NewsContemplative ritual

Contemplative ritual

For the young and young at heart punk rockers: Celebrate Christmas Eve with Peter and the Test Tube Babies.

This is a very old ritual. It is possible that conclusions can be drawn from this that result in the fact that you are old yourself. So overly old. But we don’t want to go that far today. After all, Christmas is even older than this ritual. If only a little.

The ritual is also not very Christmassy. And basically anything but contemplative. To cut a long story short: generations of young (and formerly young) people have been going to the Batschkapp in Frankfurt on December 23 for the concert of the punk band Peter and the Test Tube Babies (German: Peter and the test tube babies).

It is a British band, founded in 1978, which – for whatever reason – has been guesting practically every year on the eve of our Christmas party in Frankfurt ever since. Perhaps Peter Bywaters (60) and his friends want to sabotage our Christmas Eve. Possible. Because it is said to have happened between today and 1978 that some concert-goers were somewhat deranged the next day.

The performances of this band, whose first hit was called “Elvis Is Dead”, are quite noisy. Occasionally a scandalous film is shown in the background and the musicians jump across the stage in predatory skins. And alcohol is sometimes consumed to a certain extent at the event.

The best-known record by Peter and the Test Tube Babies is called “The Mating Sounds Of South American Frogs” (1983), ie: “The mating sounds of South American frogs”. Even older people, who are rather implacable towards punk rock, claim: The album title roughly reflects the sound of the band. Other albums are called “The Shit Factory” (1990, difficult to translate), “Schwein Lake” (1996, hmm …) and “Cringe” (1991, thirty! Years before it became the most embarrassing word from young people).

Unfortunately, this ritual lost something important on the way: the place where it happened, the Batschkapp. So, old Batschkapp. Since 2013, the club has been residing larger, higher, further in the new location. In 2015 the abandoned ruin at the old location was torn down, the cultural home of countless people with protruding hair and torn pants. Wooden squares, sawn from the old stage, went to nostalgics as collector’s items.

And a new ritual arose: From then on, the former Batschkapp youth met at a familiar place after the presents were given, later on Christmas Eve. Where all the great bands used to perform before they got too big for the shed in the former district cinema. Where there are now apartments and a supermarket and the four-lane expansion of the railroad tracks is progressing.

But Peter and the Test Tube Babies are playing in the new location, in the new hall. Maybe this year too, on December 23rd, if Corona doesn’t thwart your plans – which we must assume here and now. But no virus or virus. In any case, not everyone who was there could guarantee to be present at the ritual of yore. There are rituals that are very closely related to a very specific environment. Even former punk rockers can get very contemplative.

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