How Do You Solve A Problem Like Korea?

We need Laibach now more than ever. I woke up this morning with the tune of ‘The Whistleblowers’ playing in my head. It’s almost three years since ‘Spectre’ came out and at the time it seemed a somewhat patchy late offering from a band on the wane. They always were a thrilling pantomime in the last century’s totalitarian vocabulary, one that was increasingly a fading and unspoken thing of the past. It now appears astonishingly prescient, the issues of political power, nationhood and communication that have always been their core concerns are once more become everyone’s heightened anxieties. Their work seems more loaded with resonance than ever. ‘Whistleblowers’ and ‘Eurovision’ should be playing on giant screens in public squares across the EU. The hand-wringing liberal worry about people not getting the joke is dismissed by fellow Slovenian/cultural mischief maker Zizek as a misunderstanding of their project. Of course Zizek, when you consider him and Laibach together it’s like each shines a light on the other’s opacity. Should we take what he says about them at face value or is he engaged in further provocation and myth making? This is not to mention the extraordinary event of Laibach becoming the first western band to play in North Korea. ‘Liberation Day’ the documentary recounting that historic and surreal trip arrived at the end of last year and is making its way around the world – tonight and tomorrow it’s at Glasgow Film Festival. I’m looking forward to seeing it eventually somewhere. They performed songs from The Sound Of Music amongst others, loved the people, struggled with the censorship and claim to have suggested doing ‘How Do You Solve A Problem Like Korea?’ an idea too good to pass on even if it’s not true. Their mission is blessed.

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