The Musicians of Bremen
Nighttime. Dawn and Ian half asleep in car, seats angled back, bin liners as blankets.
DAWN: Ian I can’t get to sleep, I just can’t get comfortable.
IAN: I know…
DAWN: Oh I hate this, this isn’t right……Distract me Ian, tell us a story, anything…please.
IAN: Oh I don’t really know any st….
DAWN: Please Ian.
IAN: Well there is this one story, it’s called the Musicians of Bremen and involves a donkey, a dog, a cat and a rooster.
DAWN: Oh Ian I love animal stories.
IAN: Sshh…just listen.
IAN: Once upon a time an ill-treated young donkey fled his hometown of Dusseldorf. This musical donkey was detested by his musical peers for his free-form experimental rock. They spat at him and brayed mockingly in unison whenever he played. “You are no better than Stasi Quo” they jeered. This donkey’s name was Florian Schneider-Esleben and he had mastered the flute, the Moog Synthesizers and the Electro-Violin,…he was a rare prodigious talent. The donkey had heard that the town of Bremen was looking for a new, uncompromising Germanic sound and so he set off on his journey. En route the donkey met an emaciated dog that politely introduced himself “I am Ralf Hutter, this is who I am, this is all I am” he croaked, unsure of the donkey’s intentions. The skinny dog could play the music of the Electro-Organ, the Moog Synthesizers and the Vocoder. “Come with me” said the donkey. The dog nodded.
A little later they met an old cat and a rooster, their names are irrelevant. Now there were four of them. The journey was long, night had fallen and very frightened they found themselves in a thick forest. Owls screeched, bats echoed, soil crept. Suddenly up ahead they saw a light. “A light” donkey said in Germanic diphthongs. The light bellowed out from a small thatched cottage, a cottage called studio Kling Klang. The newly formed band crept up to the window. Ralf jumped on Florian’s back, cat jumped on Ralf’s back and rooster jumped on cat’s back. They peered into the double glazed window. The cottage was home to a travelling horde of British music journalists. “God this music is detestable, what snappy derogatory term can we think up for it? said the fat one. “How about Teutonic Toss” replied the one on liquid acid. “No, no, I’ve got it…what about Krautrock? announced the one suffering from tinnitus. They all smiled. The animals, enraged by the music journalist’s sardonic comments, bolted through the door, tossing the lamp and plunging the cottage studio Kling Klang into total darkness. Florian brayed, Ralf barked, cat hissed and rooster screeched. Taken by surprise, the music journalists leapt up and fled the cottage screaming, not knowing they had just witnessed history, heard history, they had just heard the opening Motorik beat of the 22 minute musical opus that is….Autobahn.
The starved animals gorged themselves on the leftover food the music journalists had ordered, avoiding the scallops for fear of tummy ache. Later that night one of the music journalists returned to the cottage, the one on liquid acid, to retrieve his ‘Small Faces’ leather jacket. However he only found Ralf waiting, Ralf killed and ate him.
Florian, Ralf, cat and rooster encamped at cottage studio Kling Klang and produced many wonderful albums. Ralf summed up the animal’s musical philosophy by uttering these immortal sentences “We want the whole world to know we are from Germany. We create out of the German language, the mother language, which is very mechanical, we use it as the basic structure of our music. We the Musicians of Bremen are henceforth known as Kraftwerk…..The End…..Dawn, Dawn…..
Dawn fast asleep, snug in her bin liner.