Tag Archives: Sopot

A Guide To Songs About Poland, Heavily YouTube Loaded

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There was a time I envied Hungary a bit of a lot:

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Jethro Tull, my band #1 to take to an inhabited tropical island (or wherever my pension is going to take me) gave out a song “Budapest”. Before the ultimate tearing the Iron Curtain off and away, and today, too, to a certain extent, the national pride of Poland had longed for any honourable mentions in Western production. So that we’d know the civilised world knows we’re not a Russian colony with no history or ambitions.

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We would idolise people feeding our starving egos – like Marino Marini, a medium-popular Italian songster with a one-timer in heavily-accented Polish (but damn, the song is so sentimentally kitsch it’s beautiful):

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Or like Classix Nouveaux. (They’ll never never come out of my mobile). The problem with bands like CN was they would requite the love Poles felt for them — but were not recognised too worldly.

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And Poles would probably remind an English or German foreigner some internationally famous tunes may be of Polish origin.

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Or that Polish Roman Polański directed a movie about Polish Władysław Szpilman playing Polish Fryderyk Szopen. If music should not be enough:

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Or that Gazebo would sing “I like Chopin” [but did he mean Chopin vodka?].

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Or that Midnight Oil sing about Kościuszko, though Aussies misspell and mispronounce him and often think he’s just a mount.

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Or we would speak of Charles Bronson, who was Polish (oh really?), and a harmonica virtuoso.

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Or we would be happy Maidens want us to play pray with them:

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Or that they visit our airports.

That they visit our cities.

That they play our football.

That they see our people.

That they attend our weddings.

So that they could say “Na zdrowie”:

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Or that U2 made a Solidarnosc-inspired song (for which Poles would pay back waving their shirts the other time).

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Or Kim Wilde? Long before she was covered in Cambodia by Apoptygma Berzerk, Polish “affectionate people” had covered her with flowers and kisses and kisses and improvised dancing, live, probably to thank her she came to us capable of saying “Cześć” or “Dziękuję”:

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Hey, we even liked strangers when their admiration came through imitation. For example: Vox, the first Polish boys-will-be-boys-band, singing about aloha-sunny-banana way of life when it was grey and communist outside. The song has been kicking arse, amen. And it still kicks, even if in a Czech remake meant for a TV commercial.

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Our hearts soar when someone such as Eddie Vedder speaks Polish (even if it’s read, and it’s B16 Polish more than Polish Polish).

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Yes, our depression could be low.

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So, what more?

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This premiere-league metal musician took Danzig for his alias. (And Danzig is German for Gdańsk. Hurrah!)

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And then there’s Christopher Poland. (What a nice surname!)

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Any common denominator? Considering Chris got himself into metal albums, and that I found heavy bands like these Danes, it seems the natural way you would musically relate to Poland would be loud and clearly hard.

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Type O Negative is a first class metal band, and its core-man is Peter Steele, born Ratajczyk. Just when one could boast his Polish surname, one would learn Peter sings about faeces, or women that cheat on him, that he posed for Playgirl, that he was clinically treated for depression, or that he converted from atheism to Catholicism. Let’s be confused: is it good PR, or not?

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There are exports, too (to boost up our pride aware of them admiring our guys).

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Vader – the best (selling) thing in music from Poland (*).
I still recall the thrill of the time I saw
the first Polish words on MTVfirst Polish words on MTV, a Polish ballet dancer, a Polish power plant, lots of first class loudness in their video. On the other hand, Vader is not a Polish name, the band IS good (while goodness is international) and singing in English. [And how! Uttering loud lines “We await the silent empire” and “We do believe in silence” is clear irony and wit, and they will discuss stuff like for-snobs-only Pynchonisms, with unprecedented speed (try to say “You’d better never antagonize the horn” in 0.8 second).]

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(*) Since that etude thing Chopin wrote. Yes, that borrowing from a prelude by Birkin. The lending to Beyond The Sea. Yes, the song in American…Or’s it English?…French?…Or Corsican French?…Or French-English on Japanese tv? — It’s all one, anyway.
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Anyway. Jethro Tull went on with “Budapest” for 10 minutes long and more. This could hurt the national pride of a non-Hungarian. Despite the fact Poles and Hungarians have been considered “brethren”. (We don’t speak our brother’s language, we don’t see one another too often, we hardly shared borders. Yes, warm feelings are feasible.)

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Granted, Jethro Tull mentions Poland alright (“the beat of distant Africa or a Polish factory town”) but that’s not quite what I’d expect. I mean — where’s a song entitled “Warsaw”?

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Well, I’ll tell you where.

Joy Division.
Porcupine Tree.
David Bowie (with Brian Eno).

Plus Tangerine Dream (with Poland) ?
Plus Niemen in French?

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Not often a place earns a Babylonian god’s song with German title, English words, Swedish voice.
Not always a madam’s cul in that place gets a mention in a French song, Belgian voice, first verse.
Not bad. Not bad at all.

