The coincidence of this to my note about kits for Victorian vampire-hunters wasn’t planned; let me explain how it came about.
I was led from a piece at Chicken Yoghurt about truly underground and oppositional music from places like Iran, Belarus and Turkey (no point in asking me about this rock music the young people seem to like so much, but Justin seems to rate the pieces he discusses) to the Freemuse website, which hosts much of it. Justin describes this as
a dispiritingly thorough record of just how much trouble just picking up a guitar can get you into in a depressingly large part of the world. We might think we live in an Orwellian nightmare in the UK but I imagine returning from a fortnight in, say, Turkmenistan, would be like coming home to one of Caligula’s parties.
Skimming down their ‘latest news’ section, I saw stories with the sort of headlines one might expect:
- Turkey: Punk band faces jail over ‘offensive’ song;
- Pakistan: Fear and persecution follows exiled Afghan musicians;
- Switzerland: Call for ban of ‘satanic’ Eurovision song…
Switzerland? I thought,
Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.
And now they’re producing satanic Eurovision songs? Well, it seems that
At first an evangelical group asked Swiss Television and DJ Bobo to withdraw or re-write the Swiss entry song to the Eurovision Song Contest because the lyrics may encourage suicidal tendencies or occult practices. Then one Christian political party handed in a 49,000-signature petition asking that the song be withdrawnChristian fundamentalists want Switzerland’s entry song to the Eurovision Song Contest, ‘Vampires Are Alive’, to be banned because of its allegedly satanic content.
Eidgenössisch-Demokratische Union (the Federal Democratic Union) in Schwitzerland handed in a 49,082-signature petition to the Swiss government on 27 March 2007 condemning DJ Bobo’s entry song for the Eurovision Song Contest. The song was said to be an affront to people’s religious convictions.
Well, it’s certainly an affront to something and, indeed, a demonstration of why some people might come to regret picking up a guitar; as the article explains,
According to Swissinfo, a number of Swiss-German radio stations are refusing to play ‘Vampires Are Alive’ – not because of the religious proclamations but simply because they think it is “rubbish”. Yet the song entered the Swiss charts at number three on 19 March 2007.
Vampires are supposed to be all sorts of things — sinister, sexy, tragic… but cheesy? Lordi have got a lot to answer for, is all I can say; perhaps someone should explain to DJ Bobo and the Swiss that the costumes and horror theme aren’t all that it takes.
The Count told the unfortunate Jonathan Harker
We Szekelys have a right to be proud, for in our veins flows the blood of many brave races who fought as the lion fights, for lordship. Here, in the whirlpool of European races, the Ugric tribe bore down from Iceland the fighting spirit which Thor and Wodin game them, which their Berserkers displayed to such fell intent on the seaboards of Europe, aye, and of Asia and Africa too, till the peoples thought that the werewolves themselves had come…. Ah, young sir, the Szekelys, and the Dracula as their heart’s blood, their brains, and their swords, can boast a record that mushroom growths like the Hapsburgs and the Romanoffs can never reach. The warlike days are over. Blood is too precious a thing in these days of dishonourable peace, and the glories of the great races are as a tale that is told.
If I were Swiss, I’d certainly be investing in anti-vampire kits, for fear of what he’ll do to avenge this insult.