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Diktat in Breda

[ i. dutch angle ] ; next episode: [ ii. boezem ]

october 14, 2007.

"... lekker zeiken over lijken, dan
zonder rubber in de blubber ..."

( * )

On september 29th Diktat got together for another one time appearance in the low countries. That saturday Breda was our destination. Rébus, Jean and I left Paris in the morning by automobile, setting out along the very same track that four weeks earlier had led us to Den Haag. This time traffic was significantly less dense.
appelmeal And not too far from the french-belgian border there still was that same forlorn fri(t)es and beer joint, even more blatantly desolate in the day's gray and pouring rain. Rébus and Jean even remembered the name: Appel Meal. It's the sort of snack/trash/junk food place that actually alongside the highway is not that common at all. Other high way food selling places surely do not serve meals that are that much better, but they do their utmost to pretend so ... It is part of why *we love* Appel Meal. It does not pretend. It just sells fri(t)es. And cans of beer. Along with a friendly warning btw, as of course drivers are not supposed to fill up on beer sold at Appel Meal's too thoroughly ... Accidents may happen. And could endanger their licence, I guess.

Appel Meal is the sort of snack bar which is omnipresent throughout Belgium and the Netherlands. The interior of your typical low lands' snack bar smells of grease while looking like a toilet. As it needs to allow for easy and efficient cleaning, its floor and most of the walls are covered with cheap tiles. The rest is made out of plastic. Inseparable part of the low countries' infrastructure, the snack bar was included in all of the urban development plans that since the end of the second world war have ceaselessly been filling up the available space around both smaller and larger cities. More than three quarters (!) of current housing in the Netherlands has been constructed over the past sixty years. And most of it is all the same. All the same flats and all the same houses, with all the same tiny gardens. All part of a strive for wealth and a semblance of happiness that is uniform, egalitarian - one for all and for all the same; except, that is, for an upper class of governors and entrepreneurs. The Netherlands went fully for this type of capitalist communism, and took it to what many at some point considered near-perfection; to a such extent that not even ten years ago some politicians complacently observed that "the Netherlands are completed, we're done!" ("Nederland is af ..."). In the future only minor adjustments would be needed to keep the country in tip-top shape ... with snack bars everywhere, that is. I pretty much grew up in and around snack bars. I learned to love them, like Winston Smith learned to love Big Brother. Then gradually, over the course of my adult years, most of them got taken over by turkish, moroccan and other immigrants, but these, well ... they merely added kebabs to the menu ...

While we sat down at an Appel Meal table, gazed at MTV, zipped our beers from plastic cups, worked through our fri(t)es and rolls of tasteless pressed minced meat, also Rinus was on his way to Breda. He traveled by train from even further south, from Zurich in Switzerland, where for a couple of days he had joined Béla, Balz and Block in their Tapemosphere happenings at the Cabaret Voltaire.

We were the first to arrive. Towards the end of the afternoon, after just a couple of hours of more rain and more road we hit Breda, and headed for Electron. That is on the Belcrumweg, of which we knew only that it should be on the north side of town, just across the railway line. As any odd spot in a city the size of Breda, it was not too difficult to track down. We got there without a map, after only the slightest of detours.

butffElectron is a factory building that used to be home to an electro technical company of the same name. After the company moved out, the building and its name remained. It was designated by the city of Breda to become a spot to be used by practitioners of professionele kunsten, the 'professional arts'. It's a good place. We were heartily welcomed by Dorien Eggink, one of the driving forces behind the Stichting IDFX, an "artists' initiative" (in dutch: kunstenaarsinitiatief) based in Breda. During the month of september IDFX organized and curated an exposition in Electron, called Outsiders. There were lots of very colorful drawings and silk screen printings, funny/bizarre colorful sculptures, and a whole bunch of car wrecks that IDFX had managed to borrow from a local scrap yard. And then there was the BUTFF: the B-Movies, Underground & Trash Film Festival ... Curious as that may be, the performance of Diktat was to be part of BUTFF, which was in full swing when we entered Electron ...