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PS But now I am going to listen to Laibach. Whose “words are for you, Poland”, says the third sentence, and the beginning rings the bell in its unmistakenly Polish way.

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I can’t dance, I can’t sing.

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English-speaker’s guide to the 8th of March: the day when Polish women come out of the shadows

The 8th of March is Women’s Day in Poland – an annual event that used to be just another opportunity for men to buy their girlfriends, wives and mothers flowers and chocolates. For some time, however, it’s been growing as the biggest festival of women’s rights. As an opportunity for women to voice their opinions and persuade people that women have some common interests. That they should take matters in their own hands: do business, get into politics, demand equality within the family, in the workplace etc.

Manifa 1 Manifa 2

As the manifesto of 2008 Toruń Manifa (march of protesters) says, ‘Women are everywhere, they are 50% of the society. Yet their voice is not being heard. Women issues and problems women have are ignored and marginalised. We are fed up with this. Therefore it’s high time we did something about it.’

Among the demands, this movement voices, are: proper sex education in schools; easy access to contraception; abolishing the gender role stereotypes that people are socialised to; right to decide about oneself and one’s body; no more treating women as sexual objects; no more treating women like little girls whose opinion doesn’t matter; no more ignoring the needs of women who are elderly, poor, homosexual, of different ethnicity, of low social standing, handicapped or in some other way not-matching the mainstream stereotype of what is feminine.

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This is a grass-roots democratic movement with no one single nationwide organiser. In each town a local committee forms itself, comprising NGOs, university gender studies scientific associations, informal groups or individuals. Therefore these events should be rather seen as a wider movement powered by various people. This tends to be difficult to comprehend for the media, who are used to dealing with a clear hierarchy.

Manifas are cheerful and fun events with lots of open-minded people, colourful clothes, and a serious message. It is a good idea to join this lot in a weekend, you might meet some interesting people. It happens sometimes that a counter demonstration, in this or that city, are organised by nationalist youth groups, who might shout hateful slogans. Be warned – if you’re a sensitive person. Yet there is no danger, as the police are always well prepared to ensure everyone’s safety.

Join the action in your city with this All – Poland guide:
This post will be updated when further news are released.

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G D A Ń S K / S O P O T / G D Y N I A

8 March manifa launches at 14:00 from Cinema City Krewetka in Gdańsk, ul. Karmelicka 1. Colourful and loud march of women will be accompanied by samba sounds

Other events in Tricity:

7 March, 16:00 Exhibition opening “Women in Sejm”, Biblioteka Główna UG (University of Gdańsk Library), ul. Wita Stwosza 53, Gdańsk

7 March, 17:00 Political debate with Iwona Guzowska (Civic Platform),Izabela Jaruga-Nowacka (The Left and Democrats), Anna Kornacka (Women’s Party) and Beata Maciejewska (Greens 2004). Wydział Prawa i Administracji (Law and Administration Department), Audytorium C, ul. Bażyńskiego 6, Gdańsk

8 March 20:00, Afterparty at Faktoria, ul. Rzemieślnicza 26, Sopot.
Programme includes
– Hubert Bilewicz’s presentation on homoerotic motifs in paintings of Tamara Lempicka.
– Exhibition of paintings by Anna Mackiewicz “Woman, woman, woman…”
– Presentation of feminist cartoon satire
– Music by DJ A.A.

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Ł Ó D Ź

8 March Manifa launches at 15:00 on the corner of ul. Łodzianki (former Piotrkowska) and Pasaż Włókniarki (former Schiller) with unveiling of a Woman of Łódź (Łodzianka) monument.

Other events in Łódź:

1 March 21:00, Party raising funds for Manifa, Drag Shows, Club la Foufoune

6 March 18:00,  Iza Desperak lecture “Why a flower is not enough for Eves?” at UŁ Ethnology Institute, ul. Jaracza 78, room 35

7 March (time tba), Women’s Lemon Night + opening of an exhibition of photographs entitled “Our ladies”, Cinema Cytryna

Workshops for teachers, educators and leaders at Centrum Praw Kobiet (Centre for Women’s Rights), ul. Piotrkowska 115, left wing, first floor. Participants will receive certificates.
7 March 14:00 – “Gender and human rights in youth education”
7 March 16:30 – antihomophobic workshop “Teacher without prejudices”
8 March 12:00 – “Intermediate Gender”

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K R A K O W

8 March Manifa launches at 14:00 from Barbakan.

Other events in Krakow:

3 March: 20:00, Party “Feminism the Slovakian way”, Kawiarnia Naukowa (ul. Jakuba 29). Knohe band from Bratislava, doing electronic music. Best outfit competition – fancy dress encouraged.

4March 17:00, Film screening: “Anatomie de l’enfer”, Kino 18, ul. Floriańska 18, 2nd floor

4 March 19:00, “Seeking the traces of goddess” – discussion forum at eFKka foundation, ul. Krakowska 26/1 (in Polish)

5 March18:00, Film screening: “Iron Jawed Angels”, the herstory of Alice Paul + discussion moderated by Agata Teutsch. Klub Bunkra Sztuki.

