LIFE SOUNDTRACK: Foyer Des Arts – Die Unfähigkeit zu Früstücken
This is an obscure one: Foyer Des Arts swept in to the public consciousness of Germany together with the Neue Deutsche Welle, a relatively short, but exciting musical movement based on kraut rock and punk. They consisted of Max Gold on vocals and Gerd Pasemann doing the instruments and had a minor chart hit in 1982 with Wissenswertes über Erlangen (“Interesting Trivia about Erlangen”). I discovered them later, in 1987 through their third album Die Unfähigkeit zu Frühstücken (“The inability to take breakfast”), which was released in 1986 after a four year hiatus because of trouble with their label.
Foyer Des Arts were mostly a vehicle for the lyrics of Max Goldt, a brilliant writer and poet. One of his strength is using the German language’s hang to overly formal and contrived phrases on rather mundane facts, which casts a different light on them, sometimes rather funny, sometimes rather disturbing. On Die Unfähigkeit zu Frühstücken, the songs are personal, poetical and politcal, mostly all at the same time. The music is just like that: with guitars, synths, drum machines and other instruments they cover various musical styles, all on the weird side. It invites to sing along, but it also has a strange, nightmarish side to it.
1987 was the year when I graduate from school and it was an important time, full of changes. Foyer Des Arts provided quite literally the soundtrack for it (together with other albums, The Cure’s Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me comes to mind) – when I didn’t listen to the record or cassette, I had the lyrics in my mind.
My enthusiasm was contagious: almost everybody I played Foyer Des Arts, or Max Goldt’s even weirder solo work for, became a fan of it. I saw him two times live at a reading – by this time he was already well known as a writer for the satirical magazine Titanic.