Diktat had not come to Breda to see, play and conquer, but was merely there to entertain those BUT film fans that after the last projection would not yet feel like heading for home.
As, say, after-trash.
As post-trash.
Or, as the - hardcore dutch looking but still kind of - pretty one of the two DJ/VJ Viaduktape girls put it, with a broad smile flashing white and healthy looking teeth, a mouth that must have felt and smelled like Ultrabrite: "Ah, jullie zijn het bandje!".
Indeed we were: Het Bandje.
It was a long wait, during which I could have seen, but did not see, "Dead Daughters"; also I did not see "El Baron Contra los Demonios", nor "Auf Bösem Bodem"; and I even did not see "August Underground's Mordum" ... In hindsight I think that all of these not-see's were a mistake. For now there's nothing much I can tell you about how B-, underground or even trash those movies were. I had a good meal, though, and there were au moins the Viaduktape girls, who VJ-ed clippings from movie and cartoon magazines, on mostly the same up tempo drum and bass beats, with always the same bunch of effects. So that it was okay to also look the other way. (Not easy though - nay, impossible! - to hear the other way ...) And Rébus all that time patiently waited for an extension cord, to test the 8mm projector that was to warp images from a bunch of reels from his large collection of found and flea market films on the screen at the back of our little scene, to act as a light show and background during Diktat's set. He was assigned a very helpful impromptu assistant, who on the spot by hand customized an empty plastic audio tape reel as replacement for a spool that wasn't there. But the young man's improvisational proficiency could not make up for the fact that the projector was fit only for super 8 films. Whence most of the stuff that Rébus had brought was out ...

disciplineWhat was in, was Discipline ... That is a sleazy piece of 1970s german backroom bondage. To some of the other things that were screened during this BUTFF it must have compared as Walt's 'Snow White' does to Pier Paolo's 'Salo' (just to name the first two works from the canon of overground film that occur to me). But then, it was Discipline that, on top of a series of 'bio-degraded' driving school instruction slides ( * ), during all of Diktat's BUTFF performance got beamed onto - mainly - Rébus's and yours truly's heads ...

As always tirelessly assuming his self-assigned task of video chronicler, Rébus compiled a seven-and-a-half minute clip from the footage that he shot around and during our performance. So, go there to see it all for yourself. Or, at least, some of it ...

diktat@butff diktat@butff

After Diktat had done, all was not over yet. While downing two glasses of wine to help me break on through back to the other side, a guy with a little blonde moustache who was sitting at the bar told me with a dead serious frown that bondage porn actually is pretty un-german. "Bondage and discipline," he told me, "are british. Spaniards fuck tits, and italians puke. But germans, real germans? Germans shit. Germans do it with Scheiße ..."
It hardly can have been a coincidence that at that very same moment on the other side of the room the shortish bearded and long-haired individual who had just finished un-dressing into an outfit that was a cross between that of a trapezist and a roller skate virtuoso, started smearing a brownish substance on the white wall. Yes, boys and girls, there it was! All systems were a-go-go-go (more or less ...) for Doctor Bibber's sunday morning post-post-trash. Bibber bumped, humped and jumped along to very loud, endlessly repeating and heavily distorted casio-ish beats played back through a cranky cassette player. Sometimes he 'fell' on the floor to do the baby-shake. He had a lot of (cheap) bananas to stick in his pants, to peel, and to mash on the floor. He gestured a lot, and recited texts in dutch. And all of this, including the order in which it was to occur, was written down on a little heap of folded papers. Now take note, for this is crucial to observe. At several points during his act doctor Bibber got down on his knees to consult this 'script' so as to know where he was and what he was supposed to do next ... (We are in the Netherlands, remember ...!?) In the course of his performance the beats became louder, faster and ever more minimalist. His lyrics correspondingly over time condensed into monosyllabic utterances that were mostly dutch equivalents of fuck, tits, prick, ass, shit ...

Bibber used a somewhat richer vocabulary in the first part of his act, where he actually talked quite a bit. I remember him using several different complete sentences. Afterwards Rinus asked me if I knew of a (dutch) adjective to describe the doctor's mode of talk.maxima I knew that I knew what he meant, but I guess I was simply too exhausted to think up a proper answer. In his own fine report on our Breda adventures (which you may find - it is in dutch - in 'De Afgrond': Peperkoek en Homolol) Rinus used 'nogal zijig' ... sort of silky. Be that as it may be, the really interesting part of Bibber's act was the content of his prologue.
Now as Bibber ain't no german, it will not come as a surprise that the brownish substance that he smeared on the wall was certainly not his own shit.
It was no-shit.
It wasn't even chocolate.
It was gingerbread.
Bibber used gingerbread to write on the wall the word: Maxima. (Our dutch viewers will probably know what he meant, they may skip ahead.)

Our other viewers should know that Máxima is the name of the argentinian girl that five and a half years ago locked Willem-Alexander, the dutch king-to-be, in holy matrimony. (After the usual national 'ado' about her family, their religion and political background). Which turned argentinian Máxima into a princess and the future queen of the dutch. She meanwhile bore him three children, and while dutch 'anti-royalists' may still grumble a bit, the 'royalist' part of the nation seemed - of course with a little help of professionally well-directed media presentations - to be overly happy with their new future queen, and apparently accepted Máxima as 'one of them' ...

