Test Dept symposium a great success

The launch of the Test Dept book attracted about 40 visitors to Aston. The audience heard five speakers from various UK universities talking about the band.

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Apart from a Q&A panel with original band members Paul Jamrozy and Graham Cunnington, the highlight of the event was the talk by Stephen Mallinder, formerly frontman of Cabaret Voltaire. His presentation about the role of radical music during the Thatcher years was accompanied by a slide show including a number of iconic images and photographs.

 C360_2015-05-28-16-23-25-854There was also an after event party at Vividworks wich was well attended. It included DJ sets from Test Dept, Stephen Mallinder and Alexei Monroe.

Test Dept book launch 28 May

Straying a little from our usual focus on German music, the German section is proud to host the Midlands launch of “Total State Machine”, a fantastic new volume documenting the work of seminal English industrial band Test Dept.

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You can find more info on the event, which will be opened with welcome address by our colleague Uwe Schütte, by visiting the event page.

The event is free but requires registration.

You can also watch a video or visit the publisher’s website.

 

German Film of the Week: Gegen die Wand

gegen_die_wandThis week’s film is Fatih Akin’s award-winning Gegen die Wand, a powerful story of love, obsession and self-destruction set in  the Turkish-German community.

When Cahit reluctantly agrees to enter into a marriage of convenience with Sibel who is desperate to escape the control of her strict Turkish parents, he doesn’t expect to fall in love with her and he doesn’t anticipate the tragic course of events his feelings for his ‘wife’ will trigger.

Set in Hamburg and Istanbul, Akin once again captures the hopes, dreams and struggles of people living in modern multi-cultural societies.

Aston students can access the film through our VLE. It is available to Box of Broadcasts subscribers here.

Trailer:  httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRioyPHCSVo

Viel Vergnügen!

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Aston Writer in Residence publishes new collection of poetry

Heinrich Detering, our DAAD Writer in Residence in 2014, has just published his new collection of poetry.

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Wundertiere not just includes a number of poems that he worked on during his time at Aston, in some cases discussing them with students during the various workshops he delivered.

His visit to the second city left its undeniable  traces in the volume as it also features a fine poem entitled “Birmingham”.

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On W.G. Sebald’s Radicalism

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Our resident Sebald expert Uwe Schütte has just published an online essay entitled On W.G. Sebald’s Radicalism. The essay deals with the political side of the writer and academic who served as Uwe’s PhD supervisor.

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The essay, which is also available in Spanish, appeared in the Sebaldiana blog that accompanies the current major Sebald Variations  exhibition  at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona.

 

 

Uwe Schütte on Ian Curtis “So This Is Permanence”

Our colleague Uwe Schütte has published a comprehensive review essay on So This Is Permanence, a beautiful collection of handwritten song lyrics and notes by the late Ian Curtis. The singer of Manchester band Joy Division committed suicide aged 23, at the eve of the his band’s first tour of the USA. You can listen to a Spotify playlist of Joy Division’s music here.

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Uwe’s piece appeared as the cover story of the leading German-language literature magazine “Volltext” and you can read an excerpt here.

Andreas Spechtl, DAAD Songwriter in Residence

Spechtl 2For the first time, we  invited to Aston not a Writer but a Songwriter in Residence. Andreas Spechtl, singer and songwriter of the Berlin-based, Austrian band Ja, Panik will be in Birmingham from 20 April. His band is recognised as one of the foremost German-language indie bands. They won acclaim in particular for their last two albums “DMD KIU LDT” and “Libertatia”, the latter winning the Album des Jahres Award of the leading music magazine SPEX. The highlight of his stay will be a free  solo concert in the city centre. More news on this after Easter. Spechtl was invited by our resident pop music expert Uwe Schütte and his stay is sponsored by the DAAD  and the Goethe Institut, London.

German Film of the Week: Sonnenallee

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Less than 10 years after the East German state ceased to exist, we started to miss it. Ostalgie, a nostalgia for the East and for everyday life under Socialism, is a much discussed phenomenon which sprang up in the 1990s when East Germans increasingly felt they had been taken over by the West and memories of the East were being devalued. 2260745,yp+T7PMY5lKvdiJRNP2232rRcIxVh8A_S7N9IsWuz4QEwaEPZZrjpU+rJbihmueTTpJCTKIusJ0qmDEDRKo4WA==This resulted in an identity crisis for the generation which had grown up behind the Wall, and people started organising “East parties” and celebrating their “Easterness” with the consumption of regional products and re-introduced Eastern brands. Made in 1999, Sonnenallee is a hilarious comedy which takes the desire to reassert an East German identity to the big screen, simultaneously mocking and mourning the GDR.

Aston students can access the film through Blackboard. It is also available online here and  here.

Trailer:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Js9DphJ8JXU

Viel Vergnügen – and apologies for the poor quality of the subtitles!

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