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That's going straight to the pool room
February 21, 2007 2:09 PM   Subscribe

What should we get Erich for his birthday? How about a desk set with a radio, a thermometer disguised as a TV mast, a clock topped with a tank, a calendar, and four ballpoint pens disguised as missiles. Iconographia socialistica from the GDR.
posted by tellurian (16 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
My favorite.
posted by figment of my conation at 2:50 PM on February 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was thinking, "Wow, these are neat, but they look familiar..." Turns out it's the web version of a book Taschen printed in 1994, DDR Souvenirs compiled by Andreas Michaelis. Unfortunately out of print.

The companion title, SED by Bertsch, Hedler and Dietz, is still in print. Or at least a retread of it by Ulrich and Hedler -- Taschen's fond of republishing the same material in different ways. Almost a better book, because it's a random collection of vernacular ephemera, packaging, consumer products -- even a film loop of East German porn. The intoduction's story of design scholars charging into the DDR the moment the wall fell to collect consumer goods as artifacts is as intriguing a vision as the photos of soap and flour bags are.
posted by ardgedee at 3:04 PM on February 21, 2007


That is twelve kinds of awesome.
posted by mathowie at 3:39 PM on February 21, 2007


I was in Berlin a couple of months ago, and found there were tons of markets all over the place selling odds and ends from the DDR and Soviet Union (and even a few stalls selling extremely questionable Hitler memorabilia). I bought this at a market in Prenzlauer Berg; it's a notepad/pencil case from the old 'Stadtbezirksversammlung' of Prenzlauer Berg - the neighbourhood government, that addressed local concerns- in a faux cowgrain. It was ten euros, it's useful for work (I have a sketchbook and pencils in it), and it's a nice souvenir from a great neighbourhood in the second-best city in the world, and also of one of the more humane and valuable aspects of the old DDR regime.
posted by Flashman at 3:40 PM on February 21, 2007


This is so much cooler though
posted by Flashman at 3:44 PM on February 21, 2007




wow

thanks tellurian
posted by jmccw at 3:45 PM on February 21, 2007


even a film loop of East German porn

In East Germany, Porn watches you!
posted by Ironmouth at 3:46 PM on February 21, 2007


Anyone else find this incredibly depressing? The poor faceless miners come out, the poor faceless miners go in... forever. The text description says "The musical box they built into the sample seems never to have been used." I'm sure Honecker would've preferred the boot-stamping-a-face version.

(Take a bow, tellurian.)
posted by hangashore at 3:58 PM on February 21, 2007


Wait, wait.

The German text identifies the desk set giver Kurkotkin as "Generaloberst", that is, "Colonel General", or in American ranks (approximately) Major General or Lieutenant General.

But the English text identifies him as a Lieutenant Colonel, which would be Oberstleutnant in German or Podpolkovnik in Russian.

I'm assuming the German text is correct, and someone at teh relatively low rank of Podpolkovnik wouldn't have been able to acquire the desk set, or rub shoulders with Erich Honecker.
posted by orthogonality at 4:09 PM on February 21, 2007


The German text identifies the desk set giver Kurkotkin as "Generaloberst", that is, "Colonel General", or in American ranks (approximately) Major General or Lieutenant General.

But the English text identifies him as a Lieutenant Colonel, which would be Oberstleutnant in German or Podpolkovnik in Russian.

I'm assuming the German text is correct, and someone at teh relatively low rank of Podpolkovnik wouldn't have been able to acquire the desk set, or rub shoulders with Erich Honecker.


That's exactly right.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:12 PM on February 21, 2007


[this is good]
posted by dhruva at 4:31 PM on February 21, 2007


Great post, but I'm just the least bit disappointed because I thought these were going to be things I could buy. Ah well.
posted by JanetLand at 6:50 PM on February 21, 2007


from the Cybernetics Institute of the USSR Academy of the Sciences:
Gorgeous.

Thanks, tellurian.
posted by bru at 8:08 PM on February 21, 2007


Cool post tellurian.

Classic Indian tourist item. Found this one touching.
posted by nickyskye at 9:34 PM on February 21, 2007


Excellent. Thanks tellurian.
posted by peacay at 11:20 PM on February 21, 2007


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