Saturday, June 2, 2012

New Drumming Authorized

Do you remember my blog about the Freiburg Gipfel in December 2010 with the story of some drummers who saw their 13 instruments confiscated by the police? The group called Sambastas were accused of disturbing with their noise the meeting between former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and our chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Sambastas in full action (Photo Badische Zeitrung)

There had been a follow-up in June 2011 with the drummers asking for their instruments to be returned without paying ransom. When the municipal authorities refused their request the Sambastas forced a court decision. Now one year after their complaint a Freiburg judge decided following four hours of deliberation that confiscating the drums had been illegal. Even the argument that noise measurements had resulted in peaks of 104.9 decibel with 100 decibel being the value where noise can be harmful to your health (the Sambastas actually kept their ears plugged) did not influence the judge. Since the initial argument of the authorities to confiscate the drums had been the disturbance of the summit meeting and not the noise - the latter had only been mentioned in retrospect - the judge did not consider this argument. His verdict was a slap in the face of Freiburg’s administration. Wise not to make further fools of themselves the city officials abstained from an appeal. However, what followed was a sickening brainwashing of the public when the winning advocates sold their triumph as a victory for the freedom of assembly that the police had stamped down. Disgusting!

Although I keep to the principle: Leben und leben lassen (Live and let live) as far as music is concerned I am quite intolerant. Here I believe it with Wilhelm Busch, a German humorist. Many country fellows consider him (although not correctly) as the inventor of the comic strip. The following two pictures are copied from his strip cartoon The Mole:

Schnarräng! - Da tönt ihm in das Ohr, ein Bettelmusikantenchor
(Shing, bang bang there rings in his ears a beggar musician band)

Musik wird oft nicht schön gefunden, weil sie stets mit Geräusch verbunden
(Music is often found not nice, since it's always linked with noise)

This latter rhyme somewhat modified has become a standard saying in German. Do I really have to accept the noise of Ukrainian accordion players, South American choirs and North American folk singers while quietly drinking my glass of wine at Freiburg's Münsterplatz? Good old Sten Fredberg was right when in the parody of the Banana Boat Song he complained, It's too shrill, man. It's too piercing! I continue to protest with him, I don't dig dilettantish amateurs, man!

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