The Snow

December 1, 2009

Well David thought the music too light for the lyric. That was before the strings came along. And then sorrow did indeed reign/rain. Heartbeat Detector was an odd French film about a psychologist working at a large chemicals company. Towards the end of the film it transpires that the directors are suffering from guilt over their father’s actions. These actions involved designing the wartime trucks that fed exhaust fumes back into their holds, killing the occupants. Work was hard, and targets had to be met. This apparently was how the drivers coped – by focusing on the timings, trying to get their runs accurate. There’s a tormenting recreation of these scenes in a Roy Andersson movie, the name of which I don’t know. It doesn’t matter – see any of his films and share the awful humour. Recommend: You, the Living.
I thought of the train driver taking his load to Auschwitz, and how he coped. Maybe he thought this was OK in true anti-Semitic fashion. Maybe he tried to run the trains on time.

I know this isn’t easy listening. But there isn’t enough documentation of the atrocities, ever. The stories of gay men in concentration camps have been very underplayed, almost written out of history if they could be. Martin Sherman’s Bent a notable exception. I raise it again, and will raise it again and again. Kitchens did a music version of Pastor Niemöller’s Lament, which we called Never Again. Still apt in these dodgy Nick Griffin times. Any publicity for these frightened fools is always wrong – or else we learn nothing from history. WG Sebald, a great writer, was of the opinion we intend to learn nothing so we can carry on killing each other into extinction. I’m working on it, but currently don’t share that pessimism.

The snow of the title is from a description I heard – from a film? The citizens of the town near to Auschwitz were surprised that it would snow at any time of year, the snow being, apparently unknown to them, the ashes from the nearby incinerators.


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