Webmaster’s “Face in the Crowd” Flashback

Dateline: A Summer Sunday in Switzerland, 32C, 07:00AM.

Webmaster finds online vintage video of himself as a “face in the crowd” at a Munich Beer Hall.

The skankworks.net logfiles are set to rotate on Sunday mornings, so my first task on a Sunday, after lighting up the longest of the previous night’s abandoned roaches, is to reset the tails in my terminals and then generate the websites’ stats. While the scripts were running this morning I put the kettle on to make a coffee, and went outside to tend to my wisteria.

When the coffee was ready I came back to my desk to review the server’s performance over the last week. Satisfied with the server’s technical performance, I turned my attention to the regular Sunday SEO analysis. I finally identified why I am getting so many hits for the phrase “girls with tits hanging out of their dresses” and I put in a redirect to move these Internet pervs to a more appropriate page than the one google was sending them to.

How Far is it to Tharg?

I was checking trends for the King Kurt section, and saw a tweet with a video from a gig in Munich, then West Germany, in 1984, featuring the song “Gather Your Limbs” (featured above), which was preceded by an incorrectly named segment about which the tweeter was asking.

I remember that song well. I was friends with the band when they wrote it. They had played it up and down the UK in the 1983 Tour after signing up with Stiff, but I don’t know if it was ever released. I had a few bootlegs with live versions I’d made as the song developed. It was, at the time, considered to be one of their best original compositions.

It was written in Rory’s cellar, where the band used to practice, after a session one Sunday morning in the Summer of 1983, and it essentially mocks the “Zorch” image of rival pyschobilly band The Meteors. The lyric kind of has a “Mutant Rock” feel to it, with a similar brand of blunt South London humour. In the song Tharg is a distant planet discovered accidently by King Kurt when Jodrell Bank was buzzing on a starlit summer night (…) then he dropped his telescope and he discovered Tharg..

Well the planet it was Blue and Green
With Stripes of Red and Beige
The inhabitants were wrinkled green
You couldn’t guess their age.

Who’d have thought thirty year ago we’d all end up wrinkled green?

How far is it, how far is it,
Let’s all go along to Tharg.
How far is it, how far is it,
About 16 Squillion Yards.

One wonders if our dear Mr Cayton still sings it so well? At the concert in the Alabama Halle, lead singer Smeg taunted the West German crowd that nobody there would know how far it was to Tharg, and I yelled out the desired response that it was “16 Squillion Yards“, pulling the wind from his sails a little.

The concert had been broadcast live on Bavarian TV by Bayerischer Rundfunk as part of their Live aus dem Alabama series. alabamahalle king kurt 1984 gather your limbs - click to enlarge I’d never seen a copy of the video before. So I watched the online clip to see if I could see that bit, but it only has half of Tharg before cutting to Limbs.

Then right at the end, at about 06:33 in the video, I saw myself, as a relatively younger man, at the front of the crowd, apparently singing along (right).

The Pink Floyd

I’d like at this point to be able to make a comparison between watching a video of myself watching a live gig three decades ago, and Roger Waters singing a duet with a video of himself from three decades before in his Wall remake. Alas that would not be the appropriate one to make. As much as I would like it to be. Curiously, I was also at Waters’ first attempt to remake the Wall at Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, in 1990 which, in a roundabout way, brings us back to the Munich Beer Hall.

It would just have to be a Munich Beer Hall wouldn’t it? Of all places to be caught on film in a crowd. A beer hall. In Munich. Just like this bloke seventy years previously. Unlike him, however, I do eat meat, smoke, drink, and the only bombs I ever threw at people were made of flour and/or water. webmasters auto in poland Although eighteen years after that picture was taken I did cross the Polish border in a Volkswagen (left). The same VW that I had driven a few days before to the Olympia Halle in Munich to see none other than Roger Waters on his 2002 “Mr Pink Floyd” tour before following him to Prague and Warsaw.

You don’t normally expect to get up on a Sunday morning and find yourself looking at a video of yourself made by (West) German TV almost thirty years before. When you do, and you find them falsely portraying you as some kind of neo-Nazi, it’s time to call the lawyer – but she doesn’t work on Sundays.

Thanks to Mitch Hell and Psycho Billy for finding and sharing these links.

Back on the Dole

Another song at that concert is also noteworthy. It was called “Back on the Dole”, written shortly after the band signed their first professional recording contract. See if you can spot the young man who would later become an out-of-work webmaster reliant on a busted-up $30 Pentium III to ply the economic and cultural wasteland that is the Internet, and that was, ostensibly still is, his trade. Click image to view.

click to view video
The skankworks.net webmaster in the Orwellian year 1984 appreciating the nascent irony of the aptly-named number “Back on the Dole”. A theme which then as now characterizes his life’s history, like a central supporting column in the multistory building of his career, such that it is. As opposed to the other bloke who was caught on camera amongst a cheering Munich crowd at the onset of his manhood celebrating, not a concert, but the outbreak of a World War. The kind of war which would similarly form a central theme in his own life story, and a primary goal no less of his own career.

I became a webmaster. Where did I go wrong?

Well I can’t write no more code,
So I guess I’ll hit the road,
be back on the dole next year.
’cause the market has gone bad,
and I don’t live in Hyderbad,
So I’ll be back on the dole next year.

Oh, back on the dole,
I’ll be back on the dole,
I’ll be back on the dole next year.
I’ll be back on the dole,
Yes I see you already know,
I’ll be back on the dole next year.

Were you at the Alabama Halle on 24th Sept 1984? Do you remember that beautiful girl who got up on stage and took all her clothes off? Do you ever wonder what she’s doing now?

King Kurt On the Road

Recommended Listening – Face in the Crowd Playlist
Der Königgrätzer Marsch
Roger Waters “Mother” duet with himself from 30 years prior

Spot the Webmaster
King Kurt (München 1984) [01]. She’s as Hairy
King Kurt (München 1984) [02]. Ghost Riders in the Sky
King Kurt (München 1984) [03]. Banana Banana
King Kurt (München 1984) [04]. Back on the Dole
King Kurt (München 1984) [05]. Lonesome Train
King Kurt (München 1984) [06]. Gather Your Limbs
King Kurt (München 1984) [07]. Horatio Kurt’s Brother
King Kurt (München 1984) [08]. Alcoholic Rat
King Kurt (München 1984) [09]. Mack the Knife
King Kurt (München 1984) [10]. Zulu Beat
King Kurt (München 1984) [11]. Good To Be Back

Entire Concert
King Kurt // Live At The Alabama Club Germany 1984

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