‘This is again radio Yerevan with our news’. Following 16 years in the role, German Chancellor Angela Merkel departed to a soundtrack including a tune by Godmother of Punk, the legendary Nina Hagen.
Nina Hagen grew up in East Germany. Her first English language album NunSexMonkRock rocketed her into the pantheon of 80s punk stars. But that only came after she fled the communist regime in East Germany. She’d previously enjoyed a hit there with ‘Du Hast den Farbfilm Vergessen’, or ‘You Forgot the Color Film’.
The song lyrics describe her frustration over some recent holiday snaps. She discovers her boyfriend put black-and-white film in the camera. The song was interpreted as coded criticism of the dreary German Democratic Republic. Colour film was expensive and also difficult to find in the Soviet Satellite state.
One line particularly resonated with citizens of the repressive regime.
“No one will believe how beautiful it was here.”
The choice of the Nina Hagen song surprised Germans, with Merkel rarely referencing her own East German upbringing.
However, some commentators suggested the former chancellor chose the song both for sentimental reasons and as a veiled shot at the dull old men who still dominate German politics.
On its release in 1982, NunSexMonkRock became an instant favourite of alternative drag performers worldwide. Drag renditions of ‘Smack Jack’, ‘Antiworld’ and ‘Born in Xixax’ became signature pieces for many former drag stars. And Nina Hagen quickly became an indispensable part of the camp soundtrack of the 80s.
Check out the vid of Nina Hagen performing ‘So Bad’ from Revolution Ballroom in 1993.
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