José Contreras

José 'Pepe' Contreras war mein Freund, zuerst weil seine Frau Ruth Contreras meine gute Chorfreundin und dann, weil er ein sehr freundlicher Mensch war und wir beide auf einem Chorfest gleich einen Narren aneinander gefressen hatten.

Pepe starb im März 2019 in Pitten, wo er mit Ruth, die zwar in Bogotà geboren wurde aber aus Pitten abstammte und dorthin zurückkehrte, lebte. Pepe war Jude und sagte immer, dass Chile seine erste und Österreich seine zweite Heimat sei. Zudem sage Pepe, was mich noch mehr berührte, oft, er sei Sepharde in Südamerika und Ashkenase in Europa. Als Exilpolitiker war er ein südamerikanischer Internationalist und Mitgründer des Dachverbands lateinamerikanischer Exilorganisationen in Österreich.

Fliehen musste und wollte Pepe aus seiner zweiten Heimat nicht mehr, auch wenn ihn der Wandel Österreichs vom, wenigstens offiziell, antifaschistischen Flüchtlingsaufnahmeland zu einem Ort, wo dem Faschismus nahestehende und historisch mit ihm verbundene Stimmen und Taten immer lauter, immer mehr und immer akzeptierter wurden, sowohl erboste als auch beunruhigte. Nun ist er von uns gegangen und sieht sich alles oys jener welt an.

José Contreras wurde Jahre 1940 in Chile geboren, wo er nach Schule und Studium als Buchhalter in der Verwaltung des Krankanstaltenverbundes zum Leiter der Südprovinzen aufgestieg. Als Sozialist unterstützte er die Regierung Salvador Allendes, was ihm schließlich nach Augusto Pinochets Militärputsch am 11. September 1973 zum Verhängnis wurde.

Bereits einen Tag nach dem Putsch verhaftete ihn das Militär und verschleppte ihn in ein Anhaltelager, welches von der neuen Militärregierung für oppositionelle linke Intellektuelle, KünstlerInnen und PolitikerInnen errichtet worden war.

Nach zwei Jahren in verschiedenen Lagern und einer großen Portion Folter und Misshandlung, wurde er von der Regierung Kreisky, wo jemand seinen Namen kannte, nach Österreich geholt, wo er nicht bloß seine zweite Frau Ruth kennenlernte, sondern auch eine neue private und politische Heimat fand. Jose Contreras engagierte sich bis fast zuletzt stark in der chilenischen und der gesamten lateinamerikanischen Exil-Community.

Hier im audiovisuellen Archiv kann man Pepe und seinen recht kurzen Lebens- und Fluchtbericht noch sehen und hören.

plink, nix,    praise or blame!

2 Funerals in 2 Days

2 funerals in 2 days has been a bit much for me. Both personalities passed away before their time at the end of last year. Both of them I Iiked and also estimated them highly.

Johanna Lehner

I knew Johanna a lot better than Michael and consequently also liked her in a different way and more. Our relationship had been not that good in recent years. Many reasons. Makes me sader still. What a pity.

Now it's a grave mistake God in his wisdom makes What does he care? He fashioned us from clay.

plink, nix,    praise or blame!

Schon 2 Tote - ein Nachruf

Judging it by the its start only, 2018 is already worse than 2017. On January 4 we had to learn from the press that Mag. Michael Truppe had died on December 26, 2017.

It's always shocking to us survivors when the great killer, that he had fought for some time and that tried me too, has won one more victory and takes too young people from the face of this earth. Mag. Truppe was only 37 years old. That's the same age as my younger child. We often were not of the same opinion on the interpretation of media law and also placed formally on opposite sides of some confrontations. But most of his arguments I could always respect and cmprehend. Anyway, in these he was the formally educated expert while I am a self taught amateur.

Mag. Michael Truppe - KommAustria © Katharina Stögmüller/RTR

He sure has, as his colleagues wrote, "enriched our lives with his keen expertise, his humanity and his fine sense of humor". And his extensive knowledge especially of European media regulation, not naturally self evident in his country. I also highly esteemed the noble restraint he showed in his intercourse with people in the political, judicial and commercial fields he worked in. Even at the get-togethers where most others tend to drink and fraternize too much, he always kept his friendly calm, sobriety and a correct distance.

Requiesce in pace, Mag. Michael Truppe!

