After thirty years, I coincidentally reread a text on zines by Mutfak Reisse, published in 1982 in Wolfgang Müller's anthology "Geniale Dilletanten" ("Genius Diletants", spelling error intended; http://www.punkfanzines.de/geniale-dilletanten.html). The book is a historical document of the early West Berlin post-punk and queer underground culture around Tödliche Doris, Einstürzende Neubauten, Malaria! and many others. Wolfgang Müller just revisited those years with his 600 pages personal historiography "Subkultur Westberlin 1979-1989" published by Fundus Fine Arts in 2013.
Mutfak Reisse was mainly known in Berlin for "Y-Klrmpfnst" (http://www.punkfanzines.de/y-klrmpfnst-nr-1.html ; http://www.punkfanzines.de/y-klrmpfnst.html), a zine he published from 1979-1982 (my favorite zine in my early teen years) and for a heroic gig with his short-lived band Hans und Gabi as the opening act for UK Subs at the SO36 club. Hans und Gabi's anti-music - including, ironically enough, repeated "anarchy" chants - frustrated the punk rock audience so much that a shower of beer bottles went down on them.
What strikes me as historically significant in Mutfak's mock-academic text is his analogy of zines and ship logbooks. It fully anticipates Jorn Barger's 1997 coinage of the "web log" that mutated into "blog" and "blogging" in 1999. Beyond the terminological similarity, there are also striking similarities between the characterization and critique of punk fanzine culture in Mutfak's text and its footnotes and today's discussions of blogger culture. Mutfak Reisse gave me the kind permission to translate his text and post it on Nettime. - Florian
# On the meaning and purpose of literature in genius diletantism #
## Mutfak Reisse (Berlin, 1982) ##
"...A basic idea, once it exists, can be altered and rephrased without changing its meaning. In order to reveal the various aspects of this central idea, it is not only possible but even necessary to transmit it from one medium to another." [^1]
Departing from this statement, we have no choice but demand the application of the concept of genius diletantism outside music. Small format, small edition magazines, so-called fanzines [^2], have become possible through inexpensive means of photocopying. Coincidentally, they can maneuver just like ships [^3]. Whether or not fanzines or ships are more or less forms of art (or anti-art), is an issue we would like to leave to those petty minds suffering, among others, from a lack of insight into the modern ways of life. Ships do not travel in a vacuum, but they are products of manifold environmental factors (influences of political, social, but last not least deeply personal nature). The catalyst [^4] for fusing all these ship models into a visible _expression_ of a culture full of contempt for the ideals of petty bourgeois and, above all, anti-bourgeois society, was the partial change/turn which the music scene took in the last 6 years. The faster and more superficial the music (in a positive sense), the faster ships can move, the more actively consumers can participate in the environment.
While conventional vessels have predetermined routes and destinations, these ships may slow down on their way and back up a little. The navigator revises or relativizes his previous decision [^5], integrates them into the whole so that the complete journey can be made available as a photocopied logbook to the interested public. Academics call that spontaneity. Concerning the diverse ship models and forms of musical _expression_ of the last couple of years (I don't want to go into details here as it would exceed the scope of this essay), the curious reader will find sufficient related publications that explain these phenomena in each of their aspects.[^6]
It should be noted, however, that those logbooks have been subject to misreadings by academics who were overly quick to adopt their outer appearance, their format (in technical lingo: "layout": diagonally glued texts, perforated text collages, edge letterings, superimposed colors, inlays, posters) in order to allow comfortable reading. For a ship on the waves of the sea, unidentifiability and illegibility are, however, among the most crucial constituents of its existence.[^7]*
[Originally published as "Über die Inhalte und Bedeutung der Literatur im genialen Dilletantismus" in Wolfgang Müller (editor), Geniale Dilletanten, Merve Verlag, 1982, p. 80-83. English translation (by Florian Cramer) and publication on Nettime with friendly permission by Mutfak Reisse. For publication on other sites and in other media, please obtain the author's permission.]
[^1]: "Introduction to Media Studies", Andreas Weber
[^2]: Magazines for and by fans.
[^3]: Ships on waves.
[^4]: Catalysis = Induction, acceleration or deceleration of a material conversion / from Greek kata-lyen "dissolving". Catalyst "matter which through its mere presence determines, causes or controls the process of reactions". Duden dictionary 7/1963
[^5]: An example: "...and Moni shouldn't be mad at me that I didn't want to go out to eat Wieners with her, you know, bacterias and the like. And for those who still haven't got it yet: this article here was a so-called stopgap. Ha, ho, heeha, ha!!" (from: a Bavarian Zlof-magazine, no. 5, signed Jeff Stress 1981/Zlof Empire publishers Munich)
[^6]: From music books to reviews in the magazine "Sounds" to ...
[^7]: Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Bishops' Conference (40 copies) 1979/1980, loose pages in a protective cover, hand-written.
Willkürakt ["Arbitrary Act"] 10 (144 copies) 1981/Hamburg published as a spaghetti dish; tray / spoon / fork / spaghetti / ketchup with side dish: "And more about breaking waves... and more about wrong and deadlock values... and more about the rape of a sheet of white paper... and more on the pointlessness to go only one way... and more about shredding noises... and more about high speed... forget it... / an end to... / go eat yourselves...
Y-Klrmpfnst 2/1980 (14 stapled pages, 5 colors, Berlin local news) "...finally everything's readable, print quality is often abysmal." "..if there's something that doesn't interest me at all, then it's music..."
* from Kunst-Gruft [Art Tomb] no. 4, 1-2-1981 (no. 4, super luxury edition): "Oi you rotters. Fallen for another crap paper, I guess! How can you be so stupid to spend your Deutschmarks for this. And what do you get?? Any fucker and pinhead hanging around at concerts can cough up what's in here. Just think up some good sound bite, make it the name of your zine, roam your hometown, make a schnapps riot, write about what you've fucked up, how much booze you had and how 'nuts' this was. Then perhaps a few record reviews, your own billboard charts, a few parodies on the pope, [right-wing politician] Strauss and the FUCKING state. It will be the best of the best of all zines. If you managed to be 'distinct', all fanzine writers from North to South will like it, and that's really all you want. Fanzines only serve one purpose: that college wankers and high school droolers (hello boring old fart Hollow Skai!) no longer need to leave their discharge in pieces of cloth etc., but can also put it on shiny white paper, drooling over the reactions of some monotonic, pigheaded SEXPISTOLSCRASSANARCHYFANATICS & getting some warm lustful vibes from it. Fanzine writers never fight losing battles against the world around them because they feel confident and strong. They'll have the attitude of partly important personalities, of people who are influential and can cause change... And who are drunk most of the time."