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I Accidentally Managed to Infiltrate the German Underground Punk Scene

I don’t really know why, but the music played here in the shops and market stalls is pretty much British 90s chart music. As fun as it is doing my grocery shopping to Backstreet Boys’ I Want It That Way, I must admit that this is in no way representative of the music that people actually listen to (at least not the people I have met anyway).

I am really lucky that there is such a vibrant music scene in Leipzig. There is everything here: from minimal techno DJs to Elton John (I kid you not, Elton John is actually touring here). Anyway, I want to tell you about something that happened to me a few weeks ago.

This all actually happened:

I was at the cinema with a group of people although I only actually knew one other person there. After the film we were all chatting and one of the people I hadn’t met before turned to me and said “So, are you coming on Thursday?” I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about but I didn’t want to look uncool and out of the loop so I just said “Yeah, I am” and left it at that.

Next thing I knew I was being told to meet someone somewhere in town and to bring my bike. We ended up cycling all the way out of town where we eventually got to a dirt road which led to a small trailer park.

Once in the trailer park, a group of people made dinner for everyone as part of a left-wing, anti-nationalist initiative called “Volxküche.” This is where basically a small group of people cook and then loads of people turn up, have a meal and give a small donation towards the food. This was my first time at one of these events so naturally I started to overthink every single thing I did. Did I give a big enough donation? What if I gave too much? I don’t want them to think I’m being flashy; Why have I taken two slices of bread but everyone else took one? etc. etc.

As I was so wrapped up in all of the above, I failed to notice these two women come along and start to set up musical equipment on a makeshift stage. Since we were in a trailer park the stage was outside and was lit by absolutely loads of fairy lights and a bonfire that somebody had started in order to keep everyone warm. Suddenly someone said that the band was about to start. The women described themselves as a sort of cabaret punk band. I can’t say I have ever listened to this genre before and to be honest I didn’t even know I would be attending a gig that evening so I had absolutely no idea what to expect.

The band was called “Des Wahnsinns Fette Meute” which is a play on the German idiom ‘des Wahnsinns fette Beute’ which means ‘to be totally insane’. The word Meute means ‘mob’ so I guess their band name loosely translates as something to do with craziness and a mob of people. You can try and come up with a better translation for yourselves. Their set lasted for a couple of hours and consisted of songs which were mostly about how they were angry at society in general.

I think that the experience I had that night gave me a chance to properly see and begin to understand the ‘real Germany’. I have found that even though Germany reunified in 1990, there are remnants of the former GDR all over the place and this is especially noticeable in what is left of the punk scene here in Leipzig.

Vida, Germany

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