Good Eating

I fulfilled an ambition, I ate in the Fernsehtürm Restaurant, creamy coriander & carrot soup, Berlin meatball and potato salad finished with apple tart and cream accompanied by a rather pleasant German pinot noir. The weather and view wasn’t so good, but it’s very high in a low city Here are my pictures as a slide show


and here they are at flickr, for those without flash. …

Modern Art

On my first day in Berlin, I went looking for its future, and decided to visit the KW Institute for Contemporary Art. This has a three part exhibition on, in a beautiful building with an equally beautiful courtyard where the Cafe serves its wares. I spent most time in the rooms displaying David Wojnarowicz’s work. I don’t know if it was the arrangement or just the content, but I found this underwhelming. I am loathe to write too much about my views on art as I don’t wish to expose my philistinism and lack of education but this was not inspiring. Perhaps if I had spent less time getting to the warehouse room, I might have spent more time but most of the work on display was photography although there were a couiple of film pieces. They may even have been titled, but if so I missed them. There was one on the Cold War with a number of clips from US news stories, including stuff on Kennedy’s trip to Berlin. There was a talking head about the value and authenticity of rage which I am beginning to dispute. Political action must come from a sense of solidarity and you can’t find that when you’re angry for yourself. …  …

Berlinische Gallerie

While in Berlin, I visited the Berlinische Gallerie, the modern art gallery, they had a couple of exhibitions and some standing exhibits,the former included Julian Charière’s “As we used to float”, and Freedom by the November Group. I bought some post cards to remind me of the visit.

I looked at the November Gruppe photography exhibits. Some of the propaganda pictures, particularly a magazine front page illustrating two women on the front of the Berlin illustrated times, it could have come from the Soviet Union, showing in my mind the unity of the working class, I dout this was the message hoped for by their authors but there we are.

I have observed before, and I am sure it’s not original that photography changed painting as painting can never meet the realism of photography but the photo exhibits showed the German/Berliner experimentation with photographic techniques as artistic expression, so it moves in a full circle.

In the post war room,they tried to tell the story of a conflict of styles, Abstract vs. Socialist realism; I quite enjoyed the big picture used to illustrate the West’s adoption of abstract, but I couldn’t find a post card; it reminded me of some of Jackson Pollock’s work but with a lot less black. I was underwhelmed by what they chose to illustrate the East’s Socialist Realist art. The picture above, which I don;’t think was exhibited was painted in 1976, and would seem to be an interpretation of Berlin at the time, or at least more like what I expected. (The artist, Karl Horst Hödicke, would seem to have lived and studied in West Berlin.) …  …

Newly in the public domain

Today is a great day; in the USA, works written/created in 1922 become available under the public domain as the 1970’s extension laws durations expire. This is recorded by Ars Technica, in an article entitled, Mickey Mouse and Batman will soon be public domain—here’s what that means. This headline is misleading since these properties won’t become PD until the 2030s. Don’t quite get the maths myself since the international treaties talk of 70 year durations and this looks like 95 years but we do know that this was an exercise in corrupt lobbying power but it would seem that “I’ve got you Babe”, written by the Congressional sponsor of the second extension law, yup, they did it twice, expires in 2060; don’t think I’ll be around to enjoy it for free. What a greedy twat!

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A failure to serve fans

The European Parliament sent the Copyright Directive to the trialogue process, where the views of the commission, the council and the parliament are negotiated; the final words agreed by the parliament are basically the words lobbied for by the large corporate press and content companies aided at the last gasp by the sports industry. To understand why this is shit we need to go back to basics. This article is quite long and continues below, or overleaf … …

Ulveas together

Another interesting copyright story. In 1974 ABBA won the Eurovision song contest with Waterloo. This launched an amazing career releasing 66 singles between 1974 and 1982, with nine UK No. 1 positions and 11 BPI Gold discs, putting them in the top 20 best selling bands ever.

But as we know, copyright lasts for life + 70 years and so reusing their material can only be done at a price. While researching this article, I discovered that we can perform an artist’s copyrighted material for money in a venue, and it is the venue’s responsibility to pay the collecting society. However, band names are protected by intellectual property laws.

It became clear, that ABBA had ceased to perform, and declared that they never would again and in 1988, Rod Stephen launched an ABBA tribute band, called “Bjorn Again”, which is a different name and also protected. This has also been successful. The line-up has changed, and even at times there have been two bands on separate tours.  Fascinating that such a simple copyright statement allows the appropriation of value. I think I’ll copyright “Ulveas together”.

It’s a story of great music and showmanship, abandoned and restored, but still enclosed. You can perform it, but you can’t monetise it without paying a tax. When I first conceived of this article, I was curious as to whether the Bjorn Again owners were licensing the name as a franchise, however it seems not but it would be a smart business move, and another illustration of the monopolistic tendencies created by modern creative copyright.

There seems to me to be something not quite right about the way the performers & fans are at the bottom of the heap in this particular model. …

Watching Game of Thrones (again)

Watching Game of Thrones (again)

Yup, I am! Artistically, now I know what happens, I can concentrate on relevant harbingers since we know what they are. There’s quite a few, I was obviously concentrating on the wrong plot points the first time through.  If I was really concerned, I could probably organise my life better; I deleted my older copies of the show from my skybox and so short of buying the box set, £32 for S1-3 I am stuck waiting for them to show repeats and so I took the opportunity over Xmas. Great show but the opportunity to whinge about Sky & HBO’s monetisation strategies is too great. …