and references to the earliest herbals from the 15th century, which thanks to the invention of the letterpress printing were for the first time available to a larger audience, especially as they were not in Latin but in German language so that the common man could understand and use them. These books were richly illustrated with delicate woodcuts depicting each plant. Both pharmacology and botany would develop quickly during this time and soon would follow similar herbal books in other countries such as Belgium, Italy and England.

The first chapter gives an introduction to these early herbals of the “Middle Ages” and their authors, such as Conrad von Megenberg, Otto Brunfels, Leonhart Fuchs, Hieronymus Bock, Petrus Andreas Mathiolus, Konrad Gesner, Tabernaemontanus etc., as well as illustrators, who designed extraordinary woodcuts for these books and publishers. Guess what, it wasn’t easy to publish a book at a time when there were no laws yet on coyprights so that reprints occured still within the same year and neither the original publisher nor author could do anything about it. To this add competition and price dumping amongst publishers once a larger number of similar books was available… Wait, that all sounds familiar doesn’t it? Even today… The authors describe all of this quite vividly and so this short discurse on the first herbals ever printed is a pleasant read, spiced with examples and quotes from these very first books on plants and their alleged medicinal properties. Simultaneously we learn how the first volumes on botany and pharmacognosy came into being.

As I cannot go into detail on each chapter I will instead just list the titles for reference:

  1. The Herbals of the Middle Ages
  2. The Doctrine of Signatures
  3. The art of distillation
  4. The spice wars
  5. The cultivation of drugs in Germany
  6. The China-Bark
  7. The Liquorice
  8. The tropein-containing Nightshades
  9. The Strophanthus
  10. The noxious and innoxious types of Strychnos
  11. The Elder
  12. The Indian Hemp (Cannabis indica)
  13. The Yohimbe bark
  14. The Guajacum tree
  15. The Sarsaparilla root
  16. The Shepherd’s Purse
  17. The Rhubarb
  18. The Aconite
  19. The Opium
  20. The Cantharides

I have not read through all of the 272 pages but whenever I skim over the text I find something new and interesting, which I have not read elsewhere. This book contains plenty of interdisciplinary references and I am glad to have bought it.