Oompah

 

Warning sign

It has been said that music crosses all boundaries of culture or religion, but new legislation in Germany will ensure that in future it will have a tough time getting past border control. For many years the German music scene has been a hotbed of new and innovative musical styles - most of it crap, but new and innovative nevertheless. This has been largely due to the influx of foreign music, which began with early skiffle and rock and roll in the fifties, progressed through the beat groups of the sixties, the Europop of the seventies and eighties, and continues today with new forms like 'underground ska', 'technodribble' and 'papp'.

Now, the more conservative elements within the government are concerned that this cross-pollination has diluted traditional German 'oompah' music. They wish to discourage today's modern music, with its strange beats and ludicrous fashions, and return to familiar German folk music, with its conventional beats and sensible lederhosen. To this end, they have been successful in introducing a total ban on all music entering the country.

This means that all forms of music - whether it be recorded on CD or vinyl, or written in the form of sheet music - will not be allowed past special checkpoints that have been set up on roads, at railway stations and at airports. It also means that all musical instruments have been banned, but this has not stopped some people from trying to smuggle them into the country. Customs officers, however, are extremely vigilant, and during the first week of the ban they had already seized forty-three guitars, fourteen snare drums and a trumpet.

"The trumpet was quite an interesting case, actually," says Peter Heinkel, chief security officer at Hamburg International Airport. "The gentleman in question decided he would smuggle the instrument past customs by concealing up his ... err ... Well, shall we say he concealed it in a delicate area. And concealed it rather well, actually. There were only two things that gave him away. One: the rather stiff and ungainly way he walked. And two: the way he played a perfect F sharp with every step."

 

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