Monday, September 30, 2019

Musik Fur Junge Leute

I have no interest in the supposed Most Mysterious Song on the Internet. [LINK]  But, it was played on a radio program on NDR on a show called "Music For Young People" and this was in Bremen, Germany so it's actually named Musik Für Junge Leute. This post is about that German radio program.

NDR is short for Nordische Rundfunk in Hamburg. It's history stretches back to 1924 as Norddeutsche Rundfunk AG a branch of NORAG; transmitting the the attic of a telegraph office. Then after 1945 operating as Nordwestdeutscher Rundfunk (Northwest German Broadcasting) of NWDR. They were responsible for public broadcasting in North West Germany. In 1934 it was incorporated into the Großdeutscher Rundfunk, the national broadcaster controlled by Joseph Goebbels propaganda ministry. But lets not get into that right now. [LINK] Lets skip right over WWII and start in the eighties.

Paul Baskerville moved to Germany in 1980 from Manchester UK.  In England he had been heavily influenced by a selection of mostly British artists: The Who, T Rex, The Fall, Suzi Quatro, the Ramones, New Order, the Smiths and Joy Division. He even sang for a Punk band called "The Limit" which sounded like the Sex Pistols. Born march 3rd 1961, he would have been just 19 years old when he arrived. What drove him across the English channel?  Post industrial Manchester was a ghost town plagued by recession and crime. He took German in school and moved to Germany.  This led to some unintentional comedy on his radio program (translated from German):

" German was not very good. There have also been some embarrassing mistakes because I often like to translate English proverbs directly into German. In English, for example, they say "the best thing since sliced ​​bread" - and so a band I played [on my show] became the "Best since the invention of sliced ​​bread." But I quickly dropped my inhibitions."

After a short stint at a music publisher, he began working at NDR in 1981. He started by submitting short segments, then in 1982 he got his first weekly show on "Musik Für Junge Leute" or Music For Young People. Over the years he got different slots but he started with 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM then moved to 1:20 to 4:00 PM. It was long enough to play perhaps 30 sides. Early playlists include Comsat Angels, And So The Trees, Teardrop Explodes, The Sound, The Chameleons, and Echo & The Bunnymen. He featured music from England and especially from Manchester. Many of these never achieved the fame of the Cure U2 or XTC; obscurities such as the Lotus Eaters, Sad Lovers & Giants, Eyeless in Gaza... and even the supposed Most Mysterious Song on the Internet. 

Tapes of Baskerville's program made it over the Berlin wall. He also reciprocated by playing tapes of East German Punk bands, what they called "ostpunkbands." He was even monitored by the Stasi. Perhaps the Most Mysterious Song on the Internet falls into this obscure genre. In 1987 the NDR1 had to regionalise some of it's signals due to the The Rundfunkstaatsvertrag (Interstate Broadcasting Agreement). This effectively limited the reach of Music For Young People to NDR's Hamburg signal.  Possibly trying to compensate, NDR2 drafted the young Mr. Baskerville to host the program "No Wave." It aired late Friday evenings around midnight. It was more experimental and quirky than "Musik Für Junge Leute." More here in Der Spiegel.
After those two programs came to and end, Baskerville launched another experimental radio program Headphone "Kopfhörer" which also aired on NDR1 where he again played a mix of American and British rock music. That lasted until about 1994 when he was laid off. He landed at NDR4 with a Monday night show "Off Beat" which started at 10:00 PM.

Baskerville also did also shows for Radio Bremen, Deutschlandfunk (DLF) and DT64 Jungenradio.   Currently, he is writing a music column for the weekly paper Freitag and is hosting a weekly show called Nightclub "Nachtclub" on NDR Info on Saturday nights.

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