That’s the title and a line in the refrain of the 1986 performance shown just below, “Let us offer each other a sign of peace.” Original: “Przekażmy sobie znak pokoju.” The video features a group of one country’s pop music artists, apparently inspired by – ahem – Englishman Bob Geldof’s similar assembly two years earlier called Band Aid, and USA For Africa the year after that. The Communist world behind Europe’s iron curtain was an imitator, not innovator, in the field of popular entertainment. It was backward, its bureaucrats allegedly wore ill-fitting tweed jackets and no deodorant, and it was not cool.
It had no fancy black people, no Cindy Lauper with her rainbow hair. It sang not of feeding Ethiopia but of giving one’s estranged friends an offering of peace, a Cold War metaphor. With such meekness on display, it’s no wonder that the Berlin Wall fell and the superiority of free markets was affirmed unto the end of history. The unfree-market Eastern Europe of the 1980s:
A man and a woman singing together into the same mic has its frisson. Just a passing observation.
I only recognize two artists in that video. The blondish woman who gets several solo parts, and is also shown in the video still image above, that’s the legendary Edyta Geppert. I once featured her performance in a blog post that led off with Greg Eliot’s great comment, his endeavor to justifie the ways of God to men as John Milton did three hundred years earlier.
The other artist I recognize is the short man with the dark mustache, wearing a black tuxedo. That’s Andrzej Zaucha. He will have died five years later, in 1991. French film director Yves Goulais shot and killed him, along with Goulais’s ex-wife, over an affair that the two of them were having. Zaucha’s signature song is the meditation “C’est la vie, Paris in a Postcard.”
Moving on — in 1979 the greatest-pop-band-ever rang in the Eighties with Happy New Year:
It’s the end of a decade
In another ten years time
Who can say what we’ll find
What lies waiting down the line
In the end of Eighty-Nine
What if Agnetha, Björn, Benny, and Anni-Frid of four decades ago could see the Sweden of 2019 from back then? They would have been horrified, I’m certain. But they are alive in 2019 and each of them probably thinks that everything is fine. It’s not good for the individual human mind to bend this much over its arc of life…
Tonight it’s the end of the decade. Who can say what we’ll find at the end of Twenty-Nine? For now, let’s just offer our each other, and our friends and family, a sign of peace.
The customary style-template says “now link to a contemporary song to tie it all together.” Eh, no. What’s above is perfect. But there is this portal swirling in the air. It’s the year 2020 with its trumpets. See you all on the other side.