March 24, 2011


At the roots of 1960s pop culture, many styles and events of the decade can be traced back to a little club in the seedy part of Hamburg. A rock band played late nights in the company of sailors and strippers, learning the facts of life and honing their craft. The story played out like a classic tale. A German boy crossed the threshold of the unknown and discovered a treasure- this music! He told his girlfriend, a photographer, in the middle of the night, and then brought her back to the club. And that's when the stars aligned. The band's bass player stepped on to the stage in sunglasses. The photographer was transfixed. They met. It was love at first sight. And this circle friends who dreamed of becoming the new generation of great artists revolved around the lovers. The bass player quit the band and lent his bass to one of the band members, a kid called McCartney, so he could focus on his true talent- painting. Back in England, their pal, whose talent was words, started a publication called Mersey Beat. And on stage in that club in Hamburg, the remaining band members pounded out rhythms that would echo across the globe. The painter and the photographer were happy in Hamburg. All was well, until the headaches became too severe for the painter. He didn't get to live out his love story, or to see the extent of his friend's' success. The tale of Stuart Sutcliffe and Astrid Kirchherr is the focus of a new graphic novel by Arne Bellstorf. Read more at Books That Rock Us here. Amazon link here.

Oh dear, what can I do?
Baby’s in black and I’m feeling blue,
Tell me, oh what can I do?

She thinks of him and so she dresses in black,
And though he’ll never come back, she’s dressed in black.

I think of her, but she thinks only of him,
And though it’s only a whim, she thinks of him.

Oh how long will it take,
Till she sees the mi stake she has made?

Dear what can I do?
Baby’s in black and I’m feeling blue,
Tell me, oh what can I do?

Spy Vibe's review of the Astrid Kirchherr retrospective here. Astrid interview on Fresh Air here.

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