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Radio GDR - East Germany Podcast

Jul 17, 2023

In this episode John Paul Kleiner (GDR Objectified blog) speaks with Attila the Stockbroker, an English poet, musician and songwriter with roots in the punk movement and socialist politics. During his forty year career as independent artist, Attila has produced numerous albums and books and performed more than 3,800 shows including many in the GDR and, after unification, eastern Germany.

In this conversation, Attila vividly recalls his visits to the East, the people whom he met there and aspects of the Workers and Peasants State which were an inspiration and other which left him disgusted.

Find Attila’s active Facebook page by clicking here.

Learn more about his books and albums on Bandcamp

There’s a great mini-doc of Attila done a few years back by filmmaker Farouq Suleiman that gives a great sense of his energy and art on YouTube here.

You can hear poem and song “This is Free Europe” inspired by Attila’s experiences at a 1992 gig in Hoyerswerda here.

Glossary of terms

Laibach: a Slovenian based music group / avant-garde art project which incorporates totalitarian aesthetics into a variety of musical styles to unsettling effect.

A-Levels: university qualifying exams for British secondary school students

John Peel was a DJ for the BBC between 1967 and 2004 during which time he helped popularize a number of musical genres including psychedelic and progressive rock as well as punk.

New Town Neurotics are an English melodic punk band formed in 1979 and whose work took a decidedly political turn with the advent of Thatcherism in the U.K. It was through his connections to this group that Attila first made his way to the GDR.

In the 1980s, the multiethnic London neighbourhood of Brixton was best known as a site of great social unrest due to widespread poverty and strained relations between residents and police. In more recent years, the area has undergone considerable gentrification, but echoes of

Buna and Leuna: in the GDR-era, these two large-scale chemical combines were essential economic drivers and creators of truly appalling environmental degradation. Read more on the impact these facilities had on the East German environment in this post from the GDR Objectified blog.

Bündnis 90 / Alternative Linke: Alliance ’90 and Alternative Left were left-oriented political movements which emerged from the foment of anti-SED protests in the mid- to late-1980s in the GDR.

Die Skeptiker (The Sceptics) are a German punk band originally formed in East Berlin in 1986. While critical of the realities of ‘real-existing socialism’, the band were keen to carve out a place for themselves in the GDR music scene and used opportunities open to them within the system (incl. officially sanctioned live shows and appearances on GDR radio and new music compilation albums) to present their music to as wide an audience as possible.

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