More tragedy

On Sunday, January 7, 2018 the great killer also took away Isabelle Geneviève Marie Anne "France" Gall. Since winning the Eurovision Grand Prix de la Chanson for Luxembourg with Poupée de cire, poupée de son, a Gainsbourg composition she was an international popstar in all of Western Europe and for a long time one of the foremost ambassadors for the budding French and German friendship. In her home country of France she was mostly known as a yé-yé singer.

Until his also untimely death she was married to, and had a productive and successful partnership with French singer-songwriter colleague Michel Berger (born Michel Jean Hamburger). The couple had two children, one of which, Pauline, died young and the other survives to this day and is now a complete orphan, having lost father, mother and sister.

Gall had to cope with untimely death quite often. In 1986, during a trip to Africa, co-worker Daniel Balavoine tragically perished in a helicopter crash. The song "Évidemment", written by Berger and sung by Gall, was a moving homage to their lost friend and appeared on Gall's album Babacar. That album also contains "Ella, elle l'a", Berger's tribute to black art in general, Ella Fitzgerald in particular and France Gall's most famous and maybe also most rememberable work.

In 1992 France Gall had to suffer Berger's death from a heart attack at the age of 44 years only. As if that were not enough she herself was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993, from which she recuperated after successful treatment. Gall's elder daughter with Berger, had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis soon after birth. Berger and Gall entered into a pact to alternate their professional projects to take care of their daughter, but Pauline died of it in 1997. After that Gall has made only occasional public appearances. And now she has gone from us due to an infection complication to an undisclosed type of cancer at 70, far too young these days to die.

May you sing with your family in the sweet hereafter, if there be one, Isabelle!

plink, nix,    praise or blame!

Play With the Stars in Heaven, Walter Becker

"Walter Becker was my friend, my writing partner and my bandmate since we met as students at Bard College in 1967," Donald Fagen, long time friend and colleague, wrote in a tribute to Becker. "He was smart as a whip, an excellent guitarist and a great songwriter. He was cynical about human nature, including his own, and hysterically funny."

Don Fagen and Walter Becker in younger years

Walter Becker was a hero of mine from the first time I heard Rikki, don't lose that number on either Ö3 or DRS 3 in 1975. His and Fagen's band Steely Dan had had a hit before (Do it again) that I liked but did not quite internalize the band's name. Rikki was from album "Pretzel Logic" that I bought immediately and every album before and after that, a behaviour that I only afforded for few other artists. I should have written this tribute myself in September but did not arrive at doing so and so have to accomplish it on the year's last day.

Aja might be one of the best Rock and Pop albums ever produced. Contrary to, for example, Neil Young whose music I liked so much because it was so "easy" to play on the guitar and sing, Becker and Fagen's harmonies were always a lot to complex and difficult for me to check out and copy. Tried my hand at Deacon Blues and Do it again but never came far enough to play it in front of any other person, not even my wife if I remember it correctly.

Rest in peace Walter Becker! Surely there will be music in the stars.

And now for something not so different

On this last day of 2017 it is only fitting to resume and bemourn the many musicians and film/TV people that we lost in the past 365 days. While 2016 took away quite a lot of our most revered humans in music and film, the great reaper took in a much larger harvest this year that ends today.

Here's a list of people that we knew and consumed works of. It starts with the splendid Ms. Braz of Lambada fame who was murdered at age 63 in her home town and ends with Jonny Halliday, France's greatest rock'n'roller whom cancer took away at age 74.

