Friday, 8 April 2011

Radioactivity, it`s in the air for you and me.

The only upside to breakfasting on becquerels is that people are listening to Kraftwerk again, in particular the song above. Though they`ll need to update it before they tour here again. They`ll get a big cheer for sure. Other than those in the 30km radius, people in Japan are not that bothered about radiation any more. Judging from the internet, more people seem to be worried about it in the USA and Europe. And I had sushi yesterday. 48 hours ago my lunch could have been swimming up and down outside Fukushima power plant with its mouth open but I doubt it. In all likelihood it was caught and put in cold storage long before the quake.

Ah, Kraftwerk. I adore them! Their music is great for riding the Tokyo subway to. For my students who don`t know their cultural history, the German group Kraftwerk pretty much invented electronic synthesizer rock music, or Krautrock as it was known then. They met as students in the 60`s but became famous in the late 70`s and early 80`s. So they pre-date Japan`s Yellow Magic Orchestra. They sing in German and English. Try `Das Model` below. If you like that go for `The Robot` and `Autobahn`.

They remind me of when I came to Tokyo in 1997 on a monbusho scholarship. In our student dorm there were scholars from many different countries: a Dutch geographer, an Australian lawyer, an Italian architect, a German photographer, one British potter and one British singer, and me, a British historian. There was also a German musician who specialised in experimental synthesizer music, a la Kraftwerk. He had all his furniture moved out of his dorm room to make space for his keyboards, and he was so busy he would walk up and down the corridors throwing his hands in the air and saying, "I have to compose ALL!" Nevertheless he was the only one to sit with me to watch Princess Diana`s funeral. He was very sympathetic but kept looking at me and asking, "So this is emotional now, yah? And now you will cry?" Happy days!

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