Dark: Mind-twisting TV

Everything is connected
A map linking the characters and timelines. More questions than answers.

We’ve recently finished season 2 of the excellent Netflix series ‘Dark’. It’s mind-bendingly fantastic. We were looking for something to watch after finishing Stranger Things, and my partner in crime and awesome TV series finder suggested this. It really fit the bill. Set in the fictional German town of Winden, it follows the stories of several local families as one of the children (Mikkel) goes missing.

Warning: Here be spoilers, tldr; just watch it.

What starts off as an engaging whodunnit about a missing boy, Mikkel, rapidly descends into brain twisting confusion as you start to realise that the key isn’t where he has gone, but when. Patterns emerge relating to a previous disappearance 33 years before, when another boy, Mads Neilsen, vanished. The story starts to revolve around another teenager, Jonas, who’s father recently took his own life. You start to see the same people at different ages and stages of their lives, influencing their future and past selves, until you’re no longer sure if the story even has a beginning “Der Anfang ist das Ende und das Ende ist der Anfang (the beginning is the end and the end is the beginning)”.

Then it gets really mind bending when Jonas discovers that Mikkel had gone back in time and grew up to become Jonas’ father.

We’re just as confused as Jonas.

Yes, Jonas realises that to put the course of time back to normal he’d end up not exisiting.

Then, in Season 2, not only are we dealing with two timelines (1986 and 2019), but it extends to 1952, 1921 and 2052. We get to see several characters at different ages, dealing with other characters (and themselves) from the future and the past. For example, Egon Tiedermann (Sebastian Hülk 1952/1953 & Christian Pätzold 2018/2019) meets Ulrich Neilsen (Ludger Bökelmann 1986 / Oliver Masucci 2018 / Winfried Glatzeder 1987) who is the father of the missing Mikkel and bother of the missing Mads from 2018 in 2018, from 2018 in 1952, and from 2018 in 1986. He then meets Ulrich again in 2019, but it’s the Ulrich who got stuck in 1952 and is now an old man, having been arrested for the murder of another two missing children in 1952. Brain melt.

(Yes, that’s us, we’ve no idea what’s going on, but we love it)

The cast is great, I enjoyed watching Sylvester Groth in Deutschland ’83, and he appears here as Clausen, an enigmatic detective brought in to solve the missing children cases but who also has an agenda of his own. Also, Michael Mendl who starred in Der Untergang (Downfall) appears as the older Bernd Doppler in 1986.

The setting, especially the 1986 scenes, remind me of being in Germany back in ’92, going to the Gesamtschule in Schlitz, Hesse. Wurst and schwartzbrot, beautifully cold autumn mornings and bad hairstyles (although we were obviously totally cool at the time).

Oh, and watch it in German. With subtitles. I can’t stand dubbing at the best of times, but the voice re-dub here isn’t great either. Change the sound track in Netflix for your listening pleasure.

Everyone asks this question sooner or later. Not just the viewers.

We trust that time is linear. That it proceeds eternally, uniformly. Into infinity. But the distinction between past, present and future is nothing but an illusion. Yesterday, today and tomorrow are not consecutive, they are connected in a never-ending circle. Everything is connected.

 The StrangerDarkSeason 1Secrets
Who even wrote this book? The author doesn’t even know, he was given a copy from the future. EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED. BRAIN EXPLODES.

Iron Rails, going places

Iron Rails, going places

“Could have stayed somewhere, but train tracks kept going
It seems like they always left soon
And the people he ran with, they moaned low and painful
Sang sad misereres to the moon”
– Josh Ritter, ‘Harrisburg’

Chris Cornell, Dead at 52

Fuck. I was only talking about him yesterday with a friend who’d recently gotten me into Audioslave.

Chris Cornell, the lead singer of American hard rock bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, has died aged 52. The medical examiner confirmed Cornell’s death was suicide.

Chris Cornell: rock star who kicked down the boundaries of sound
Alexis Petridis
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Brian Bumbery, Cornell’s representative, called the singer’s death “sudden and unexpected” and said his wife and family were shocked. On Thursday, the Wayne County medical examiner’s office said Cornell killed himself by hanging.

