tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE's Reviews > Memoirs of a Dada Drummer

Memoirs of a Dada Drummer by Richard Huelsenbeck
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it was amazing
bookshelves: anti-art, dada
Recommended for: bloinks

Everytime I run across the dada bks in my collection I'm reminded of how deep my affection for dada & dadaists runs. It's not the art, even though I usually love that, it's the revolutionary attitude, the audactity & sincerity these folks had. It's fun to just open these bks that I'm reviewing 'at random' & see what I'll find. Take these paragraphs:

"When we met in Berlin, we would discuss the organization of our readings and the épater le bourgeois element in our activities. The slightly sinister Franz Jung, who like Max Herrmann-Neisse came from Silesia, would occasionally invite us to wild drinking bouts. I recall one night that we spent in a bar near the zoo in downtown Berlin. Jung, I, and the two Herzfeldes were there. We were drinking, and one of us had cocaine. We all tried some and became noisy and aggressive.

"We talked the waiter into letting us spend the night in the bar, and the session was continued uninterrupted the next day. When the cleaning woman came in the morning, we were all sitting or lying at the table, drinking, and swallowing cocaine. Jonh Heartfield, our "Monteur dada," as we called him, became so unruly that we had to hold him back forcibly. We finally dragged him off to a taxi and drove to Wieland Herzfelde's studio on the Kurfürstendamm. It was located high up on the top floor, right under the sky, and only a few feeble iron bannisters stood between it and a profound void. Here, among publishers' crates, rolls of paper, books, manuscripts piled up around the walls like bottles of wine, we continued our revels. John Heartfield was tied to a chair, and we teased him with words and poked him the way people bother an animal in the zoo.

"I was so drunk that I suddenly thought of setting the whole place on fire. I ignited a small torch and headed for the manuscripts. My friends leaped upon me and grabbed my firebrand. [..]"

Now I'm not a fan of cocaine or a promoter of alcohol but I can safely say regarding the above type of "revelry" that I've basically been there, done that, in some form or another. I've done cocaine & certainly drunk entirely too much alcohol in my life. These people were WILD & were no doubt disreputable - as am I - but they weren't the ones creating the wars. Reading the above description is akin to reading about a punk party.

Heartfield & Huelsenbeck were probably dangerous lunatics under the influence of coke & booze but even more so they were the people who were truly trying to change the culture that they saw destroying the world. & they did a damned good job of it given that they were just part of a small group of people.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
April 6, 2008 – Shelved
April 6, 2008 – Shelved as: anti-art
April 6, 2008 – Shelved as: dada

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