Thursday, 8 November 2007

A not so ironic Joseph Beuys sings for "Sonne statt Reagan"

One of Germany's most tragicomic TV moments, this 1983 campaign spot for the Green Party not only features artist Joseph Beuys in a sadly serious attempt at rock-stardom. It also, to use a Germanic expression, is the ideal-type of German humour's talent for mixing well-meaning earnestness with particularly bad puns.

The refrain - "Wir wollen Sonne statt Reagan / Ohne RĂ¼stung leben" - exploits the similarity of the German word for rain and Reagan's name, to merge the strangely unpolitical wish for good weather with the baffling demand that Reagan simply turn into the sun. The lyrics, in short, are not inspired.

But Beuys' performance is worse. His temporary job description, for want of a better word, is that of a lead singer. It doesn't help, of course, that he has been parked behind both a band - Germans will recognise them as BAP - which looks like it doesn't know how to play its instruments and a bunch of women with no apparent reason for being on stage (the Green party, of course, was big on feminism, so I suppose it preferred having women on stage doing nothing to having no women at all in the spot...)

P.S. By the end of the spot, self-conscious Beuys seems so relieved it's nearly over, that he engages in some overly optimistic microphone-action - be sure to look out for the Beuys-Helicopter!

1 comment:

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I don't know why in one of the passages of this post you're saying Beuys' performance is worse because he's great at least that's what I want because I've followed his career.