8 March 20:00, The Dolls party, Cafe Stranger, ul. Dietla 97.

15-16 March, WenDo workshop – self-defence and assertive attitude class for women. For details contact agata.teutsch@wendo.org.pl.

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2104.jpgP O Z N A Ń

8 March Manifa launches at 14:30 near Stary Marych (corner of Półwiejska and Strzelecka), will go through Stary Rynek to Plac Wolności.

Slogan: POzostaje nam tylko ironia (All we have left is irony)

This year’s manifa in Poznań will concentrate critically on the current government’s attitude to women’s issues.

Other events in Poznań:

7 March, 19:00, Debate with politicians on the situation of women after the 2007 election, (Głośna Samotność Bookshop, ul. Ratajczaka 18)

8 March, 17:30, Dia de Mujeres, Głośna Samotność Bookshop, ul. Ratajczaka 18

8 March, 21:00, Afterparty in Klubokawiarnia Meskal, ul. Nowowiejskiego 17 (corner of Młyńska)

9 March, 12:00, Open information meeting about breast cancer and cervical cancer prevention. Ośrodek Babiląd, ul. Bukowska 31/6

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Manifa ToruńT O R U Ń

8 March Manifa will launch at the Old Town Market Square near Copernicus statue (at 14:00), going through ul. Szeroka, ul. Świętej Jadwigi to New Town Market Square and back.

Slogan: Kobiety wyjdźcie z cienia (Women, come out of the shadow!)

Other events in Toruń:

4 March 18:30: “Dakini and the Guardian Lady – the angry face of womanhood in the tradition of Tibetan Buddhism” lecture at the English Department of the Nicolaus Copernicus University. Collegium Maius – Wydział Filologiczny, Fosa Staromiejska 11, room 311 (2nd floor).

6 March 19:00: Movie screening: “If Walls Could Talk 2”, Przestrzeń Alternatywna LaLucza, ul. Podmurna 30/4, (part of Women’s cinema month at LaLucza).

7 March (time tba): Interdisciplinary conference: “Female perspectives: Woman – a gender, a phenomenon, a human or a subject of research?”. Various speakers. Muzeum Okręgowe, Kamienica pod Gwiazdą, Old Town Market Square.

8 March 20:00: Afterparty (entrance fee 3zł) at NRD/Galeria Dla… ul. Browarna 6.
Exhibitions of works by Xavier Bayle (“More Than Bodies” – what is woman’s body?) and photographs by Beaty Ziemowska and Katarzyna Jankowska (“Kobiety na Rozbracie” – )
Performances by Xavier Bayle (“History of one liberation” – Polish version of the bobbits, as Mickewicz would have never described it); by To Masz Cebo (live installation “TEST”); and by Dagmara Pochyła (installation with performative participation of the artist “NEWS”)
Party: DJane LU: experimental, electronica, breakcore, drill, digital hardcore, hard step with Drag Queens and Drag Kings.

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Manifa SilesiaS I L E S I A
( K A T O W I C E)

8 March Manifa launches at 11.00 from the square in front of Teatr Śląski in Katowice.

Slogan: Solidarność jest rodzaju żeńskiego (Solidarity is of feminine gender)

Manifa in Silesia will stress the need for solidarity between women. Solidarity above differences: in class, financial status, education, profession, health, political or religious denomination, cultural background, age or sexual orientation.

Organisers encourage to bring bicycles, noise-making devices and fancy hats.

Anyone wishing to lend her hand in preparing signs, and other manifa gear, is asked to pop to Złoty Osioł Restaurant (ul. Mariacka 1) at 9:00 am.

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S Z C Z E C I N

9 March (!!!) Manifa launches 12:00 from Plac Lotników through Plac Grunwaldzki, City Council building to Rusałka (where Marzan, the male version on Marzanna, will be drowned).

Slogan: Świadoma kobieta to zdrowa kobieta (Woman aware of her rights is a healthy woman)

This year’s Manifa in Szczecin will concentrate on health issues. Women often dedicate their lives to both housework and professional work, taking care of their family they ignore their own health. Many conditions are therefore discovered too late to be treated. Women are uninformed in health matters due to lack of accessible information, caused by insufficient government policies in health awareness. Unsuitably equipped state surgeries, worsening image of medical staff, long waiting list – discourage women from taking interest in their health. Szczein’s Manifa will also stress the problem of infertility and IVF. Infertility treatment should be included free of charge within the state healthcare system. Prenatal examination should be available to all women.

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Manifa WwaW A R S A W

8 March Manifa launches at 12:00 from Plac Defilad near Teatr Dramatyczny.

Slogan: Wielki Marsz Solidarności Kobiet.

Other events in Warsaw:

8 March, 18:00: Post-manifa chill-out. Sylwia Chutnik promotes her book “Kieszonkowy Atlas Kobiet” (“Pocket atlas of women”), Świetlica Raster, ulica Hoża 42 m.8

More from Warsaw to be announced.


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