The dutch are commonly praised for their liberal attitude and described as being remarkably tolerant. This praise sadly ignores that tolerance often is but a thin layer of apparent acceptance, no more.
Tolerance does not run deep.
Some of my non-white french friends returned to France from visits to the Netherlands being pretty shocked by unexpected incidents of overt public hostility towards them and their families. They were hardly prepared for that, but their stories did not really surprise me. One should be aware that a large majority of the dutch is fundamentally xenophobic. It is just that throughout the ages, by sheer necessity, like they learned to need snack bars, they learned to be masters in hiding a profound distrust and fear of many_thing other: that is how the dutch became tolerant.

Máxima is Holland's future queen, and as such of course was granted citizenship and tolerated as a dutch citizen.
In a public speech on september 24th, 2007, in all innocence and sincerity, Máxima expressed an opinion: in the 7 years that she had been in the Netherlands, she had not been able to identify, to pin down *the* dutch identity.miss HarS Máxima concluded that, hence, the dutch (wo)man does not exist. She must have meant that in the most positive and politically correct possible way, indeed strongly referring to the *supposed* openness and adaptability of 'the' dutch, which quite necessarily will imply a certain elusiveness...
But a mini sort of hell (dutch sized) broke lose. People, papers, tv's crying scandal ... How dare she! ... Argentinian bitch, hasn't got a clue ! ... And ...that ... should become our queen ...!?
Do you see what I mean?
It was to this recent national incident that Bibber's opening was referring. That was why he wrote her name on the wall, in soaked gingerbread strokes.
Do you see what I mean?
Máxima was wrong. Not in expressing a personal opinion. But her conclusion, apart from being logically incorrect, also surely is misinformed and mistaken. The row caused by her innocent and surely well-meant remarks is part of the proof: it was the dutch (wo)man speaking up.
Do you see what I mean?
So then how come? For there is not a shadow of a doubt that this dutch identity, the dutch (wo)man, does exist. With Diktat we earlier on encountered him in Den Haag, in the guise of a jumpy dutch back room rapper without a clue about when to stop ... And here he was again, materializing himself in late night Breda, covered with gingerbread and banana smear, all dressed down like doctor Bibber ...

Unable to find the dutch ...? It must be due to her willy-nilly living in an ivory tower firmly guarded by politically correct governors: no one around that will have even thought about sending her along incognito on the yearly excursion of the local Bingo club. Or, better yet, booking her on a summer holiday discount trip by bus to Benidorm.
It is during collective outings, pleasure trips, and most of all in spanish and similar seaside holiday resorts that the dutch spirit roams absolutely free. The politically correct are as blind as a bat. They only see what they allow themselves to see. Poor Máxima had no one to tell her that to fathom the dutch one needs but to spend a single summer's week in Lloret de Mar.

And why didn't she go to Dokkum, like Rébus did this summer? ... Rébus stumbled upon a clear manifestation of the dutch spirit there, it took him but a minute. And it is again thanks to Rébus's fabulous video chronicles that here in this very SoundBlog I am able to show it to you ... It is an interactive demonstration if ever there was one ...
See the two embedded YouTube clips below? The left one shows doctor Bibber in Electron. The right one was shot by Rébus this summer in Dokkum.
I suggest that you play them together, simultaneously ...
First you click the play button on doctor Bibber. Then after ten, twenty seconds, you hit Dokkum ... ( *** )


Did you see what I mean?

- next episode: boezem -

notes __ ::
(*) From my little red notebook with sketches for dutch pop songs, must be from sometime around 1984 - Hollandse Meesters [ ^ ]
(**) We used this series of slides before as a background for Diktat concerts. They were found in the streets of Montreuil, badly worn ... bio-degraded ... by 'bio-artist' Déméter Koré. Rébus used them for a YouTube presentation, with as a soundtrack the live recording from last year's Sonic Protest festival, of Cosmodrone's Orguanisation. [ ^ ]
(***) It is tempting to think of the Dokkum clip as picturing uniform individuals, while doctor Bibber exhibits an individual uniform. The transition of capitalist society over the past century from one largely consisting in 'uniform individuals', to one of individuals seduced by global commerce to each 'pimp' their own 'uniform' is a main theme in Adam Curtis' 4 hour documentary 'The Century of the Self'. Highly recommended. [ ^ ]

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