Links von Mittwoch, 6. Juni 2018

Children of ‘The Cloud’ and Major Tom: Growing Up in the ’80s Under the German Sky

Adrian Daub schreibt über seine Jugend in den 80er Jahren in Kaiserslautern, in dessen Himmel amerikanische Militärflugzeuge flogen.

„During those years, even the cheeriest pop songs were about potential horrors. One result of the English version of Nena’s “99 Luftballoons” becoming a hit is that few Americans realize the song is actually about a scenario not unlike one of Pausewang’s cautionary tales. The titular balloons drift across the sky, are mistaken for a Soviet incursion, and trigger “99 years of war.” And in the end, the singer, surveying a world of rubble, lets fly another balloon—and this time, because the world has ended, because there are no more fighter wings, no more Pershing missiles, no more generals, she can let it go without anyone mistaking its meaning. It’s a wild song precisely because it seems to be about so little and is about so much.


The German sky I knew was a shared sky—shared with the Communist East and the Western Allies, with radioactive clouds and acid rain, with Major Tom and Mathias Rust. It was also somewhere we encountered, right above our homes, something far less certain and far more exciting than the heavy exposed-concrete buildings on the ground. Even in K-Town, where only America loomed overhead, the sky contained multitudes: twinkling distant AWACS, protective Pershings, A-10s with their uranium-covered payload, rumbling Galaxies, Miles Davis flying in for his concerts, wounded soldiers airlifting in, burn victims airlifting out. Was it crazy to imagine Major Tom somewhere in between them?“

(via @hanshuett)

Maybe She Had So Much Money She Just Lost Track of It

Jessica Pressler über eine junge Frau, von der keiner so genau weiß, wer sie ist und was sie tut. Spoiler: Inzwischen sitzt sie im Gefängnis. Wie sie dorthin gekommen ist, liest sich sehr aufschlussreich.

„Despite her seemingly nomadic living situation, Anna had long been a figure on the New York social scene. “She was at all the best parties,” said marketing director Tommy Saleh, who met her in 2013 at Le Baron in Paris during Fashion Week. Delvey had been an intern at European scenester magazine Purple and appeared to be tight with the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Olivier Zahm, and its man-about-town, André Saraiva, an owner of Le Baron — two of “the 200 or so people you see everywhere,” as Saleh put it: Chilterns and Loulou’s in London; the Crow’s Nest in Montauk; Paul’s Baby Grand and the Bowery Hotel; Frieze, Coachella, Art Basel. “She introduced herself, and she was a sweet girl, very polite,” said Saleh. “Then we’re just hanging with my friends all of a sudden.”

Soon, Anna was everywhere too. “She managed to be in all the sort of right places,” recalled one acquaintance who met Anna in 2015 at a party thrown by a start-up mogul in Berlin. “She was wearing really fancy clothing” — Balenciaga, or maybe Alaïa — “and someone mentioned that she flew in on a private jet.” It was unclear where exactly Anna came from — she told people she was from Cologne, but her German wasn’t very good — or what the source of her wealth was. But that wasn’t unusual. “There are so many trust-fund kids running around,” said Saleh. “Everyone is your best friend, and you don’t know a thing about anyone.”

(via Julians Schmidlis Newsletter, den ich sehr mag)

Translating “The Americans,” and Seeing a Mirror of My Own American Experience

Masha Gessen, die als Kind 1981 aus der Sowjetunion in die USA kam, übersetzte drei Staffeln lang die russischen Dialoge in The Americans, einer Show, der ich seit letztem Mittwoch nachtrauere.

„It wasn’t just any Russian, either. The show begins in 1981 and ends in 1987, just before the language began to follow, and to facilitate, the country’s transformation by absorbing hundreds of words from foreign languages — office, bucks, management, and so many others that capitalism brought with it, but also electoral’niy, exit poll, and more to describe the mechanics of democracy — and by creating brand-new slang. When I went back to the Soviet Union, in 1991, after a ten-year absence, I had to learn a slate of slang terms, get comfortable with the use of newly absorbed foreign terms, and, more subtly, note that cognates had migrated to include meanings that they had in other languages. (For example, the Russian detali now meant not only small parts of a physical structure but also details of an event, or of anything else.)

This experience meant I was perfectly situated to translate into a Russian of the early nineteen-eighties. My language wasn’t exactly frozen in time — I ended up living and working in Moscow for more than twenty years after my 1991 return — but I did remember the words and expressions I had to learn anew. I tried to make the Russian dialogue free of such anachronisms. Beautifully and strangely, the creators of “The Americans” indulged and even encouraged this quest for quality in a near-vacuum: only a tiny fraction of viewers could understand Russian at all, and a disappearingly small portion of this fraction would notice the Soviet-era purity of the Russian-language dialogue.“