October 23rd, 2008

Living in the DDR

The interwebs have failed me twice...
1. The DDR museum in Berlin had a video playing of a Saturday night entertainment program on FDD (Fernsehen Der DDR) (*). It was a song and dance show, like Seaside Special only much much more so. Some searching suggests it was http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ein_Kessel_Buntes ('a kettle of colour'). The credits had a bunch of dancers high-kicking in front of a blue-screen of various East German landmarks (e.g. the TV tour, the now demolished Palast Der Republik etc.), which sadly can't be found on YouTube.
2. Not unconnected, I have a DVD of Sonnen Allee, the Ostalgie film that isn't Goodbye Lenin (**). This has no English subtitles but I was able to download a file full of subtitles that someone had generated somehow, unfortunately I have yet to find a program that will play it with the subtitles - VLC and Media Player Classic are supposed to, but don't, and message boards suggest that I shouldn't be surprised by this, certainly with VLC. Nonetheless I will prevail, my current plan is to attempt to display them in a separate program, possibly on a separate computer if necessary.

The thing about the DDR Museum and things about the DDR, is that East Germany in the 70s looks a lot like Britain in the 70s. Obviously we didn't have the secret police, torture etc. on anything like the same scale, but the clothes, houses etc look awfully familiar (t__m__i says 'they had Trabants but we had Reliant Robins and at least Trabants had 4 wheels').

Meanwhile, here is a rather bucolic closedown video from FDD with the old East German national anthem and video of pastoral scenes. It is not quite clear when this was from, possibly between the collapse of communism and reunification, the clip of the Brandenburg Gate may provide a clue but it is too quick and blurry to be sure. Certainly towards the end of the 80s I suspect as the words are sung and they fell out of favour for a long while as they weren't really very communist. Much better anthem than the current one, they should have adopted it for the Berlin Republic.

(*) Fernseher / Fernsehen seems to be just about holding on - searching for Fernsprecher on the German Wikipedia redirects to Telefon
(**) The German title of Goodbye Lenin is Goodbye Lenin, bizarrely

Ha ha

I imagine that some functionary of the PM will be dealing with the signatures here, but for now read and enjoy...
(the petition is from someone who wants the government to force banks to be nice to Buy To Let landlords in financial difficulties, and the signatures involve made up names with lots of swearing)