Launch of new research project on German Pop Music

This event marks the launch of a new project on German Popular music at Warwick/ Aston unis. It takes place on Wed 8th Feb, 5-7pm in the Occulus building, OC1.09. Warwick Uni Campus. No tickets. Event free. Come along!

This ia a new research intiative that seeks, through collaboration with Warwick University, to promote the serious academic treatment of German popular music and its (much underrated) cultural value and contribuiton to world culture. The topic, perhaps oddly, remains something of a blindspot within German Studies as a discipline. We start with two venerable speakers, David Pattie and Luis-Manuel Garcia.

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Aston academic discussesTrumponomics

Earlier this month, Dr Stefan Manz was a guest on Radio Sputnik where he explained how US president Donald Trump’s unpopularity in Germany and his threat to impose import tariffs on German cars could have negative consequences not just for the German economy, but for the US as well.

Click here to read a write-up and hear the audio clip of the conversation.

Review of “Futur II” by Gruppe Ja, Panik

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Uwe Schütte has contributed an extensive review of the literary debut of Berlin band Ja, Panik to the magazine Volltext. Their singer and songwriter, Andreas Spechtl, was DAAD Songwriter in Residence at Aston in 2015. Futur II commemorates the tenth anniversary of the band. You can read the review by Uwe here. Ja, Panik have also released a new song called Futur II to accompany the album – watch the video here.

“Mal ordinär / mal neureich nobel / hängt man so ab / zwischen unten und oben”

German Pop Music. A Companion

Out now is a new book by our colleague Uwe Schütte. He has edited a collection of essays on major musical styles and bands in the history of German pop music. The contributors comprise a range of international experts on popular music from across Germany, the UK and the US.

The volume is chronologically structured: following the introduction by Uwe, it starts with a chapter on German Schlager, followed by chapters on Krautrock, German Punk, German Industrial, Techno and Rap. There is also a chapter dedicated to Kraftwerk, written by Uwe.

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The survey is concluded by an interview with Diedrich  Diederichsen, the leading scholar in the field who has recently published his major study Über Pop-Musik. For more info see the publisher’s website here or order the book, reasonably priced at £18,71 from Amazon or any other online retailer.

Read an illustrated excerpt from Uwe’s chapter on Kraftwerk on the CUEPOINT music blog.

Christmas in England & Germany – a short comparison

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Six more sleeps until Christmas. Or wait, seven more sleeps here in England. Whilst Christmas Day (December 25th) seems to be the most important date in England, Christmas Eve (December 24th) is the date most children in Germany are looking forward to.

Let’s have a look at some other (probably not so widely known) differences:

  1. Christmas Cards are a thing in England! I found out about this one the hard way – receiving Christmas Cards from almost everyone – colleagues, students, friends … and not having written a single card myself. Usually Germans only give cards to their closest family members and friends on Christmas Eve, but here in England you write them to what feels like every single person you know!
  2. Turkey seems to be the number one Christmas dinner in England. In Germany, however, there is no traditional Christmas meal and everyone enjoys the food they like.
  3. Germany doesn’t have Christmas Crackers – at least not for Christmas. This seems more like a New Year’s Eve activity.
  4. English shops are open on Boxing day. The 26th is a national holiday in Germany, so good luck finding an open shop that day.
  5. Finally, something that belongs to Christmas for me personally – The Darts World Championship in London. Darts is huge in England, well, that’s what German TV commentators tell you. In reality, however, I still have to find a single person who’s into Darts!

There are many more differences between Christmas in England and Germany, feel free to add them in the comment section below!

WDR podcast on WG Sebald

WDR has just published a podcast on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the death of German writer and academic WG Sebald, who is considered to be one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. The podcast looks back on the life and works of Sebald who emigrated to England at the age of 22. The podcast also includes contributions by Aston’s expert on WG Sebald – Dr Uwe Schütte.

You can listen to the podcast (in German) here.