So next up, Nice by Kleenex. (Who later had to rename themselves Liliput after pressure from the tissue company). Infectious early 80s Swiss post-punk.
Switzerland is a very strange place. It’s rich, socially conservative in many ways, obsessed with regulating everything (and you need a permit to do anything), yet they had a huge heroin problem in the 80s in Zürich, to the extent that they just herded people into a park to shoot up out of everyone else’s way, and there are actually quite a lot of weird conceptual artists around. The mountains are so tall in the German-speaking half that people on different sides of the mountain speak such radically different dialects it’s practically a different language. I can usually follow people from the Austrian border or Zürich, but I’m lost listening to people from Graubünden.
I’m a regular in the canton of Saint Gallen (I often teach summer workshops in Feldkirch or Dornbirn just over the border in Austria). This often means passing through Appenzell, a fairly unremarkable small town in Eastern Switzerland which only gave women the vote in local elections in 1991. 1991. It’s also a place where rules are rules. We open for lunch between 11.30 and 1.30. A respectable person would not eat lunch after that, so I don’t know what you are doing in my restaurant wanting to eat at 1.45. No, you may not have potatoes instead, the menu specifies rice.
Here are the lyrics, and my translation. I usually interpret them as dealing with conformity, materialism and social expectations of how women should behave. Nice neat little pet poodles who do as they’re told.
Oh sie sind so hübschOh they’re so pretty Oh sie sind so nettOh they’re so nice Rosarot das mögen siePinky pink, that’s what they like Hellblau das tragen siePale blue, that’s what they wear Die kleinen weissen PudelThe little white poodle Oh, so naiv im RudelSo naive in the pack (I don’t think Rudel has quite such a strong association with carnivores/fierceness in German as pack does in English- you can have a Rudel of deer. You’d want Meute for savageness)
Sie brauchen dich nichtThey don’t need you Sie können alles kaufenThey can buy everything Rosarot das mögen sie Hellblau das tragen sie Die kleinen schwarzen PudelThe little black poodle Oh, so naiv im Rudel
Sie denken was du denkstThey think what you think Sie sagen was du sagstThey say what you say Sie können alles kaufenThey can buy everything Sie können nicht träumenThey can’t dream Rosarot das mögen sie Hellblau das tragen sie
Oh sie sind so hübsch Oh sie sind so nett Rosarot das mögen sie Hellblau das tragen sie Die kleinen schwarzen Pudel Oh, so naiv im Rudel Sie müssen nicht denkenThey don’t have to think Sie sind so gleichThey’re the same
Here’s an interview of them being extremely Swiss. Yes, this is German.