Loalwa Braz (January 19th, murdered, 63), Jaki Liebezeit (January 22nd, lung infection, 79), Peter Watts (January 22nd, cancer, 69), Butch Trucks (January 24th, suicide, 69), Geoff Nicholls (January 28th, cancer, 72), John Wetton (January 31st, cancer, 67), Al Jarreau (February 12th, lung insufficiency, 82), Clyde Stubblefield (February 18th, kidney failure, 72), Larry Coryell (February 19th, heart failure, 72), Joni Sledge (March 10th, natural causes, 60), Chuck Berry (March 18th, cardiac arrest, age 90), J. Geils (April 11th, natural causes, 71), Charly Murphy (April 12th, leukemia, 57), Frank Dostal (April 18th, cardiac arrest, 71), Jonathan Demme (April 26, cancer, 73), Daliah Lavi (May 3rd, unknown, 74), Jimmy Copley (May 13th , cancer), Chris Cornell (May 17th, suicide, 52), Roger Moore (May 23rd, cancer, 89), Greg Allman (May 26th, cancer, 69), Glenne Hadley (June 9th, pulmonary embolism, 62), Anita Pallenberg (June 9th, unknown illness, 75), Prodigy (June 20th, sickle cell anemia, 42), Martin Landau (July 15th, hospitalization complications, 89), Gunter Gabriel (June 22nd, broken cervical vertebrae, 75), Geri Allen (June 27th, cancer, 75), Chris Roberts (July 3rd, cancer, 73), John Blackwell (July 4th, cancer, 43), George Romero (July 16th, cancer, 77), Wilfried (July 16th, cancer, 67), Chester Bennington (July 20th, suicide, 41), Sam Shepard (July 30th, ALS, 73), Jeanne Moreau (July 31st, natural causes, 89), Chuck Loeb (July 31st, cancer, 61), Goldy McJohn (August 1st, cardiac arrest, 72), Bernd Witthüser (August 4th, unknown, 73), Glen Campbell (August 8th, Alzheimer, 81), Sonny Burgess (August 18th, natural causes, 86), Bea Wain (August 19th, heart failure, 100), Jerry Lewis (August 20th, heart condition, 91), John Abercrombie (August 22nd, heart failure, 72), Tobe Hooper (August 26th, natural causes, 74), Melissa Bell (August 28th, kidney failure, 53), Walter Becker (September 3rd, cancer, 67), Holger Czukay (September 5th, unknown, 79), Don Williams (September 8th, emphysema, 78), Jessi Zazu (September 12th, cancer, 28), Gabriele Greiner-Koller (September 14th, cancer, 41), Grant Hart (September 14th, cancer 56), Harry Dean Stanton (September 15th, natural causes), Charles Bradley (September 23rd, cancer, 69), Joy Fleming (September 27th, natural causes, 72), Tom Petty (October 2nd, cardiac arrest, 66), Grady Tate (October 8th, natural causes, 85), Gottfried Böttger (October 16th, cancer, 67), Gord Downie (October 17th, cancer, 53), Scott Putesky (October 22nd, cancer, 49), Daisy Berkowitz (October 22nd, cancer, 49), Eamonn Campbell (October 18th, unknown, 70), Robert Guillaume (October 24th, cancer, 89), Fats Domino (October 25th, 89), Whitey Glan (November 7th, cancer, 71), Gord Downie (November 9th, substance abuse, 57), Chuck Mosley (November 9th, substance abuse, 57), Lil Peep (November 15th, overdose, 21), Malcolm Young (November 18th, complications of dementia, 64), Della Reese (November 19th, natural causes, 86), David Cassidy (November 21st, kidney and liver failure, 67), Mundell Lowe (December 2nd, natural causes, 95), Johnny Hallyday (December 6th, cancer, 74), Johanna Lehner (December 15th, complications after cancer, 58).

Nowadays it seems, especially successful musicians do not seem to die mostly of drug abuse in their 20ies and 30ies anymore but get taken by cancer and cardiac arrest in their 50ies, 60ies and 70ies.

As many know I survived cancer at the age of 55 and in about 1 year there will be no relapse statistics for me anymore. God bless you, physicians who did not stop to research causes and remedies. 'twas not good enough for Walter Becker and not good enough for former German foreign secretary Guido Westerwelle who died at age 54 of the exact same ailment that I survived, 1 year younger than when it affected me and some years younger than I am now.

Rest in peace Guido Westerwelle!

plink, nix,    praise or blame!

Farewell Prince, We Will Now Cry and Weep for You

Like everybody reasonable else the Tiny Talk Charitable Trust bids farewell to Prince Rogers Nelson who died this morning at his estate.

Thanks to the art of recording many memories will be presevered pretty faithfully. Still, knowing that musicians' greatest sounds happen outside the public sphere, we feel urged to quote one Roy Beatty: All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain. ..... Time to die.

Just be patient 4 3 minutes & 28 seconds and watch him playing 4 angel George and all the rest of them & us. You the man. God speed.

One last thing, Prince, do not forget to say hello to Whitney. From our hearts. It's not right, but's ok.

plink, nix,    praise or blame!

last updated: 05.04.22, 07:16

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