“We can see the development of a folk idea, that jeans are capitalism, whereas European civil work is socialism… The levels of this conservative hostility towards this new, urbanized youth and its mass democratic culture can be seen from the fact that some parents report their children to the police, asking them to forcibly cut the hair of their children. This "hostility" toward youth is political in nature. Our press listed numerous arguments to refute these panicked attempts to blame our youth. Unfortunately, the low democratic culture of many citizens shows us that, even among us, there are those who would join the Chinese “cultural revolution”…”
(City Committee of the Communist Party, Belgrade, "Youth in contemporary social events - some questions and problems of Belgrade’s youth, October 1966)
. . .
“Is our country still able to hold together, and not fall apart?"
(Josip Broz Tito, March 1962)
Radin Vučetić’s “Coca-Cola socialism” is an impeccable study of Yugoslavia’s decades long balance between East and West, and the benefits that its citizens had in living on the dividing lines between two of the world’s superpowers.
This, nearly 500 page overview of the cultural (and political) movements, emphasized with a wealth of sources, such as Tito’s archives, contemporary issues of “Politika”, “Borba” but also “ Bazar” and “Džuboks” - as well as the diplomatic archives of Yugoslavia and the U.S. – take us on an extraordinary journey into a period often seen through "Love and fashion," the first electronic bands and shopping in Trieste, which were only part of a carefully lead foreign and domestic policy.
Reading this book is as enjoyable as watching the movie “Cinema Komunisto” or the series “Zabranjeni bez zabrane (Prohibited without a ban)” – because all major themes, from banning movies and plays, to opening the first department store in Flower Square (1957) are substantiated with official sources, or political speeches as well as completely personal stories of ordinary citizens, whose opinions were published in newspapers of the time and have come full circle. All of them show us that we really have not changed much in the meantime, in spite of everything.
The process of Americanizing Yugoslavia of the time is depicted through all its crucial aspects: from political processes, through movies, music, the theater and other art (excellent passages on the detection of pop-art in the mid-sixties), television, comics, fashion, shopping habits – everything from Marcuse, to the new left and everything else that paved the way for new movements in the early seventies.
The book is filled with Tito’s speeches, Nikita Khrushchev’s statements ("When I hear jazz, it's like I have gas in my stomach"), now seemingly unbelievable facts (Belgrade had 49 cinemas at the time and "Bathing Beauty" with Esther Williams was seen by 80% of Belgrade’s population), forgotten details (the first performance of Beckett's "Godot" in eastern Europe); phenomenal trivia such as the one that Desimir Žižović Buin - author of the best-known partisan comic "Mirko and Slavko" was a member of the Ravna Gora movement; and all the debates surrounding the musical "Hair," which was criticized by the people still alive today; it was a time when people smokes Kent and wore jeans, but were against Westernization.
An anthological scene: at around five o’clock, after a New Year's concert at the Union Hall, seven young people the start their own concert in the streets in front of the "Albania" palace, play forty minutes of the "St. Louis Blues" and lead a true jazz carnival procession through Terazija until eleven in the morning, "till they drop of fatigue "(1961).
To sum up, “Coca-Cola socialism” is a detailed story (devoid of nostalgia) about the state of "Groucho and Karl Marx" - as Yugoslavia was defined by one foreign diplomats report - and which would be beneficial to re-read and examine how to lead cultural policy and how to raise a generation open to all that is good, no matter what side of the world it comes from.
Good news for all of us, who like eating well. On May 17th Ljubljana launches the largest culinary event in town – the Food market. The event, which will take place every Friday, through October, is a unique project, the first freshly prepared food market, which will allow more then 50 of the towns best caterers to showcase their meals, and enable us, the amateurs, to learn something new and fill our bellies with various delicacies.
The cooking pots are sure to smell of local cuisine and foreign specialties. Market upholds the principle of cooking without competition, so each stand will be a story onto itself, and will offer a unique experience of flavors.
Oh, I nearly forgot, the market will take place at Pogačarjev trg in Ljubljana’s market.
Let the cutlery sound and let the dance of taste buds begin… ENJOY YOUR MEAL!
Instead of canvases, Russian photographer and artist Aleksander Khokhlov, uses human faces for his art, painting various black-and-white graphic themes on them. His idea is unique, Aleksander chose organic human forms instead of conventional media as a basis for his creation.
Take a look at these unique graphic photos, called “Strange beauty”.
The simplicity and subtlety of female faces presents the onlookers with a complex optical illusion of a positive and negative space. At first we’re drawn to the graphics black-and-white contrast, but then we slowly start to perceive the emotions and expressions hidden below the paints.
Have you decided which festival to visit this summer? There are a lot to choose from, but Heidi has her sights set on Slovakia. Bažant Pohoda, Slovakia’s largest pop music festival, will take place between 11th and 13th July at Trenčin airport, only about 100 kilometers away from the Slovak capital.
This year, the festivals sixteenth edition, again offers a very wide range of artists, beginning with the superband Atoms for Peace. In addition to Thom Yorke (Radiohead), the band consists of Flea (RHCP), Nigel Godrich (Radiohead producer), Mauro Refosco (R.E.M.’s drummer) and Joey Waronker (Beck). Yorke and the gang are sure to give us a live presentation of their fresh studio album, AMOK. The second headliners, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds also have a new studio album, called Push The Sky Away. The diverse musical bunch is supplemented by Smashing Pumpkins, Buena Vista Social Club, Kaiser Chiefs, Bloc Party and others. Slovenia is once again left without a representative but, the festival will play host to the Dubioza Kolektiv and Kiril Džajkovski, who we are well aware of.
In addition to the five stage concert, the festival also offers a wealth of other content: an amusement park, water games, a relaxation lounge, yoga, good beer, and much more. Are you in? Tickets are already available, so don’t put of buying them for too long and look for Heidi at the festival. In the mornings you can find her doing yoga, in the pool at noon, having a beer in the afternoon, and in the first row in the evening!
I'm a real softie. I often have a problem with saying no, or saying exactly what's on my mind without being politically correct. But I need to toughen up. Because, I know I'll feel better aftewords. And maybe today is the day. So...
I've been thinking... Do you know anybody, that got up this morning happy and went to work with a smile on his or her face? I don't believe I do, because the first day after short spring vacation is the hardest. But hang in there! Summer is just around the corner, you know.
Groove Armada - My Friend
album: Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub), 2001