(via the Guardian)

Chuck Berry, Dead at 90

The father of Rock’n’Roll is no more. 

Chuck Berry passed away peacefully at his home yesterday. 

Charles Edward Anderson Berry, better known as Chuck Berry, was born into a middle-class African-American family in St Louis, Missouri. He first rose to fame in the 1950s with songs such as “Maybellene” and “Rock and Roll Music”. In particular, “Roll Over Beethoven”, which jokingly told the classical greats to give way, became “the ultimate rock and roll call to arms”, according to Rolling Stone magazine.

Chuck Berry, October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017.

Rick Parfitt, Dead at 68


Rick Parfitt, the archytypal rocker and Status Quo guitarist, died on the 27th from a sudden infection.

IN A WORLD FULL of affectation, Rick Parfitt was a musician who enjoyed his status as a rock star, wearing it with good grace and a broad grin.

The partnership he formed with fellow Telecaster-wielding guitarist and frontman Francis Rossi powered Status Quo from an aspiring and at times underrated psychedelic outfit to one of the biggest and most popular rock acts of the ‘70s. If the band’s crunchy sound was based on the twin-guitar axis of Parfitt and Rossi, their appeal also derived from the duo’s down-to-earth attitude.

Francis Rossi said, “He was louder and faster and more carefree than the rest of us”.

I have ‘Rockin all over the World’, bought on tape back in 1992 in Frankfurt or somewhere. Still an enjoyable album.

Richard John ‘Rick’ Parfitt, October 12th, 1968 – December 27th, 2016

Mozart: Still got it after all these years… ?

Mozart has topped the CD sales chart for the year, according to qz.

The music business as we know it is dead. It’s fitting that the final nail in its coffin would be Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart—the 18th-century composer, long-dead himself—who this month became 2016’s top artist by CD sales.

Mozart owes the win to a boxed set of his music that was released Oct. 28 in celebration of the 225th anniversary of his death and went on to sell 1.25 million CDs in just five weeks. (Drake’s Views took twice that time to edge past 1 million sales, by comparison.) The compilation “is the fruit of years of scholarship, planning, and curation,” according to Universal Music Group.

It’s very different from when I was a kid. Or is it? These days I buy albums occasionally on vinyl because I like the feel of it, and it gives me the warm comfies that I’m directly supporting an artist (for what it’s worth). I also subscribe to Spotify, and listen to most of my music through that. I do it because it’s easy, and you get access to more music. 

Back when I was a lad (tell us a story, grandad!), the only way to get music was to go to a record shop or listen to what was filtered through the radio DJ. And in Ireland in the 80’s and early 90’s, there was precious few stations broadcasting. The official RTE 2FM station was in competition with itself and the poor reception of BBC Radio 1 on the AM band (complete with the whee-whurr-whucks, beeps and crackles that long range AM reception was prone to. Sometimes it was hard to know if it was part of the song or not. Especially when listening to early dance and ambient). Domestic competition was limited to the illegal pirate stations like Radio Caroline and Radio Sunshine, as far as I remember. When Atlantic252 (long wave*) launched, it was a real alternative, even if the playlist infamously consisted of the same 25 tracks on repeat.

Anyway, avenues to discover music were limited. Maybe it was different if you lived in a town or city, but out in the country I had precious few ways of discovering new bands and new sounds. Heavy metal, punk, classical, all were unknown countries to me, glimpsed fleetingly through the popular press. It’s only with the advent of the internet and recommendation engines like last.fm and Spotify, plus blogs and wiki’s that the opportunity to actually explore the music world has been possible. I’ve listened to bands I’d never have discovered back in the day. In fact, I know I’d never have discovered them because I didn’t – I’m now listening to bands that I didn’t get to listen to properly at the time – Pixies, Motörhead, Girlschool, Kate Bush, Arvo Pärt

Is the music industry dead? Not from where I’m standing. As a listener I’ve never had it so good. Maybe the industry is dead, but the music world isn’t. 
*[Aside: you could also pick up the station in your fridge, on your phone, from your computer speaker and so on in the locality. Which was hilarious at first, and then incredibly annoying. A lot of devices were replaced as a result.]