Last week, the great, if slightly deranged, Slovenian band Laibach announced they would soon become the first Western group to play Pyongyang.
Yes, Pyongyang, North Korea.
Their press release talks a lot about building bridges and includes lots of slogans like, “We are millions and millions are one.” It sounds, in other words, very ‘on message’ for a band about to play a dictatorship.
But I’m pretty sure on 21 August, the day after their main show, you’ll wake up to headlines saying, “Rock band locked up in North Korea.” Why? Because Laibach have a habit of covering the national anthems of the countries they play in, subverting them, drawing out their ridiculousness, and I don’t think they’re going to be able to resist North Korea’s.
For a start, it’s suitably grandiose, but it’s also filled with lyrics like this: “So rich in silver and in gold you are…Korea shall ever thrive.” Quite easy to mock, I think you’ll agree.
(The Song of General Kim Il-Sung, the country’s “real” anthem is even worse in that respect).
Yes, maybe an acquired taste. But look, here’s some North Korean accordionists playing A-Ha’s Take on Me, so stop complaining!
Update: They didn’t play the anthem, dammit! But here’s a very funny BBC video of North Koreans giving their reaction to the performance. I don’t think the band will be invited back.